“Jasper is the coolest character I’ve
come across in the film business”
- William Akers, author of Your Screenplay Sucks!
events of The Alley Cat take place
during a single night. Jasper, the
main character, is the same character from the short film Faster! in a completely new set
meet Jasper and her messenger friends during an alley cat race - an
alcohol-fueled competition that is put on by bike messengers for bike
messengers in alleys and deserted downtown streets in the middle of the night. The
night takes a hard turn and becomes chaotic, then a meditation on the meaning
of life and a spiritual journey for Jasper as she engages with the eccentrics
and loners of the night during her ride to a mysterious destination.
taking place during one night, the film exists in a liminal space. This
liminality is echoed by the events that occur - things are overturned and
unresolved. This liminality is
part of Jasper’s character; the mythological Messenger communicates between the
gods, the mortals, and the underworld, occupying no space fully. The film occupies a dark space, but Jasper’s emotional and physical journey ends with hope and uplift.
What's the money for? Well, I'll tell you:
AIRFARE and HOUSING - we're bringing together a tight-knit team that will perform well together in these rugged circumstances.
SALARIES - we're all professionals. No one is making their actual day rate, but I don't know anyone who can work for a month for free.
INSURANCE - enables us to rent gear, get permits, and feel okay about ourselves.
FOOD - gotta feed people well, or they will leave.
CAMERA and SUPPORT, LENSES, etc. - getting a deal, but it's not free. Shooting on the RED EPIC-X courtesy of www.Verrechiastudios.com
PRODUCTION VEHICLES - a camera car so the camera can be part of the action, plus a van to haul our gear and ourselves around town. Because we're gonna be super portable.
PROPS - not a huge part of the budget, but it's necessary.
TECHNOLOGY - need some serious hard drives and faster processing to deal with the footage we'll be generating.
GENERATOR & FUEL - shooting at night means making our own light.
CONSUMABLES and CONTINGENCY - the small random expenses that can make or break your day.
Marie Ullrich - Writer, Director & Producer
Marie is a film director whose stated
goal is to make films with strong female lead characters for whom neither the
essential problem nor its solution is romantic, while still entertaining her
Her narrative films have screened
internationally at juried film festivals such as the British Film Institute’s
London Film Festival, interfilm Berlin, the Chicago International Film
Festival, Cannes, and more. Her commercial for Chrome
Messenger Bags, "The Race," was the winner of the 2011 Bronze Telly
Award. The Alley Cat is based on the main character from her film Faster!,broadcast internationally on the Dish
Network, AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV on ShortsHD throughout 2011 via Shorts
International, the world's leading short film distributor. A previous version of the screenplay for
The Alley Cat was a finalist for the
Sundance Filmmakers Labs.
In 2006 Marie
walked 500 miles across Spain in 30 days, on El Camino de Santiago de Compostela.
Dylan Verrechia - Director of Photography
is an award-winning director of photography who graduated in Film with Honors
from NYU, Tisch School of the Arts, and has worked with Jean Rouch, Fred Elmes,
Franz Walderdorff, Kim Peirce, Lisa Rinzler, and Luke Geissbühler.
served as Director of Photography for Todd Solondz, Spike Lee, Sam Pollard,
Richard Kroehling, Mark Daniels, Bob Coen, Pete Chatmon, Shawn Regruto,
Sebastian Lemke, Sonia Gonzalez, Ole Schell, Sal Sorrentino, and Gene Graham,
in affiliation with ARTE, BMG, CBC, Condé Nast, Double7 Images, Goethe
Institute, Good Machine, Greenpeace, HBO, InDiGent, JWT, Killer Films, L'Oréal,
MGM, MTV, New Line, PBS, Time Warner, VH1, Youku TV, and Easyup Medias. He has
lensed music videos for artists such as The Calling, Nortec Collective,
UrbanRockBand, Tetonica Castro, NoJazz, Nuriya, DJ Vadim, Deuce Eclipse, Paco
Mendoza, Open Ocean, Nova Heart and Von Haze.
Dylan is the CEO at
the rental company Verrechia Studios, and he has received 25 awards for his
work on features, documentaries and commercials. More at www.verrechiafilms.com
Kathryn Henderson - Producer
from Michigan, Kathryn studied film at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago
and has produced multiple short films, promotional videos, documentary-style
corporate films, and annual reports. This will be her third collaboration with
director Marie Ullrich.
two have previously co-created Faster!,
broadcast internationally on the
Dish Network, AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV on ShortsHD throughout 2011 via
Shorts International, the world's leading short film distributor, and the Telly-Award-winning
spec commercial, Chrome Messenger Bags, "The
a producer at VSA Partners in Chicago, Kathryn works with such clients as
Procter & Gamble, IBM, Harley-Davidson, & First Data. Formerly with
Resolution Digital, Kathryn also produced the short films: Tom Carter, The Assassination of Chicago's Mayor, Fall in Love, &
The Coldest Winter, and Refuge (also
distributed with Shorts International).
In her free time, Kathryn takes voice & dance lessons, and is a
certified Zumba instructor.
Acclaim for Marie Ullrich’s short film, Faster!
Distributed by Shorts International.
Chicago International Film Festival
Chicago International Film Festival Educational Outreach Screening
British Film Institute’s London Film Festival, London UK
Cannes Short Film Corner,
Narrative Shorts, IL
Carolina Film and
Video Festival, NC
Chicago at the Sundance Film Festival, Park City, UT
Chicago Recruiting Presentation, Chinese Normal School, Taiwan
Corto Helvetico al
Davis Feminist Film
Festival, Davis, CA
Shorts, Chicago Filmmakers, Chicago
Fargo Film Festival,
Film Festival ŠERŠÊLIAFAM, Vilnius, Lithuania
Shorts Attack touring festival, Germany (16 screenings in 13 cities)
International Women’s Film Festival, St. John’s, Newfoundland, CA
University Film &
Video Association, Burlington, VT
International Film Festival, Las Cruces, NM
Sounds Good, Doesn’t It. Well get on board! This is a short campaign - don't hesitate!
We definitely appreciate all the offers and enthusiasm, and we'll come calling if we do need help, but keep in mind that we’re going to have a tiny crew so that we can keep our costs down and our set portable. Keep in mind also that we’ll be shooting all overnights, so this is not going to be glamorous in the least.
Right now, the help we need is in helping us get new backers! If 3,000 people sent us just $10 each, we'd be golden. We can do it! With your help!
Other things we will definitely need help with include mid-20’s (ish) cyclists and messengers to be in the alley cat race in the beginning of the film. Some cyclists will ride with Go Pro cameras strapped to their frames or on their bodies somewhere to grab POV video. Keep in mind that this means doing multiple takes of individual shots in the middle of the night - it will be fun, we hope, but a lot of hard work with plenty of Hurry Up and Wait thrown in - like all films.
** The thing we need most of all is your support in terms of backing, publicity (please invite your friends to our online https://www.facebook.com/events/234872883282697/), and in - kind donations such as catered meals and housing for the crew.
If someone has a property in Chicago where they could house 5 people for the month of July, that would save us a lot of money and be super awesome!
Ha hah hah ha ha. An excellent question, my friend.
Before even talking about the film’s qualities - and granted, I’ve only seen the trailer so far - let me say that it already fails me as a film because the lead character is male.
Being male is not the default setting for humanity. There is a female character in it, who I suspect is the Love Interest. This is what I hate about (many) (Hollywood) films. I don’t identify with being male, and I don’t want to watch films from a forced male POV.
Don’t get me wrong. There are films I adore with male protagonists, such as Rushmore, Breaking Away, and too many more to mention. But even after seeing a film that is wonderfully entertaining, well-crafted and thoughtful, I wonder: What might this film have been like if the protagonist was a woman?
Aside from that, I’m just gonna come out and say it: Premium Rush looks cheesy. I’ve talked to some bike messengers about going to see it at the theatre and giving it the MST3K treatment; we hope it’ll be So Bad It’s Good. Hey, maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised. But… come on, the main character’s name is “Wiley.” Barf. No offense to Gordon-Levitt, who I think is a very talented actor. I’m sure the film was a blast to make and that a lot of heart and soul went into it from the actors perspective - but it seems like a cynical Hollywood film to me.
Consider The Alley Cat the antidote to all of the above.
e may be crazy, but we are NOT giving up! This film **needs** to get made, and we’ve got amazingly talented people who are on board. If we can get the word out, WE CAN DO THIS by June 21st! Please help us spread the word, and please back us at whatever level you can!
The amount of enthusiasm for the story has been overwhelmingly positive! We’re so excited and it makes us really happy that people really want to see this film made.
Can you give $10? That's all it takes! Of course I like to see the Big Money post on the board, but all the little donations add up too!
The other thing you can do is help us SPREAD THE WORD. Posting our Facebook link is awesome, and so is Twittering about us - but there is more you can do!
We’ve created anhttps://www.facebook.com/events/234872883282697/ Why don’t you JOIN it and INVITE YOUR FRIENDS? Then you can write a little note about why this is such an important project to back, and you can invite friends so you know they’ll see it since they’ll get a personal notification from you.Tell them it's only $10! We're going to host a free Chicago screening for backers at the $10 level, and we'll try to do the same in other cities where our FAN BASE lives! Just think of it as buying your film ticket way in advance - only in this case, your film ticket is actually helping us make the film!
Nope. Never. I’ve worked in film production most of my adult life, but I happen to really like bikes and bike messengers.
Faster! was sort of my prep work and a trailer for this film while I was still developing the plot for the feature, and the Chrome spot was awarded to me based on the success of Faster! - but after this film, I have other films to make that are not bike related. This isn’t the only idea I have, it’s just been the one that has been the most urgent for me, and the time feels right.
I’ve been an urban cyclist in Boston, MA (where my daily cycling commute was 15 miles), Tokyo, Japan (bike parking lots!), Nashville, TN (where drivers would pull over and ask me if I wanted to throw my bike in their pick-up trucks and ride with them in the cab; um, no, I’m riding a bike on purpose), and Chicago (it’s flat!).
All my films start with a character: a teenage kleptomaniac, a bike messenger, a professional athlete aging out of her sport, a bio-pic of a famously tragic personality. It’s the character that intrigues me, and thinking about what problems she might have and what drama exists there that I can explore. I sketch out ideas, and then I do research. Tons and tons of research.
So for The Alley Cat and for my previous short, Faster!, I’ve been talking to bike messengers, hanging out with them, reading their blogs and zines and watching their videos. I’ve been volunteering at alley cat races and going to messenger bars and events. They’ve been super supportive about the idea, the character, the story - everything. And they’re smart, creative folks who know how to have a good time.
FAN BASE: You rock!
This is the same as the old FAN BASE reward, but I decided to add something: you'll be invited to a FREE SCREENING of the finished film. This won't be a film festival or private screening; it will be outdoors, in a bar, or in someone's back yard. It will definitely happen in Chicago and I'd like to add SF and NY dates as well. The exact date of delivery will depend on when we finish the film, but expect it to be in the summer or fall. You guys are our FAN BASE and YOU ROCK!
FASTER! Level: The Alley Cat is based on the same main character from the short film Faster! in a completely new set of circumstances. We'd like to reward you with a digital download of the Faster! short plus the Fan Base rewards.
CINÉASTE: It's on! We'd like to say thank you with an HD DVD or Blu Ray of the finished Alley Cat film! Please also enjoy all benefits from previous levels. Please note that the actual fulfillment date may be earlier or later than noted - but this is our best guess at present.
FASTER! Special: We have ONE special Faster! bundle, which includes a LARGE Seagull messenger bag silkscreened with the Faster! logo, straight off the set of the film (this bag was a prototype which was not used during filming). The bag comes with a DVD of Faster! and a Faster! postcard. The bag is grey with red silkscreened logo.
INDIE SPIRIT Level: You're cordially invited to the cast & crew screening of the film. Location is TBD (Chicago or New York). Lodging and Airfare are not included, but the experience of being an insider is unmatched.
Also includes the CINÉASTE rewards, your name in the credits as an Associate Producer -
RED CARPET: You'll be credited as an Executive Producer on the film. Please attend a film festival with the filmmakers as a guest of the film! Lodging and airfare not included; locations and dates are TBD. Please also enjoy the CINÉASTE rewards.
By the way - have you lost weight? You look fantastic.