Ready, Set, Fund: Winter Heroes


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

Winter has finally arrived in Austin and with the holiday season upon us, it's easy to get wrapped up in the hectic shopping and festivities. It's also a great time to give back to community and to reflect on sacrifices made by others during winters past.

One major event that took place this time of year and is often forgotten is the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, an epic and decisive battle of the Korean War that took place between November 27 and December 13, 1950. In a freezing winter, thousands of United Nations troops -- "The Chosin Few" -- including U.S. Marines were outnumbered and trapped by Chinese forces in the mountains of North Korea. Despite the odds, the Marines refused to surrender and fought their way 78 miles to the sea and rescued 98,000 civilians. Seventeen Medals of Honor, 73 Navy Crosses, and 23 Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded, making Chosin one of the most decorated battles in American history.

Brian Iglesias and Anton Sattler produced and released an award-winning documentary film titled Chosin that has screened across the US and South Korea -- and is now available on EPIX, Netflix, Amazon Video, DVD, and iTunes. The team is currently funding CHOSIN: An Animated War Film through Tuesday, December 25, on Kickstarter, co-directed by Austinite Richard Meyer with animation by local artist Stephanie Hogue.

Other local film-related projects funding this month:

  • Cryptid -- Described as an "American Psychological thriller/horror," this movie is directed by James Garrigan and Aaron Isaac Vasquez. An ex-military operative must face a greater evil than ever imagined. (Kickstarter, ends Wednesday December 19)
  • The Higher Cost of Surviving -- Writer/director Phil Lee presents an "unbiased investigative documentary on the US Health Care system, focusing on patients, doctors, and the bureaucracy surrounding it." (Indiegogo, ends Tuesday, January 15)
  • Resurface -- A romantic comedy by Tom Heard about two men who rescue each other from the isolation they have created for themselves and taking a second chance for love and happiness. (Kickstarter, ends January 5)
  • Transfusion -- A 90-minute documentary film composed of five short films by UT Austin PhD candidate Robert Lemon (Tacos or Tacos?) set in Columbus, Ohio about food, race, immigration and the exchange of life in unexpected places. "The shorts build upon one another to create dynamic contrasts between ethnic urban environments and transnational livelihoods." (Kickstarter, Saturday, January 12)
  • Amrita -- National Geographic Image Collection Photographer Greg Davis was commissioned to photograph Kumbh Mela, the largest migration in human history -- dating back to 500 B.C., with an estimated 70 million people involved. Along with filmmaker Scott Strickland (Thirty Six), Davis is making a documentary about the Kumbh Mela, to accompany his photographic exhibit as it travels the country. For the first time the 12-year Kumbh Mela will be captured on High Definition. Amrita is Hindi for "Nectar of the Gods," and the filmmakers' goal is "to educate parts of an unfamiliar Western world to Eastern philosophies, bringing back stunning imagery, the Kumbh Mela's history, origin, how the event changes the lives of those involved, along with perspectives from both western and eastern worlds." (Indiegogo, ends Monday, December 31)
  • Paper Bag -- This film project from University of Texas at Austin film student Crystal Zea focuses on a young teen who faces a life changing decision while dealing with the pressures of two overbearing opinionated mother figures. (Indiegogo, ends Wednesday, December 19)
  • Tears at Dawn -- "Featuring knife fighting and ice cream trucks," it's a high-energy action revenge thriller with fight choreography by local filmmaker Hector Gonzales. (Indiegogo, ends Monday, January 7)
  • The Dalliance -- Based on a true story, this short film hopes to challenges society’s common and mythical assumptions of death. (Indiegogo, ends Thursday, January 10)

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 with subject line "Ready, Set, Fund" if you've got a film fundraising project going on you'd like us to know about.