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Murder, mystery and dolls! A new documentary film (sequel) featuring the dead doll mysteries of artist Cynthia von Buhler. Read more

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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on October 20, 2011.

Murder, mystery and dolls! A new documentary film (sequel) featuring the dead doll mysteries of artist Cynthia von Buhler.

About this project

A Little Back Story...

I just finished a feature-length documentary film, Of Dolls & Murder, narrated by the iconic filmmaker John Waters. My film exposes the unimaginable world of miniature homicides known as the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. They were created by Frances Glessner Lee AKA  the "Patron Saint of Forensics" in the 1930s and 1940s. 

Lee contributed greatly to science and criminal justice, but she was also a talented artist who tapped into deep currents of the human psyche with her dollhouses of death. And there's no one like her. Well, at least that's what I thought...

Enter Cynthia

Then I met artist Cynthia von Buhler. She was so inspired by Frances Glessner that she created dollhouse crimes based on a murder mystery that took place in her own family.

The more Cynthia investigated her grandfather's murder, the more fascinating clues she uncovered. In fact, her investigation casts a whole new light on the story on the murder - making it even more mysterious and intriguing. Cynthia recently launched a successful Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds to create a book about her investigation with photos of her own dollhouse crime scenes.

She's also staging and immersive play in Manhattan in October, 2011. According to Cynthia, "I will present an immersive environment where my story will be told by actors. The immersive environment will mirror the dollhouse sets from the book, including a speakeasy, a bakery, a morgue, a street scene, and a pre-war apartment."

Too late for my documentary...

But not too late for a new documentary film. Cynthia has invited me to film behind the scenes of her play on October 24th, 2011 and her process for making dollhouse crime scenes while investigating a decades old murder. 

A donation from your will get me started on this new documentary film project. The money will go towards:

  • Camera package rental
  • Crew

The more money I raise, the more I can put towards following Cynthia's investigation and miniature creation. With the footage I capture at Cynthia's play and studio, I will make a stand-alone documentary film. However, there is also a strong possibility I can feature Cynthia's story in a larger, more expansive story of dolls and murder.

Thank you! And I look forward to sharing my dead doll movies with you.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    7 backers

    Paper Doll. You will receive a postcard production still (suitable for framing) from Of Dolls & Murder II sent to you with a personal message from the filmmakers and Cynthia von Buhler.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    10 backers

    Doll Face. You will receive an 11X17 poster (suitable for framing) from Of Dolls & Murder II signed by the filmmakers and Cynthia von Buhler.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    24 backers

    Living Doll. You will receive a copy of the yet-to-be finished documentary film, Of Dolls & Murder II, featuring the work of artist Cynthia von Buhler.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    16 backers

    Baby Doll. You will receive a copy of the already finished documentary film, Of Dolls & Murder, narrated by John Waters. The film will be sent to you the first week in November 2011.

    Read on for description of the film:

    Before forensics, DNA, and CSI we had dollhouses – an unimaginable collection of miniature crime scenes, known as the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. Created in the 1930s and 1940s by a crime-fighting grandmother, Frances Glessner Lee created the Nutshells to help homicide detectives hone their investigative skills. These surreal dollhouses reveal a dystopic and disturbing slice of domestic life with doll corpses representing actual murder victims, or perhaps something that just looks like murder. Despite all the advances in forensics, the Nutshells are still used today to train detectives. Documentary film, Of Dolls and Murder, explores the dioramas, the woman who created them, and their relationship to modern day forensics. From the iconic CSI television show to the Body Farm and criminally minded college students, legendary filmmaker and true crime aficionado, John Waters narrates the tiny world of big time murder.

    The DVD includes extended version of Of Dolls & Murder as well as extra features!

    Eco-friendly packaging.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $40 or more

    5 backers Limited (5 left of 10)

    New York Doll. You will receive 1 ticket to Cynthia von Buhler's play on Monday, October 24 · 8:00pm - 11:30pm. For now, the Manhattan location is secret! Also, the New York Doll donation level gets you Cynthia's book about her family's murder mystery in doll scenes.

    Here's what Cynthia has to say about her immersive play:

    I plan to take Lee’s method of dollhouse crime scene investigation one step further. Each main part of the story will be recreated and repeated by the actors on a loop throughout the night with slightly different details and outcomes each time. I will be observing the human interactions for possible scenarios that may have occurred. The story is in a constant state of flux. All of the guests at the play will interact with the actors. The actors and the audience will not be distinguished from one another so that there will be no boundary between the audience and the performer. The play will include a musical set by The Howard Fishman Quartet along with special guest musical appearances.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    8 backers Limited (12 left of 20)

    New York Dolls II. You will receive 2 ticket to Cynthia von Buhler's play on Monday, October 24 · 8:00pm - 11:30pm. For now, the Manhattan location is secret! Also, the New York Doll II donation level gets you 2 copes of Cynthia's book about her family's murder mystery in doll scenes.

    Here's what Cynthia has to say about her immersive play:

    I plan to take Lee’s method of dollhouse crime scene investigation one step further. Each main part of the story will be recreated and repeated by the actors on a loop throughout the night with slightly different details and outcomes each time. I will be observing the human interactions for possible scenarios that may have occurred. The story is in a constant state of flux. All of the guests at the play will interact with the actors. The actors and the audience will not be distinguished from one another so that there will be no boundary between the audience and the performer. The play will include a musical set by The Howard Fishman Quartet along with special guest musical appearances.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    0 backers

    Dearest Doll. You will receive 2 DVD copies of the already finished documentary film, Of Dolls & Murder, narrated by John Waters. Keep one for yourself and give the gift of murder. You will also receive an 11X17 poster of Of Dolls & Murder signed by the filmmakers. The DVDs & poser will be sent to you the first week in November 2011.

    Read on for description of the film:

    Before forensics, DNA, and CSI we had dollhouses – an unimaginable collection of miniature crime scenes, known as the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. Created in the 1930s and 1940s by a crime-fighting grandmother, Frances Glessner Lee created the Nutshells to help homicide detectives hone their investigative skills. These surreal dollhouses reveal a dystopic and disturbing slice of domestic life with doll corpses representing actual murder victims, or perhaps something that just looks like murder. Despite all the advances in forensics, the Nutshells are still used today to train detectives. Documentary film, Of Dolls and Murder, explores the dioramas, the woman who created them, and their relationship to modern day forensics. From the iconic CSI television show to the Body Farm and criminally minded college students, legendary filmmaker and true crime aficionado, John Waters narrates the tiny world of big time murder.

    The DVD includes extended version of Of Dolls & Murder as well as extra features!

    Eco-friendly packaging.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    10 backers

    Double Doll. You will receive DVDs of both Of Dolls & Murder (Nov 1) and the sequel whenever it is finished! That's a lot of dead dolls.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    4 backers Limited (6 left of 10)

    Glitter Doll. You will receive stainless steel necklace was designed by artist Suzy Greenberg with a Nutshell Study photo by Susan Marks. In other words, a dead doll necklace of your very own. The pendant is coated in resin and includes a 24 inch ball chain. You will also receive a DVD of Of Dolls & Murder, narrated by John Waters.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    0 backers

    Dress Up Doll. You will receive a high quality 8 X 10 ink jet photo from Cynthia von Buhler's book, suitable for framing and signed by the author.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    Kewpie Doll. How does a tour of Cynthia von Buhler's studio and sets sound? This level does not include any travel costs, so it's ideal for someone who lives in the NYC area.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $800 or more

    0 backers

    You Doll You! Cynthia von Buhler will make a doll of your (or someone of your choosing) likeness and put it in Speakeasy Dollhouse Book 2 and her upcoming Stop-Motion film. You will also get a copy of both the book and the stop-motion film.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (20 days)