Monday, December 5, 2016

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (2016)


Number Rolled: N/A
Movie Name/Year: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (2016)
Tagline: Live more. Laugh more. Eat more. Talk more. Gilmore.
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Length: First ep – 91 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Production Companies: Paragon Studios, Warner Bros. Television, Netlfix (Distributor)
Producer: Dylan K. Massin, Helen Pai, Daniel Palladino, Amy Sherman-Palladino
Director: Daniel Palladino, Amy Sherman-Palladino
Writer: Amy Sherman-Palladino, Daniel Palladino
Actors: Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson, Kelly Bishop, Rose Abdoo, Keiko Agena, Matt Czuchry, Yanic Truesdale, Frank Gallegos, Sean Gunn, Todd Lowe, Michael Winters, Ray Wise, Aris Alvarado, Sally Struthers, Liz Torres, Milo Ventimiglia, Liza Weil, Alex Kingston, John Cabrera, Jackie Hoffman, Alex Borstein, Danny Strong, Melissa McCarthy, Jared Padalecki, David Sutcliffe, Emily Kuroda, Jackson Douglas, Carole King, Grant Lee Phillips, Roy Choi, Chris Eigeman, Gregg Henry, Paul Anka, Rachel Ray

Blurb from Netflix: First ep – Fresh from a career high, Rory pays a visit to Stars Hollow. Emily copes with Richard’s death. The inn keeps Lorelai busy as she ponders her future.

Selina’s Point of View:
I cannot even describe the amount of love I have for the original Gilmore Girls (2000-2007) series. I spent countless hours binge watching it and I still watch reruns whenever I see them on TV. That last season though…

Ugh.

That’s why, when I heard they were making something new, I squeed.

I followed the creation of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, very closely. Working for my previous employer, I wrote numerous articles on what was going on: who was signing on to play who, who was returning, etc. It was my favorite series of articles that I got to write.

Knowing that all the actors playing Rory’s previous top three love interests were returning, I began to speculate about which one she would wind up with. I’m a hardcore Jess girl… and not just because I love Milo Ventimiglia (The Whispers, Heroes, Rocky Balboa). I have always felt his smart bad-boy persona perfectly complimented her slightly neurotic good-girl personality. I know plenty of people ship her with Logan or Dean… I just think they’re wrong.


Of course, I am the Jess in my relationship and my husband is the Rory… so I might be biased.

Moving on.

This four-part event was absolutely amazing. I was glued to the screen. The actors had NO problem jumping right back into the feel and story that accompanied the original series. It was like no time had passed at all. Sure, people looked a little older… but that was it.

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard there was a cliffhanger ending. I heard the same thing before I watched. I pretty much thought everyone was being over-dramatic and that when I got to the ending I would be able to go back and figure out whatever the answer was.

To be fair, I do think I know the answer to the cliffhanger… but it still caught me WAY off-guard.

We were told that this four-part event would give fans the ending they deserved. I truly believe the creators of the Gilmore Girls delivered in spades.

Even saying that, I want MORE. I’m sure this is the end now, but if they put out another one, I’d follow it just as closely as I followed this one.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was excited when they first announced that this mini-series was going to be created by Netflix. Their original content has thus far been absolutely spectacular. I love the fact that they’re willing to develop nostalgia projects as well as their newer material.  Did the success of Fuller House (2016-?) have something to do with this? Maybe, but who knows – I’m just glad for the chance to traipse through Stars Hollow again.

I do have a confession to make, though. I wasn’t a die-hard fan of this show. Before you grab the torches and pitchforks – in my defense, I have always liked it and enjoyed every episode that I watched… I just didn’t catch the majority of them.  Out of the 154 episodes occurring between 2000 and 2007, I probably caught a dozen or two (ish).

My exposure might have been small, but that tiny picturesque town in Connecticut left a lasting impression on me. I wish I’d seen more of the original series – and that’s something that I do intend to correct in the future.

It doesn’t matter what I’ve seen this cast in since then – I always associate them with their roles in this show first and foremost. Lauren Graham (Evan Almighty, Birds of America, Max), Alexis Bledel (Sin City, The Good Guy, Parts Per Billion), and Scott Patterson (Saw V, A Beer Tale, Other People's Children) will always be Lorelai, Rory, and Luke in that split second of recognition before I filter them into the new role I’m watching them in. I think that says a lot about the relatability of this show.


Milo Ventimiglia (Pathology, Chosen, This Is Us) and Jared Padalecki (Flight of the Phoenix, House of Wax, Phantom Boy) are the exceptions to this. I associate them more with later iconic roles. I wanted a lot more of both of them in this story arc. I was, however, pleased with the time we did get to spend with them. They are busy men, and their schedules likely played a factor.

Watching the town characters of Stars Hollow with all their quirkiness felt like being wrapped in a warm comforting blanket. I loved the funny situations as much as the maudlin ones. I laughed and cried and palmed my forehead.

Even though he passed in 2014, Edward Herrmann (Factory Girl, The Good Wife, The Town That Dreaded Sundown) was still very much a part of this reunion project. I loved the way they respectfully wove his absence into the story – his presence permeates the entire story arc.

When the 4 episode run of this mini-series ended, I wanted more.

I’m pretty sure that I uttered the same aghast exclamation that many did when it ended.  (Shortly before I wondered where a good chunk of my day had gone, since the episodes are an hour and a half long, each.)

This just wasn’t enough. I am hoping that the cosmos can come together for Netflix to put together a second season. Seriously.

Netflix, get on it!

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 77%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

Movie Trailer:




Sunday, December 4, 2016

This Week in Crowdfunding (12/4)

By: Selina

 

This Week In Crowdfunding is a column dedicated to new projects that need help from the public in order to reach their goal.

We here at Trust the Dice love to support indie creations.

The list of popular, mainstream, films that began labeled ‘indie’ is staggering. So before you start picturing a black and white short film of a naked clown smoking a cigarette and flipping pancakes off a bulldog’s back, remember that some of your favorite films may very well have started out as indie.

Some indie films you may have heard of include: Pulp Fiction (1994), Clerks (1994), Requiem for a Dream (2000), Memento (2000), and The Terminator (1984). Keep in mind, that’s a very short list. A comprehensive list of indie movies that have been essential to shaping the entertainment world would be too long for anyone to want to read.

Hollywood doesn’t prefer to take risks and, as much as artists don’t like to admit it, creativity is risky. That’s the reason we see so many familiar tropes used over and over again. It’s safe. It makes money. However, some of the best films in history have become legendary because they took the risky route and shunned the tropes their genres are known for.

Indie films are a breeding ground for risky creativity.

In this column, you’ll find ten of the best projects Trust the Dice found hosted on crowdfunding sights this week. These are Films/Web Series’/Shows of varying lengths and genres that we believe in. If you like any of the projects you see here, donate to them, tell your friends, and/or post their information on social media.

These projects don’t just need money, they need people to care and spread the word that they exist.

Support creativity. Support indie artists.

Remember that every actor, director, writer, and movie you have ever fallen in love with had to start somewhere.

Trust the Dice does not, and will not, accept payment from project creators for 
appearance on this list. Projects are chosen solely on the merit of the idea,
proposal, and people involved.




10 – Silver Moon


Crowdsource Platform: INDIEGOGO
Director: Elias Benavidez
Writer: Elias Benavidez
Other Staff: Allison Vanore (Producer), Dylan Jury (Casting Director), Justin Martinez (VFX Supervisor), Hamdija Ajanovic (Composer)
Amount Requested: $11,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $688 raised by 14 backers
Type of Goal: Flexible (This campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal.)
Link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/silver-moon-a-short-film#/

When film makers delve into dementia, they enter into a realm of reality that’s so harsh that it’s almost always a harrowing experience. In this case, Elias Benavidez (April’s Last, A Boy’s Life, A Note to Etienne), the writer/director of Silver Moon, actually watched his grandmother deteriorate due to the disease. In his introduction video, he credits that experience as the inspiration for this short film.

Benavidez has outlined an in depth proposal for the funds he receives from backers for this film, with stretch goals that include improved equipment, song licensing and compensating volunteers for their time. He has also expressed desires to take the completed film to festivals.

Any proceeds Silver Moon garners will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Between the intense heart of this film and the generosity of those working on it, this is not just a film we believe might work out, but one we genuinely hope succeeds.

EDIT -

I was able to speak to writer/director Elias Benavidez today (12/6). I asked him if there was anything he might want people to know about his project that wasn't on his Indiegogo page.

"Much of the inspiration is already on the page, but dementia care has impacted me even prior to losing my grandma. My high school job was working in a dining hall at a retirement home and I gained great friendships with the residents (many of whom had dementia).
 "Many of us went to the University of Arizona together and we wanted to collaborate on a project that can honor those who've been impacted by Alzheimer's or dementia (which is why we want this film to support the Alzheimer's Association).
 "On a creative note, I love movies that tackle this issue. Movies like Away From Her (2006) and Still Alice (2014) -- and I wanted to create a project that honors those themes while infusing genre and heightened surrealism, staying true to my personal aesthetic."


Had I gotten to speak to Benavidez before finalizing this list, his project would have been listed higher up. When a writer/director touches on something as serious as Alzheimer's Disease, passion is absolutely everything. 

Obviously, that passion is present here. That is going to shine through in the finished product.

Lowest Fund Reward: $10 – Neptune – You are now a part of our intergalactic team! As such, you will receive periodic updates about the fundraising and the film production itself. To infinity…! (Anywhere in the world)
Highest Fund Reward: $1,000 – Sun – You’re the center of this film’s solar system! In recognition, you are listed in the film credits as CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER for helping bring SILVER MOON to LIFE! Also, YOU’RE INVITED TO THE SET WHEN WE ARE SHOOTING (Los Angeles)! A VIP invite to the premiere screening, plus downloads (movie and music) and shoutouts! PLUS you’ll have a STAR adopted on your behalf, a TREE planted in your honor, AND ADMISSION FOR 2 TO VISIT THE SPACE SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR and the IMAX film JOURNEY TO SPACE! (Anywhere in the world)

9 – Barren


Crowdsource Platform: KICKSTARTER
Director: Sarah Hickey
Writer: Sarah Hickey
Other Staff: Jessica Pearce (Producer), Josh Mitchell Frey (Director of Photography), Jasmine Jakulpi (Production Designer), Luke Bicevskis (VFX Supervisor), Phillip Klimek (Composer), Lachlan Harris (Sound Designer), Vanessa Crouch (Cast), Tom Beaurepaire (Cast), William Whyte (Cast), Verity Higgins (Cast),
Amount Requested: $11,191
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $815 raised by 25 backers.
Type of Goal: All or Nothing (This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by the deadline)
Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/855098413/barren?ref=category_newest

This short film is a very emotional drama based on the true story of one woman seeking to escape a significant loss.

In reality, Sarah Hickey (Communion Day, Waiting on Sound, The Mole), writer/director of Barren, lost someone very near and dear to her heart. As a way to deal with her grief, she carried a stuffed animal belonging to that person on a nearly 500 mile walk from Melbourne to Adelaide in Australia. It took her a grand total of 31 days.

The story is easy to relate to, heartbreaking, and inspiring. In short, it’s the perfect subject for a crowdfunded campaign. Furthermore, production has already started on this film. That means, one way or the other, this short film will be made.

The people involved in this film will be putting their funds toward the last days of filming and post-production. It will cover things like music composition, VFX, and editing.

Lowest Fund Reward: $0.75 ($1AU) – SHUFFLE – walk without lifing the feet – Thank you for joining us on a little shuffle - every dollar counts! We appreciate your company and that you’re being a part of the film. We will make sure we give you a big THANK YOU and shout it to the mountains on our social media channels! (Only Australia)
Highest Fund Reward: $5,966.40 ($8000AU) – A JOURNEY – from one place to another – If you pledge $8000AU or more, it’s safe to say you’ve made the full journey with us. And we want to hear all about it! Come join us for a THREE-COURSE DINNER with the Director and Producer to hear all about the story of the film (Travel not included). And for your next journey, we are giving you a OSPREY AURA 50L backpack (the same one Sarah used on her walk!) You also receive: Associate Producer Credit, Coffee Table Book, Cast and Crew screening tickets, T-SHIRT A3 Poster Signed by the Director, Cap, Waterbottle, Enamel Camping Mug, 5 Pack of BARREN Postcards, exclusive access to the full Behind the Scenes Diaries including the Making of and Sarah’s video diaries from the original walk and a big THANK YOU and SHOUT OUT on our social media channels. (Anywhere in the world)

8 – Balloons: The Movie


Crowdsource Platform: INDIEGOGO
Director: Jeremy Weiss
Writer: Jeremy Weiss
Other Staff: Unknown
Amount Requested: $40,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $2,140 raised by 13 backers.
Type of Goal: Fixed (This campaign will only receive funds if amount requested is raised by deadline)
Link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/balloons-the-movie-animals#/

I was absolutely charmed by the introduction video on the Indiegogo page for Balloons: The Movie.

This is another film based on a true story, but there’s a slight change of pace. Jeremy Weiss is not telling a drama or documentary-based story, he’s introducing his project as a comedy. The story is based on his one embarrassing day as a balloon salesman.

Judging from the video, I’m sure we’ll be able to expect some physical comedy along with the cringe-based stuff.

We all know cringe isn’t really my thing. I have a very low threshold for tolerating embarrassing scenes, but with the proper balance of cringe, relate-ability, and physical comedy… it becomes something much better.

This film creator is another that has his eyes set on putting good into the world. All leftover proceeds from what he raises will be donated to the Lange Foundation – an animal rescue.

Lowest Fund Reward: $20 – A Special Thank you! – A special thank you for your contribution! You’ll get a special thank you shout out on social media! Items included: A Special Thank You!
Highest Fund Reward: $25,000 – Executive Producer – Holy cow! What an incredible donation! For this one you’ll be an Executive Producer of Balloons. You’ll have your name in the opening credits of the movie. Plus all of the Friends of Lange perks. You’ll also receive the official T-Shirt, poster, and digital copy of the movie. Items included: Executive Producer Credit, Friends of Lange.

7 – Dying: 101


Crowdsource Platform: INDIEGOGO
Director: Unknown
Writer: Larry Clarke
Other Staff: (All cast members listed are possible, not necessarily confirmed) Leslie Ann Warren, Brian Dennehy, Mike O’Malley, Sam Trammel, Kate Walsh, JK Simmons, Billy Gardel, Chris Bauer, David Koechner, Jeffery Donovan
Amount Requested: $200,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $7,791 raised by 45 backers.
Type of Goal: Flexible (This campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal.)
Link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dying-101-a-new-film-by-larry-clarke-independent#/

This is another film inspired by the death of the writer’s loved one. The difference between the previously mentioned film and this one is the method of storytelling. In this case, the writer, Larry Clarke (Road Hard, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Contagion), has decided to tell the story inspired by his father’s passing through the use of dark comedy.

He’s described the film as a mix of Garden State (2004), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Happiness (1998), and Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995). He says it’s told in the flashback style of a Charlie Kaufman (The Edge, Being John Malkovich, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) movie with a Todd Solondz (Storytelling, Dark Horse, Palindromes) tone.

That’s a mouthful right there and Clarke seems to be raising expectations incredibly high. Of course, with a requested budget of $200k, those expectations were already pretty up there.

With many crowdfunded films, investors are taking a risk on new talent. However, Clarke is backing up his project with established and respected cast members. Many of the people speaking on his behalf in the introductory video are well-know, if not household name, actors.

Clarke did shop his film around, and there were no mainstream takers. I urge you not to put too much stock in that fact. As I mentioned above, Hollywood doesn’t like too much creativity.

They forget the audience does.

Lowest Fund Reward: $10 – Honorary Club 101 – You have full access to the Dying 101 website including my director’s video diary all through production. Items included: Website Access/Film Diary.
Highest Fund Reward (1): $5,000 – CoProducer Perk – We will have you as a part of the team. Screen credit as a Co-Producer with carte blanche access to production. Our producers will include you in all pre-production correspondence. VIP access to all events. In short, you will be our best friend forever. Items Included: Co-Producer Credit.
Highest Fund Reward (2): $5,000 – Walk On Part – You will have a walk on part in one scene. You will have a line. I guarantee you will be in the movie. You, of course, will be listed with the cast. You also get all VIP perks. Items included: Walk On Part with lines.

6 – HELLo tHERE


Crowdsource Platform: INDIEGOGO
Director: Ashley Eberbach
Writer: Dylan Wayne Lawrence (also cast)
Other Staff: Sing Howe Yam (Director of Photography), Reid Waterer (Producer), David T. Woodruff (FX Artist), Marianna Von Fedak (Concept Artist), Tamika Katon Donegal (Cast), Jessica Joan (Cast)
Amount Requested: $30,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $1,375 raised by 6 backers
Type of Goal: Flexible (This campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal.)
Link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/hello-there-a-psychological-thriller-film-lgbt#/

This is one of the important films I found this week.

Aside from a very eye catching introduction video, this film has an incredible message. The plot of a character seeing demons that may or may not be real is not exactly unheard of. However, HELLo tHERE is not just a random ghost story. There is a really purpose behind the demons they use.

This psychological thriller is based around the trauma caused by inequality, racism, and homophobia.

More and more often I find myself seeing people argue that the aforementioned issues are really not a big deal anymore. They don’t see the hate, so it obviously isn’t there, right?

Every person walks a different path and, for many people, that path is lined with thorn-bearing bushes. They can get to their goal, but only after cutting themselves to bits on other people’s hate.

Inequality, racism, and homophobia are diseases that can only be cured by reversing ignorance. The only way to do that is to flood the world with information that combats the lies that cause such hate. Sometimes, that information is easier to swallow when it’s in the form of some manner of entertainment. In this case, you get a badass thriller that helps provoke some thought when it’s over.

Ok, I’ll admit, the title of the film is… rough, but I’ve been clear about this in the past: You cannot judge a film/TV show/web series by its name. After all Reservoir Dogs (1992) is a phenomenal film, yet people have been arguing over the terrible name since it came out.

Lowest Fund Reward: $10 – RUN, IT’S GONNA GET YOU! – Although we appreciate your donation, it wasn’t enough to escape the monster’s grasp. Rest assured it was a quick demise, but it’s hungry for more! Items Included: Special Thanks in Film Credits, Shout-out on Social Media.
Highest Fund Reward: $101 – CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON – Any donation over $100 (even by $1) earns you an Executive Producer credit in the film. Your name will be seen worldwide as a key player in the next iconic horror film! Items Included: Special Thanks in Film Credits, Digital Poster Download, Stream the Film for Free, VIDEO Shout-out on Social Media, HD Digital Download of Film, Behind the Scenes Footage, Executive Producer Credit.

5 – Artemis One


Crowdsource Platform: INDIEGOGO
Director: Brendan O’Toole
Writer: Brendan O’Toole
Other Staff: Unknown
Amount Requested: $10,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $159 raised by 4 backers
Type of Goal: Flexible (This campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal.)
Link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/artemis-one-feature-film-initial-funding#/

Artemis One is a science-fiction film about two women going on a road trip with the intent to steal a space ship in order to test an invention one of them created. The creator describes his vision as a mix of Thelma & Louise (1991) and Interstellar (2014).

The plot seems interesting enough, but that’s not what drew me to this project.

What drew me in was the sheer level of passion this creator has for film and space. The introduction video on the Indiegogo page is simple. Much simpler than the majority of the other videos that accompany the projects on this list, but the monologue of the creator was so impassioned that it MADE me care in a way that most of the projects I came across simply didn’t.

When it comes to crowdfunding and creative enterprise there is nothing more important than passion. Passion for the art and passion for the subject matter are equally important. Brendan O’Toole has both in spades.

I truly believe that, given the funding, O’Toole will be able to make a film that accurately portrays his heightened level of devotion to the subject and its vehicle.

Lowest Fund Reward: $1 – Thank You! – I get it. You want to support us, but you don’t have much to give. We thank you for your support. Every dollar helps. Items Included: Our Thanks.
Highest Fund Reward: $1,000,000 – Holy Crap!!! – Seriously, if you’ve got this much to give, just contact us and we’ll work something awesome out for you. Items Included: Movie Download, Have a Hoody, Signed Script, This will look good on a wall, Come Visit the Set, Post Production Visit, Executive Producer.

4 – Slingshot Prince


Crowdsource Platform: INDIEGOGO
Director: Sixin (Dandelion) Lin
Writer: Sixin (Dandelion) Lin
Other Staff: Jana Sue Memel (Executive Producer), Khoi Ly (Director Photography)
Amount Requested: $25,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $1,445 raised by 11 backers.
Type of Goal: Flexible (This campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal.)
Link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/slingshot-prince-a-short-about-bullying-feminism#/

This film shines a significant light on the topic of bullying.

Bullying is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. From elementary school until I grew so angry that I developed a violent streak in High School, I was bullied mercilessly.

I was an absolute magnet for bullies. I was a poor, fat, book-wormy, role-player girl. I had no father, wore glasses, and was confused about my sexuality. To top it off, in order to try to tolerate my own loneliness, I turned to lying in order to make myself look better. Literally any quality that could trigger a bully to get cruel, people would find in me.

I was a one-stop victim shop.

Although Slingshot Prince seems to focus mostly on bullying triggered by homosexual/transgendered people, it still pokes at a subject that absolutely NEEDS to be poked at.

A friend of mine killed himself when I was thirteen. After high school, I started a group to help bullied children. When one of the kids coming to the meetings walked off a building, I found it absolutely impossible to continue.

It screwed me up for a long time.

Bullying is a HUGE problem. It inspires suicide, school shootings, violence… at some point people need to stop pointing fingers and start really looking for the source of the problem.

I had the absolute pleasure of talking to the writer/director of this film, Dandelion Lin (Bifrost, 6915 Miles, The Screenwriter in the Restroom).

I asked Lin if there was anything the Slingshot Prince team would want to tell people about their project that wasn’t already on the Indiegogo page.

“We hope more people can accept people who are different,” Lin said. “…I used 26 years to identify and accept my gender. I want other kids don't need to feel less and shame about themselves, they can dress whatever they like, and be themselves. No one should take so long to accept themselves.”

The story of Slingshot Prince is about a tomboy girl in 1995 living in the south of China. The film explores the bullying she experiences from her classmates due to her apparent sexuality. The story twists into one of revenge, but that does not cheapen the meaning behind it all.

Children are being hurt every day because people can’t handle what is not like them. Projects like this one could make more of a difference than people realize.

Lowest Fund Reward: $5 – STAND UP AND SHOUT! – Thank you so much for standing up and being with us! There will be a big THANK YOU note for you on our social media and website. Please share our site on social media and shout with us “People who are different deserve to be treated equally!” Items Included: THANK YOU Note on Social Media.
Highest Fund Reward: $2,500 – CO-PRODUCER CREDIT – We sincerely appreciate for your contribution! Your altruistic support will receive everything above. Plus, as our Co-producer, your name will be showed on the end credit of this film as well as on IMDb. You will get THE PRINCE’S SLINGSHOT which hands crafted by our director. Moreover, you will get FOUR PREMIERE TICKETS as our BIG STAR! Items Included: THANK YOU Note on Social Media, Collectible Movie Poster, Digital Documentary Film, FOUR Premiere Tickets, Prince’s Slingshot, Co-Producer Credit, Printed Storyboard Book, Printed Behind the Scenes Book, Slingshot Prince DVD.

3 – Don’t Kill It


Crowdsource Platform: INDIEGOGO
Director: Mike Mendez
Writer: Unknown – Script was delivered to Mendez by Robert Yocum according to an interview he gave Movie in Focus
Other Staff: Scott Martin, Michael Slifkin, Heather Brawley, Alex Scott-Webster, Dolph Lundgren, Kristina Klebe
Amount Requested: $100,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $2,483 raised by 28 backers
Type of Goal: Flexible (This campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal.)
Link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/don-t-kill-it-see-dolph-lundgren-as-a-demon-hunter-movie-horror#/

As a reader of this blog, the name “Mike Mendez” (Lavalantula, Big Ass Spider!, The Convent) should ring a bell. Mendez is one of those underestimated directors that can turn a minor horror idea into a phenomenally memorable B-Flick. The last film of his that we’ve mentioned on the blog was The Last Heist (2016) starring Henry Rollins (Con Man, He Never Died, The Legend of Korra).

Any creator that’s smart enough to want to work with the great Henry Rollins will always get my attention.

In this case, we have an entire Indiegogo page filled with that awesome cheesy horror/action/comedy stuff that all of us at Trust the Dice just love. Especially when you add in the part of the main character, played by Dolph Lundgren (Shark Lake, The Expendables 3, Army of One).

The last film we reviewed with Lundgren in it, didn’t quite thrill us. Then again, Kindergarten Cop 2 (2016) was poorly handled. Marketing it as a sequel when it was actually a reboot was the movie industry insulting our intelligence.

In Don’t Kill It, Lundgren plays a demon hunter in Mississippi. He works with an FBI agent, played by Kristina Klebe (The Last Heist, Slay Belles, Free Fall), to figure out how to kill the demon they are tracking through a series of deaths.

The Indiegogo site is very clear with nearly everything you need to know about this film, but I was able ask the producer, Scott Martin (Time Rush, A Fighting Man, Battle Force), a couple of questions, so I thought I might be able to get him to expand on the plot and the demon used within it.

Trust the Dice: Many of our readers tend to find interest in where the ideas for projects come from. Were the demons utilized in the film unique creations or were they taken from various legends/religions and adapted for your needs?
Scott Martin: This is a single demon and it is entirely unique. How it changes bodies, if you kill the demon, it jumps into your body and becomes you. Then someone kills you and the demon jumps into their body. This obviously makes it very difficult to stop, and creates opportunity for lots of Mayhem.

Trust the Dice: Was there a specific inspiration for the storyline in general? 
Scott Martin: We wanted to take the familiar demon in a small town story and add a big twist too it. It’s also fun to have Dolph be the one trying to stop the Mayhem, when in most of his movies, he’s the one driving it.

Trust the Dice: Also, would you classify this film as straight horror, horror/action, horror/comedy, or another genre altogether?
Scott Martin: It is definitely not a straight horror movie. We would classify it as horror/action/comedy. There is a lot of fun moments and Dolph is very funny in DON’T KILL IT. People are going to really enjoy his performance. We haven’t seen him like this before.

When it comes down to it, this project has the potential to become a great finished film.

Lowest Fund Reward: $5 – THANK YOU – You are awesome! Our team will send you a digital “Thank You” for your support! Items Included: THANK YOU.
Highest Fund Reward: $10,000 – Executive Producer – Be an Executive Producer on “Don’t Kill It”! Receive Screen Credit and IMDB Credit as an Executive Producer. Also receive our team’s “Thank You”, the exclusive Sticker, a Digital Download & DVD of the film, the exclusive T-Shirt AND Hoodie, lunch w/ the Producers and Distributors, and the Screenplay signed by Mike Mendez and Dolph Lundgren. Items Included: THANK YOU, EXCLUSIVE DON’T KILL IT STICKER, DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, DVD, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, EXCLUSIVE DON’T KILL IT HOODIE, EXCLUSIVE DON’T KILL IT TSHIRT, LUNCH W/ DISTRIBUTORS & PRODUCERS, SCREENPLAY SIGNED: DOLPH & MENDEZ.

2 – Transhuman: A Documentary

  
Crowdsource Platform: INDIEGOGO
Director: Ford Fischer
Writer: N/A
Other Staff: Alejandro Alvarez (Outreach Producer), Zoltan Istvan (Advisor), Mike Ricciardi (Research Assistant), Emily Bank (Production Assisstant)
Amount Requested: $20,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $250 raised by 1 backer
Type of Goal: Flexible (This campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal.)
Link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/transhuman-a-documentary-news-film#/

We don’t do many documentaries on Trust the Dice for one simple reason.

They’re boring.

Ok, not all of them. You take an interesting subject and give it to someone with a new perspective on it, and you have something very much worth watching. That’s the reason we don’t completely rule out the genre.

For a documentary to not only be chosen for a Top 10 on this site, but to be placed as high as second, you know there’s some substance behind it that makes it intensely interesting.

I had never heard of transhumanism before.

That statement alone probably doesn’t mean much, I’m sure there’s a ton of stuff I’ve never heard of. However, I questioned a great deal of people out-and-about on Friday. Only two out of fifty knew what transhumanism was… and I’m fairly certain one of them was lying.

For me, technology is life. Everything I do is based around my computer, my phone or my gaming consoles. I work with technology, all my hobbies involve technology… there’s never a moment when I don’t have a complex machine touching my hand or my lap. Even when I sleep my phone is mere inches from my head. And my husband is even more of a technophile.

Transhumanism seems to be the next step in that evolution.

According to the Indiegogo page, transhumanism is all about using technology to enhance humanity in ways that are beyond what we currently understand to be possible. The final goal of transhumanism seems to be using technology to overcome death completely.

Due to the fact that no one involved with Trust the Dice knew absolutely anything about transhumanism, we were thrilled to hear back from the director, Ford Fischer.

I asked Fischer what triggered his interest in transhumanism.

“…I actually heard about Zoltan Istvan's Transhumanist Party Presidential run,” he explained. “I contacted him and did an interview … I ended up becoming very interested in the topic and watched several news stories about it and read Zoltan's book, Transhumanist Wager. Before announcing the film, he also agreed to participate as an advisor and be interviewed for it.”

What that means is that this all started with a politician that had the future in mind (shocking, I know). It’s not uncommon for a documentary film to take something small, like an unknown politician running for president, and turn it into something worth learning about.

This is exactly the kind of documentary Trust the Dice is willing and happy to support.

This will be the first full-length documentary that Fischer directs, but he’s hardly a newbie to the genre. Three years ago, he co-founded News2Share – an online news source. He has an eye for intriguing truths.

“I’m up to the challenge and believe the topic is perfectly suited for a successful film,” he said. “Transhumanism is a relatively fringe philosophy right now, but I anticipate it emerging and shaping our future both socially and politically.”

I can’t claim to know what will happen in the future, but I do know that technology seems to be leaning toward taking over the world… and that make Transhumanism a fascinating subject.

Lowest Fund Reward: $5 – The Mention – We will thank you by name on Facebook or Twitter, and include you in a list of backer on our donor website.
Highest Fund Reward: $2,500 – Executive Producer – You will be granted exclusive access to the film in progress and be able to give feedback to help shape the film, and all perks above. We will also include your name in marketing materials such as posters, trailers, etc. Included: Social media shout-out, Inclusion on online donor list, Digital copy of the film, DVD copy of the film, Signed poster, “Executive Producer” in film credits, “Executive Producer” on IMDB, Inclusion in meetings with film producers, Thank you video.

1 – The Lyosacks Movie


Crowdsource Platform: INDIEGOGO
Director: Alvaro Calmet
Writer: Alvaro Calmet
Other Staff: N/A
Amount Requested: $3,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $490
Type of Goal: Flexible (This campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal.)
Link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-lyosacks-movie-movies#/

I have always been and will always be a big fan and supporter of YouTubers.

Alvaro Calmet began posting the Lyosacks series on YouTube in 2010. Like many, his channel started slow. Sure, he doesn’t post as often as some of the really big names out there, but he does post regularly and his Lyosacks series is adorably hilarious.

I’ll be honest, I had never heard of the series when I first came across this project on Indiegogo. My initial interest in the film stemmed solely from the fact that it was based off a YouTube series.

I have a mild obsession with YouTube. Well, more than mild. I’ve actually been working on getting my own channel up and running.

On this blog, we’ve seen some interesting projects that were created by YouTubers. Riley Rewind (2013), SMOSH: the Movie (2015), Video Game High School (2012), etc. We seem to always enjoy these kind of projects. I have a theory that the quality is better because the sheer amount of passion and dedication necessary for a YouTuber to stand out among the rest and force their work into existence is staggering. Especially since YouTubers never start off getting paid for their work.

It’s a labor of love.

The audience can always tell when extra effort has been put into a project and it DOES pay off.

In the case of the Lyosacks Movie you have Alvaro Calmet, a YouTuber that animates and writes his series alone. The only reason he intends to work with anyone for this film is because he needs voice actors.

The film is about three friends trying to save the world. From what? Well… everything. The movie will involve everything from zombies to ninjas to aliens. It’s sure to be crazy fun.

Not only that, but Calmet has stated that, although it helps to be a fan of the series beforehand, the story works just fine as a stand-alone film for people unfamiliar with his previous work.

When I asked Calmet what he might want to tell people about his project/channel, he explained that he wanted people to understand that everyone has a chance to make their projects and dreams become a reality if they put their minds to it and exert as much effort as possible.

I urge you to take a look at Calmet’s channel. Watch a few Lyosacks episodes. After an hour, you’ll see exactly why this project landed our number one spot this week.

Lowest Fund Reward: $5 – THANK YOU POSTCARD! – Thanks for pledging $5! Everything helps to reach our goal! As a token of our gratitude, we would send you a postcard! This includes a pictures of the Lysacks world and a phrase thanking you by name.

Highest Fund Reward: $100 – PRODUCER ACCESS! - $100! You’re now officially a producer of the movie! Of course, this comes with its own privileges: You get access to a closed Facebook group with the voice actors where I’ll be updating the movie as it progresses and discuss it! This means YOU’LL BE WATCHING THE MOVIE AS IT’S BEING MADE all the way to the release date, and be able to help improve it! You’d also get ALL the Lyosacks music from the show and movie! Finally, your name would also be in a special category in the credits.