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A dark science-fiction/horror film set in Australia's Outback, inspired by the works of revered US author H.P. Lovecraft.
A dark science-fiction/horror film set in Australia's Outback, inspired by the works of revered US author H.P. Lovecraft.
174 backers pledged AU$ 30,492 to help bring this project to life.

About

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AU$ 30,492

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"Starspawn" Writer/Director Travis Bain.
"Starspawn" Writer/Director Travis Bain.

Starspawn is the new feature film from Australian writer/director Travis Bain of Sapphire Pictures.

Starspawn is a science-fiction/horror thriller aimed at a worldwide cinema and home video release in 2017/2018. It will run approximately 100 minutes.

We're going to approach making Starspawn in two stages:

(1) We'll shoot an excerpt from the main feature that will stand alone as a self-contained short film/proof-of-concept, and then:

(2) We'll use this excerpt short film to go after more funding to make the entire 100-minute feature-length movie.

Synopsis

TV current affairs journalist Jo Danforth travels to the Outback with her camera crew to interview a group of survivalists who are preparing for some kind of apocalypse, only to uncover evidence that ancient aliens who once ruled the planet are planning to return to reclaim what was once theirs ...

The inspiration

Starspawn is inspired by the legend of the Min Min lights, strange, moving ghost lights that have been seen in the Outback for generations.

The film is also inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, a prolific horror writer in the early 20th century. Today Lovecraft has a huge global following, and his stories have influenced pop culture phenomena like the Alien films, authors like Stephen King, and comic book series like Hellboy.

H.P. (Howard Phillips) Lovecraft in 1934.
H.P. (Howard Phillips) Lovecraft in 1934.

But you don't have to be familiar with Lovecraft's work to enjoy Starspawn. If you like science-fiction, a good mystery, or just a good scare, Starspawn is for you. There will be aliens. And twists. And chases. And double-crosses. And more aliens. It’s going to be one hell of a ride. And you can help us make it happen.

What we're asking for

The total budget we're aiming for the entire feature is $100,000 or more, but right now, in this campaign, we're asking for $30,000 to get us underway.

We'll use this $30,000 to shoot part of the main feature as a proof-of-concept. This excerpt will run about ten minutes and be a self-contained short film in its own right, which we'll use to source investment for the remaining $70,000 needed to make the full-length feature. We'll also submit the proof-of-concept short to film festivals worldwide to build early buzz for the main attraction: the full-length feature version of Starspawn.

The $30,000 will be used for things like:

  • Visual effects test shots, to prove to any doubters that we can produce impressive FX without spending millions.
  • Alien costumes and puppets hand-crafted by our creature creator Timmo Walters (see below).
  • A detailed budget breakdown and production schedule.
  • Location scouting in north-western Queensland.
  • Casting actors.
  • Some camera gear to augment the equipment we already own (e.g. special lenses and so forth).
  • Props and costumes.

If we don't hit our $30,000 target, you don't get charged. You only pay your pledge amount if we reach our goal ... so let's work together to reach it (and hopefully exceed it).

Our game plan

You've no doubt heard the old saying "You've got to spend money to make money." That applies here. Once we've got the ball rolling and have some cool footage to show off, we’ll source the rest of the film's budget from:

● Private investors.

● Government film grants.

● A second crowdfunding campaign.

● Pre-sales to international distributors.

Who we are

We’re Sapphire Pictures, an independent production company based in Cairns, North Queensland, Australia, headed by award-winning filmmaker Travis Bain, who recently made the low-budget monster movie Throwback. Here's the trailer:

 And the poster:

Throwback has screened at eleven international film festivals and it's now being released on DVD and Blu-ray around the world to reviews like these:

"A rousing good yarn and very entertaining. For a mad monster movie, it's played fairly seriously and works well for it ... a little gem." - Fleapitcinema.uk.

"Throwback is a fun creature feature" - Infernalcinema.com.

"Throwback is an adventure/monster B-movie that is chock full of charm." - HorrorCultFilms.co.uk.

"Everything you need in a good Bigfoot film." - Horrorhound Magazine.

"Impressed the hell out of me ... what Throwback accomplishes is nothing less than extraordinary." - Fakeshemp.net.

"Throwback is highly recommended for fans of the Bigfoot subgenre, and independent cinema in general." - LaptopZombie.co.uk.

"Exceptional ... you are literally on the edge of your seat throughout and it announces Travis Bain as one of Australia’s most promising directors." - SubcultureEntertainment.com.

"This is a damn good monster movie" - The Fifth Dimension blog.

The Throwback international DVD cover.
The Throwback international DVD cover.

People who have seen Throwback have said the same thing over and over: "Imagine what these guys would be capable of if they had a bigger budget." We couldn't agree more! We're ready to step up to the next level ... will you help us get there?

But back to Starspawn ... and where we are with the project

The Starspawn script is ready, the storyboards and concept art are underway, and we’re considering some stunning Outback locations.

Some of the stunning Outback locations we're considering using for Starspawn.
Some of the stunning Outback locations we're considering using for Starspawn.

On top of that, we've already got some awesome people on board.

Vernon Wells from Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Commando and our previous feature Throwback has signed on to play a major role in Starspawn. He'll be Randolph Sutton, an alcoholic farmer with a large collection of guns and a healthy dislike for inter-dimensional abominations.

Vernon Wells in Mad Max 2, Commando and our previous feature Throwback.
Vernon Wells in Mad Max 2, Commando and our previous feature Throwback.

(We also have a couple of other well-known actors circling the project, but it's too early to mention their names just yet!)

In the art department, we have two very talented conceptual artists, Malcolm Semmens and Timmo Walters, who are producing amazing designs for us.

Sample concept art produced by Malcolm Semmens and Tim Walters over the course of this campaign.
Sample concept art produced by Malcolm Semmens and Tim Walters over the course of this campaign.
Some fragments of our concept art so far to whet your appetite.
Some fragments of our concept art so far to whet your appetite.

And Timmo will be creating our practical alien puppets and costumes for us. (Yes, that's right, our creatures will be things you can touch, not just pixels. We love '70s and '80s John Carpenter films, so we want to use old-school practical creature effects for Starspawn rather than CGI.) Here are some examples of Timmo's previous work:

A small sample of the portfolio of our creature FX creator and concept artist Timmo Walters.
A small sample of the portfolio of our creature FX creator and concept artist Timmo Walters.

Our pitch to you ... and our promise

We love making films, we have the track record, and now we just need your support to make Starspawn a reality. So help us Kickstart it! Check out the cool rewards we’re offering and decide how much you’d like to pledge. In return, we promise to work hard, be creative and do our utmost to make an extraordinary film. We want you to be a part of our journey as we step up to the next level of the film industry and make our dreams - and H.P. Lovecraft's nightmares - come true.

"Starspawn" Writer/Director Travis Bain and Visual Effects Supervisor Adrian Rayner.
"Starspawn" Writer/Director Travis Bain and Visual Effects Supervisor Adrian Rayner.

Risks and challenges

Making movies is a risky business. We're not going to sugar-coat that. We've all heard the stories about troubled movie productions. Unexpected things happen, problems arise, and plans can sometimes go awry. Whenever you get a group of people together to work on a film, you're at the mercy of things like bad weather, illness, equipment breakdowns, unexpected expenses and any number of other speedbumps.

However, we're confident that we can deal with whatever the forces of chaos throw at us. Why? Because we've done this before. Sapphire Pictures' two previous features Scratched and Throwback have been delivered on meagre budgets, been screened at film festivals, and collected awards and praise. We're not amateur film students fumbling our way along, we're professional filmmakers with solid CVs, and we know the importance of preparation and organization, so that when problems do arise, we're ready to tackle them with ingenuity and Plans B, C and sometimes D!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 10 or more About $8

    Your name will be mentioned in the "Thankyou" section of the film's credits, the official website and Facebook page! PLUS you'll get special access to exclusive "backers only" updates about Starspawn that won't be available to the rest of the world, including video blogs, photos and other insider info about the making of the movie. See Starspawn evolve from script to screen and get a front-row insight into the process of making a film from start to finish.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 10 or more About $8

    Before Starspawn, before Throwback, Travis Bain released his debut feature Scratched back in 2005. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Scratched, you can now download the full-length movie for a pledge of only $10!

    Scratched was filmed in Brisbane and Townsville on digital video and was one of the four finalists in the inaugural digiSPAA Digital Feature Film Initiative 2005. Scratched also screened at the 2005 Melbourne Underground Film Festival. To see Travis's early work as a feature director (and also an early film role for Steven "Bajo" O'Donnell from ABC TV's "Good Game"), pledge now to unearth this rare piece of Australian indie cinema!

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 25 or more About $19

    An HD digital download of the Starspawn excerpt short film! There'll be no watermark or time limit on your video, it'll be yours to keep and watch as many times as you like, on your TV, computer or personal devices.

    Plus:

    ● Your name will be mentioned in the "Thankyou" section of the movie's credits and the official website and Facebook page!
    ● Access to exclusive "backers only" updates about the movie that won't be available to the rest of the world!

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    44 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 50 or more About $38

    A zip file download of goodies including incredible concept art, sample storyboards, desktop wallpapers, digital posters and more!

    Plus:

    ● An HD digital download of the Starspawn excerpt short film!
    ● Your name will be mentioned in the "Thankyou" section of the movie's credits and the official website and Facebook page!
    ● Access to exclusive "backers only" updates about the movie that won't be available to the rest of the world!

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    27 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 100 or more About $76

    At this reward level you get a personalized voicemail greeting by the legendary Vernon Wells from Mad Max 2, Commando and of course our previous movie Throwback! Why have a boring "Hi, leave me a message and I'll call you back" voicemail greeting when you can have a CUSTOM greeting for your callers in the gravelly tones of Wez, Bennett or Detective McNab? (Your greeting will be emailed to you as either an .mp3 or .aac audio file. Content is subject to Vernon’s approval.)

    Plus:

    ● An HD digital download of the Starspawn excerpt short film!
    ● A zip file download of goodies including concept art, sample storyboards, desktop wallpapers, digital posters and more!
    ● Your name will be mentioned in the "Thankyou" section of the movie's credits and the official website and Facebook page!
    ● Access to exclusive "backers only" updates about the movie that won't be available to the rest of the world!

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    Limited 6 backers
    AU$
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 100 or more About $76

    See the Starspawn excerpt short film before anybody else in the world! You'll get a ticket to the private cast and crew screening in Cairns, Far North Queensland, where you can see our work before it hits the festival circuit, and mingle with the filmmakers on a one-on-one basis to give us your feedback about the film. (Travel and accommodation costs not included.)

    Plus:

    ● An HD digital download of the Starspawn excerpt short film!
    ● A zip file download of goodies including concept art, sample storyboards, desktop wallpapers, digital posters and more!
    ● Your name will be mentioned in the "Thankyou" section of the movie's credits and the official website and Facebook page!
    ● Access to exclusive "backers only" updates about the movie that won't be available to the rest of the world!

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    Limited 15 backers
    AU$
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 125 or more About $95

    Fancy some calamari? Join us, the filmmakers, for our post-production wrap dinner at a restaurant in Cairns, Far North Queensland, a relaxed and informal evening where you can ask us questions, mingle with the actors, hear our war stories from making the movie, laugh at our lame jokes, and generally have an ace night out. Oh, and your meal and beverages are on us! This is your opportunity to not only pick the brains of the Starspawn team members but also enjoy a pleasant social event as well. Calamari optional. (Travel and accommodation not included.)

    Plus:

    ● An HD digital download of the Starspawn excerpt short film!
    ● A zip file download of goodies including concept art, sample storyboards, desktop wallpapers, digital posters and more!
    ● Your name will be mentioned in the "Thankyou" section of the movie's credits and the official website and Facebook page!
    ● Access to exclusive "backers only" updates about the movie that won't be available to the rest of the world!

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    Limited 4 backers
    AU$
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 125 or more About $95

    A one-hour private Skype chat with three of Starspawn's key creatives: Writer/Director Travis Bain, Visual Effects Supervisor Adrian Rayner and Conceptual Artist Malcolm Semmens, You can ask us questions, hear our war stories from making the movie, and generally shoot the breeze with us from wherever you are in the world.

    Plus:

    ● An HD digital download of the Starspawn excerpt short film!
    ● A zip file download of goodies including concept art, sample storyboards, desktop wallpapers, digital posters and more!
    ● Your name will be mentioned in the "Thankyou" section of the movie's credits and the official website and Facebook page!
    ● Access to exclusive "backers only" updates about the movie that won't be available to the rest of the world!

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    0 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 125 or more About $95

    Want to kickstart your acting career? At this reward level, you'll receive a professionally edited showreel from the producers of Starspawn, Sapphire Pictures. Just send us videos of your previous films, TV ads or whatever else you've been in, and we'll cut the best bits together into a sharp, snappy, attention-getting two-minute showreel, ready to upload to YouTube and Vimeo and submit to casting agents.

    But that's not all. If the full-length feature of Starspawn goes ahead, you can be an extra in it! We need dozens of people to appear in a crowd scene in the Starspawn feature, to be filmed near Cairns, Far North QLD. Select this reward and we'll put you on the list to be one, AND you'll get a personal reference letter from Producer/Director Travis Bain to help further your acting career. (Travel and accommodation not included.)

    Plus:

    ● An HD digital download of the Starspawn excerpt short film!
    ● A zip file download of goodies including concept art, sample storyboards, desktop wallpapers, digital posters and more!
    ● Your name will be mentioned in the "Thankyou" section of the movie's credits and the official website and Facebook page!
    ● Access to exclusive "backers only" updates about the movie that won't be available to the rest of the world!

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    Limited 0 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 250 or more About $191

    You think you look horrible first thing in the morning? How about a unique sketch of you interpreted as a hideous Lovecraftian monster by one of our talented concept artists, Malcolm Semmens or Timmo Walters? Send us a photo of yourself and your custom sketch will be signed by the artist and emailed to you as a high-resolution image ready for you to print at whatever size you prefer. A reward for the true H.P. Lovecraft fan or just a cheeky gift for one of your loved ones!

    Plus:

    ● An HD digital download of the Starspawn excerpt short film!
    ● A zip file download of goodies including concept art, sample storyboards, desktop wallpapers, digital posters and more!
    ● Your name will be mentioned in the "Thankyou" section of the movie's credits and the official website and Facebook page!
    ● Access to exclusive "backers only" updates about the movie that won't be available to the rest of the world!

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    Limited 9 backers
    AU$
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 500 or more About $381

    Calling all business owners! Promote your brand by placing your company logo prominently in the end credits of the Starspawn excerpt short film and our behind-the-scenes video diaries. Our previous film Throwback was sponsored by a number of businesses, and those businesses enjoyed massive exposure to thousands of people through public screenings, the DVD release and our popular YouTube video diaries. This is a premium advertising opportunity, and your chance to show your patronage and support of the creative arts. And the good news is that you don't even have to be based in our home city of Cairns to opt for this reward.

    Plus:

    ● An HD digital download of the Starspawn excerpt short film!
    ● A zip file download of goodies including concept art, sample storyboards, desktop wallpapers, digital posters and more!
    ● Your name will be mentioned in the "Thankyou" section of the movie's credits and the official website and Facebook page!
    ● Access to exclusive "backers only" updates about the movie that won't be available to the rest of the world!

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    Limited 1 backer
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 500 or more About $381

    Go beyond the wall of sleep! Challenge our camera operator Kristian Lupinski, actor Anthony Ring and production designer Giovanni Furnari to stay awake for as long as they can to watch as many H.P. Lovecraft movie adaptations as possible in one insane marathon session! (Films like Dagon, The Dunwich Horror and The Whisperer in Darkness will be on the watch list.) We'll film their endurance test for you and send you the highlights of their Herculean effort in a private YouTube video after they pass out! Goodbye sleep, hello pizza and wall-to-wall horror movies!

    Plus:

    ● An HD digital download of the Starspawn excerpt short film!
    ● A zip file download of goodies including concept art, sample storyboards, desktop wallpapers, digital posters and more!
    ● Your name will be mentioned in the "Thankyou" section of the movie's credits and the official website and Facebook page!
    ● Access to exclusive "backers only" updates about the movie that won't be available to the rest of the world!

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    Limited 0 backers
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  13. Reward no longer available

    Pledge AU$ 580 or more About $442

    Vernon Wells (Mad Max 2, Throwback) isn't just a cult actor, his voice talents are also highly in demand for TV commercials and video games. At this reward level, you get a unique audio download of Vernon Wells reading one of H.P. Lovecraft's most famous stories: his 1927 classic "Pickman's Model." Only one backer can receive this one-of-a-kind recording of Vernon Wells reading "Pickman's Model" in his sonorous tones ... perfect to listen to by candlelight on a dark winter's night! (The recording will be emailed to you as an .mp3 or .aac audio file.)

    Plus:

    ● An HD digital download of the Starspawn excerpt short film!
    ● A zip file download of goodies including concept art, sample storyboards, desktop wallpapers, digital posters and more!
    ● Your name will be mentioned in the "Thankyou" section of the movie's credits and the official website and Facebook page!
    ● Access to exclusive "backers only" updates about the movie that won't be available to the rest of the world!

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
    AU$
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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 1,000 or more About $762

    Want to feel like a Hollywood player? Get your name in the credits as an Associate Producer! You'll also be listed on IMDB, our Facebook page and official website.

    Plus:

    ● An HD digital download of the Starspawn excerpt short film!
    ● A ticket to the private Cairns cast & crew preview screening of the Starspawn excerpt short film, and your chance to mingle with the filmmakers on a one-on-one basis and give us your feedback about the film. (Travel and accommodation costs not included.) Or, if you don't live near Cairns, you can have a personal Skype chat with us, the filmmakers!
    ● A zip file download of goodies including concept art, sample storyboards, desktop wallpapers, digital posters and more!
    ● Your name will be mentioned in the "Thankyou" section of the movie's credits and the official website and Facebook page!
    ● Access to exclusive "backers only" updates about the movie that won't be available to the rest of the world!

    (Disclaimer: the Associate Producer credit does not entitle the backer to a percentage of the film's royalties or a stake in the film's copyright. But if we win any awards, like we did for our previous film Throwback, you'll get to bask in the glory with us!)

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 1,500 or more About $1,144

    The ultimate level of support you can show for Starspawn earns you an Executive Producer credit. You get your lofty title on IMDB.com and in the credits of the film, a bundle of other great rewards, and our eternal love and gratitude!

    ● An HD digital download of the Starspawn excerpt short film!
    ● A ticket to the private Cairns cast & crew preview screening of the Starspawn excerpt short film, and your chance to mingle with the filmmakers on a one-on-one basis and give us your feedback about the film. (Travel and accommodation costs not included.) Or, if you don't live near Cairns, you can have a personal Skype chat with us, the filmmakers!
    ● A zip file download of goodies including concept art, sample storyboards, desktop wallpapers, digital posters and more!
    ● Your name will be mentioned in the "Thankyou" section of the movie's credits and the official website and Facebook page!
    ● Access to exclusive "backers only" updates about the movie that won't be available to the rest of the world!

    (Disclaimer: the Associate Producer credit does not entitle the backer to a percentage of the film's royalties or a stake in the film's copyright. But if we win any awards, like we did for our previous film Throwback, you'll get to bask in the glory with us!)

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    Limited 2 backers
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Funding period

- (40 days)