Ready, Set, Fund: The Queens of Austin


Kat Candler with Carla L. Jackson and Kelvin Z. Phillips of A Swingin' Trio

"Ready, Set, Fund," is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

The Austin Film Festival has announced their first round of conference panels for 2012, and the title that came immediately to my attention was the "Crowdfunding Your Indie Film" panel. The panel of to-be-named filmmakers will discuss how to use modern technology to connect and solicit funding from backers for their film projects.

If I had to speculate what local filmmaker I'd most like to see on this AFF panel, it would be Kat Candler, pictured above on left with Carla L. Jackson and Kelvin Z. Phillips of A Swingin' Trio, at AFF 2011. Candler exceeded her fundraising goals on past projects including Hellion as well as for the UT Austin student organization Women In Cinema Summer Production and Operations, for which she is the faculty advisor. Incidentally, over half of the film projects featured in this month's "Ready, Set, Fund" column are helmed by women.

Candler's latest crowdfunding project, which reunites her with Hellion actor Jonny Mars and producer (and former AFF program director) Kelly Williams, is for a new short film, Black Metal. This dark drama exposes the raw emotions evoked within Ian, a thirty-something black-metal singer, when his music is linked to a student murdering a math teacher. Black Metal follows Ian, who is now a husband and father, as he comes to terms with his role in a tragic and senseless murder. The Indiegogo page features a video of Candler getting a "black metal music lesson" from Vesperian Sorrow's lead singer Donn Donni.

An observation I've made about successful crowdfunding projects is the influence of supporting other filmmakers' projects as well. I'm pleased to see Candler is backing another film project, the documentary film My Sister Sarah, which is campaigning on Indiegogo through Tuesday, July 31.

Filmmaker Elizabeth Chatelain is working on this personal story is about Sarah Chatelain, a recovering methamphetamines addict now living in North Dakota who has been in and out of drug rehabilitation centers for 13 years. She has remained clean for four years, but her struggle is an everyday reality after losing her husband of less than a year in a car crash in 2011 -- just a few weeks after she gave birth to their daughter, Serenity. Despite the past year’s events, she has not returned to drug use as she fights to overcome a devastating addiction. Watch the trailer for My Sister Sarah below.

MY SISTER, SARAH Trailer from Elizabeth Chatelain on Vimeo.

Speaking of drug addiction, another local film funding this month is Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund (TFPF) grant recipient No No: A Dockumentary. This feature film focuses on the legend and story of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis, who set a record by throwing a no-hitter while high on LSD. After his retirement from baseball, Dock was an advocate for prevention and rehabilitation for drug addiction. He spent his final years counseling other addicts until his death from liver disease in 2008. The movie's Kickstarter campaign runs through Tuesday, July 17.

Other local film projects funding this month:

  • Dream Time -- Masala Film Works was invited to participate in the School of Creative Activism as part of their Transformational Cinema initiative. The first of their Transformational Cinema series is Maganthrie's Pillay's new feature film project -- TFPF grant recipient Dream Time, an exciting transformational adventure. (Indiegogo, ends Monday, July 16)
  • Have Thong, Will Travel -- Ruby C. Martin and Tracy Frazier co-direct this documentary about the "Queen of Austin," Leslie Cochran, who lived on the streets with Leslie as witness to his life as an icon and a pariah as well as an advocate for the homeless. (Indiegogo, ends Sunday, July 22)
  • Last Month's Rent -- This comedic horror film stars the feline TC who moves into a new house with his owners. Not only must they deal with the stress of co-habitation not only with someone of the opposite sex, but also a not-so-friendly ghost. (Indiegogo, ends Wednesday, July 18)
  • Living Springs -- Previous TFPF recipient Karen Kocher is directing this film about the soul of Austin that has had its share of political and environmental concerns, Barton Springs. (USA Projects, ends Sunday, July 22)
  • My Monster -- A family film set in the 1980s about Hollywood action hero Troy "The Monster King," Athens who is truly a monster on the inside after letting his fame go to his head. After suffering a tragic, on-set accident that leaves him disfigured, he is lost and captured in the Texas wilderness. Writer/director Scott Rice's popular comedy Perils in Nude Modeling was called "a remarkable tour de force" by movie legend Roger Corman. (Indiegogo, ends Sunday, July 29)

Have a project that you would like to be considered for an upcoming "Ready, Set, Fund," feature about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects? Contact us if you've got a film fundraising project going on you'd like us to know about.

Black Sun Documentary: Successful Kickstarter Campaign

Guess what, you have a picture right there on your website of two success stories. :-) FilmKZP productions (producers of A Swingin' Trio) is working on a documentary called "Black Sun," - All of the details are on the Kickstarter page and the web site. Astrophysicists rule in general, but those that want to help the underserved get their science on, REALLY rule. :-)

We were successful in raising money for the first part of the doc. We are raising money for the second part of the documentary (shooting in Australia in Nov), a complete web site, editing, etc.

Thanks for the update

We'd missed this project since Jarita is listed out of Tucson, AZ, but I'm really excited to hear the educational STEM tie-in! Feel free to email me directly debbie at with more details...