Ready Set Fund

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.

Ready, Set, Fund: Labor, Gourds, Retirees and Free Radicals


Photo Still The Gourds from ALL THE LABOR

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

It's only natural that talented acquaintances in the local music scene like Britt Daniel of Spoon or Ian Moore have achieved national recognition for their musical talent. Another success story is that of one of the hardest working bands I've ever known, The Gourds, comprised of Kevin Russell, Keith Langford, Max Johnston, Jimmy Smith and Claude Bernard. In addition to routinely playing at Shady Grove and Threadgill's South, or touring nationally, the Gourds also contributed music to a local short film, Mike Woolf's 2003 documentary Growin' a Beard.

The Gourds themselves are now the subject of All the Labor, a documentary currently funding through Monday, June 11, on Kickstarter. Filmmaker Doug Hawes-Davis is the founder of the annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula, Montana, where he initially met the band in 2001. The Gourds played Missoula nearly a dozen times in the last decade and Hawes-Davis attended every show, allowing him the opportunity to meet and convince the band to participate in a film documenting their story.

Mike Woolf is one of the cinematographers providing support in Austin on the film project. Another interesting local connection is that Hawes-Davis' nonprofit was the fiscal sponsor of Winter in the Blood, a new film by Alex and Andrew Smith (The Slaughter Rule) -- Alex teaches at UT while Andrew teaches at the University of Montana. Winter in the Blood had a successful Kickstarter campaign last year.

Find out about more local film-related crowdfunding efforts after the jump.

Ready, Set, Fund: A Force in Nature


Force of Nature still photo

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

While volunteering a few years ago at SCARE for a CURE, a local nonprofit interactive haunted adventure, I was impressed by the talent, dedication and enthusiasm brought to our team by students from The Art Institute of Austin (AI). The culmination of countless hours from initial concept to the final production of their art design, have contributed significantly to the continued success of SCARE.

Several of the AI students I befriended through the SCARE community project have taken on other creative endeavors, most notably AI's Eric Stewart and Anton Curley's documentary project, Nemesis Rising, which has followed local multimedia performance troupe The Intergalactic Nemesis on their national tour. Producer Stewart has another potential film project should it reach its funding goal, the documentary A Force In Nature (seen above), which is six years in the making and over 80% complete. AI instructor and filmmaker Hayden Yates is producing, directing, and has handled most of the cinematography which focuses on octogenarian Icelandic sculptor Jóhann Eyfells who set up his studio in Fredericksburg, Texas in 2003. The remaining filming will be done in Iceland in June with post-production in Austin including editing by Vishwanand Shetti and Ian Candler.

Find out more about other local film projects seeking funding -- including Jonny Mars' America's Parking Lot, which debuted at SXSW Film Festival last month -- after the jump:

Ready, Set, Fund: From Roky Erickson to Anthony Burgess


Two Headed Dog with Roky Erickson

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

With SXSW looming on the horizon to take over Austin for 11 days next month, it seems an appropriate time to feature crowdfunding for local film projects centered around music and performance. One such project, Two-Headed Dog, is seeking funding on IndieGoGo through February 22. This documentary centers around local rock legend Roky Erickson, who is about to embark on a tour for the first time ever through Australia and New Zealand with his son Jegar Erickson and his band. (Local film fans who like cable access might remember Jegar's Austin Movie Show, which ran 2004-2007.)

Local filmmaker Mike Mann, who premiered his short doc Brewed at SXSW 2011, has been invited to document Erickson's tour Down Under. However, Mann is in need of funds to cover his travel expenses as well as production costs at Erickson's live shows.

If you aren't familiar with Erickson's story, I highly recommend watching the powerfully moving 2005 documentary You're Gonna Miss Me, about Erickson's struggles with mental health, drug use and poverty as well as his underground success as a gifted psychedelic rock pioneer. Expect Two-Headed Dog to provide Erickson fans with insight into his progress dealing with his mental health issues and further establishing himself as a rock icon in Austin and beyond.

Check out more Austin film projects featuring local musicians and performers after the jump.

Ready, Set, Fund: Festival Time


Jump Cut Film Festival

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

The 2012 film festival season has officially kicked off with Sundance going strong and reports flowing in from local filmmakers making the rounds in Park City, Utah. Meanwhile, preparations for SXSW Film Festival in March are also going strong. New to the festival circuit this year is ATX: A Television Festival, organized by film and television industry professionals Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson. The pair are raising funds through February 21 for this nonprofit event through a Kickstarter project featuring levels that act as badge pre-sales. Funds raised will go towards programming and other needs.

Another local festival seeking funds is the Jump Cut Film Festival, which showcases works by student filmmakers along with Q&A panels with industry professionals who will help judge this year's competition. Funds raised through the IndieGoGo flexible fundraising campaign will cover this year's submissions fees as well as improvements for the festival, which takes place April 21.

Find out about more Austin film-related projects after the jump.

Ready, Set, Fund: Nemesis Rising


Heroes of Old Hickory Happy Vet

"Ready, Set, Fund," is a column 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.

This month marked the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces, and December 7 is recognized as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day to honor those who died during the attacks. The number of remaining World War II veterans who can recount their stories is dwindling, including American veterans from Texas.

Local filmmaker Lew Adams is racing against time to document one of the last unknown stories in the film project currently funding through Kickstarter, Heroes of Old Hickory. Adams is capturing the untold story of the 30th Infantry Division, featuring true accounts from American veterans -- seen above visiting one of the towns they liberated -- from San Antonio, Austin and other parts of Texas and the US as well as the Europeans they freed. The 30th Infantry Division was top-rated in the European theatre of operations in terms of overall combat operations and effectiveness. Despite being recommended for the Presidential Unit Citation by SL Marshal and General Eisenhower, the 30th Infantry Division never received their Presidential Unit Citation.

The goal of Heroes of Old Hickory is to ensure that the 30th Infantry Division veterans' story is told and that they are awarded their citation. Considering the men's ages (now in their late 80s and 90s) and the time required to complete the final scenes, screenwriting, music, narration, research, collecting the WWII footage, and complete the editing -- time is running out. The filmmakers are attempting to raise $360,000 by Sunday, January 22.

Check out more local movie projects in need of funding after the jump.

Ready, Set, Fund: Help Austin Cinematheque Relocate


Austin Cinematheque crew, courtesy of Daily Texan

"Ready, Set, Fund," is a column 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.

If you weren't in Austin in the late 80s or missed the Live Your Cinema! Austin Media Arts documentary that screened during the 2010 Austin Film Festival, then you may not know about the significance of Austin Media Arts. This cramped space above Quackenbush's Coffee Shop on the Drag was the first venue that Austin Film Society (AFS) actually owned and operated. Formerly a psychedelic ice cream parlor, Austin Media Arts was the screening room of AFS founder Richard Linklater and Lee Daniels as they projected eclectic and diverse films by Ingmar Bergman, Michael Snow, Stan Brakhage, Michelangelo Antonioni and Jean-Luc Godard for eager film fans.

Austin Media Arts is long gone, but its spirit and intent has carried on in younger generations of film enthusiasts who drew inspiration from repertory programs including the defunct CinemaTexas. The most well known is Austin Cinematheque, the only free, 35mm retrospective film series in town, founded in 2005 by three University of Texas Radio-Television-Film students. Since their first self-funded screening of François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows in the Texas Union Theatre, they have screened over 75 films from sixteen different countries spanning nine  decades.

Unfortunately, due to the upcoming remodeling scheduled at the Union Theatre, Austin Cinematheque will be temporarily homeless while working toward expanding their free repertory film series. Find out how you can help them and other film-related projects after the jump.

Ready, Set, Fund: From 'La Perdida' to 'The Wolfman'


La Perdida still photo

Austin filmmaker Miguel Alvarez caught the attention of local audiences with his short films in 2010: the science-fiction themed Mnemosyne Rising, which premiered at SXSW, and the biographical Veterans at Austin Film Festival -- check out my AFF 2010 review of Veterans. This year, Alvarez contributed to a segment of Slacker 2011 -- read Elizabeth Stoddard's interview with Alvarez and producer and former AFF Film Program Director Kelly Williams here. Alvarez is now undertaking his first feature film with La Perdida (pictured above), a re-imagining of the traditional Mexican folktale of La Llorona combined with the Greek myth of Cassandra, but set in the middle of the 21st century. Described by Alvarez as a "lo-fi sci-fi drama," this movie will explore the universal themes of loss and redemption combined with time travel.

Alvarez is currently seeking funding for pre-production expenses of La Perdida through the crowdfunding site United States Artists here. Funds raised will provide Alvarez with a six-week research and writing sabbatical in Mexico City, where the story takes place. Alvarez's goal of $6,500 by Friday, November 4, will help get the project off the ground by covering pre-production expenses. You can learn more about the project in this pitch video.

Kelly Williams is also producing Pit Stop, which is seeking funding from the community. Find out more about this and other interesting and deserving projects in need of donors after the jump.

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