Saturday, October 28, 2017

But I Digress...Did Lightning Strike Twice? A Stranger Sequel

By Cat

Series Name/Year: Stranger Things (2016-)
Tagline: The world is turning upside down
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Length: Season 2, 9 Episodes (Renewed for a Season 3), Run-time range of 45-61 min. per episode
Rating: TV-14
Production Companies: 21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre, Netflix
Producers: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer, Shawn Levy, Rand Geiger, Iain Paterson, Dan Cohen, Justin Doble, Brian Wright, Cindy Holland, Matthew Thunell, Andrea Montana Knoll, Emily Morris
Directors: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer, Shawn Levy, Andrew Stanton, Rebecca Thomas
Writers: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer, Justin Doble, Jessica Mecklenburg, Jessie Nickson-Lopez
Actors: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Joe Keery, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Dacre Montgomery, Paul Reiser, Sean Astin, Kai Greene, Stefanie Butler, Anna Jacoby-Heron, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gabrielle Maiden, James Landry Hébert, Amy Seimetz, Matthew Cardarople, Chris Sullivan, Linnea Berthelsen
Stunts: Lonnie R. Smith Jr., Jason Charles Hill, Kathryn Howard, Cal Johnson, Max Calder, Anderson Martin, JoJo Lambert, JoAnn Bernat, Reece Fleetwood, Andy Rusk, Philip Dido, Jason Kehler, Fernando Campos, Scott Hunter, Michael R. Long, Kevin Dyer, Adam Horwitz, Jasi Cotton Lanier, Danya Bateman, Chelsea Bruland, Jwaundace Candece, Laurence Chavez, Jeremy Conner, Alex Duke, John Gilbert, Crystal Hooks, Nick Stanner, Ashley Rae Trisler 
For Season One Info Click Here.

Official Season 2 Synopsis: It’s 1984 and the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana are still reeling from the horrors of the demagorgon and the secrets of Hawkins Lab. Will Byers has been rescued from the Upside Down but a bigger, sinister entity still threatens those who survived.

If you caught my last Digression focused on the first season of this breakout Netflix series, you’ll know just how much of a squee-fest watching those first 8 episodes was for me. I adored every second of it. Excited seems a paltry word to describe my anticipation for the next season; and yet, I’ve also been a bit apprehensive.

Could the showrunners capture lightning in a bottle a second time? Would the second installment of the series have the same feel? How would the next season differ and elevate the story?
So many sequels have dreams of being bigger and better, only to fall flat. I know I’ve not been alone in my wish for this show to avoid that pitfall.

Well, Stranger Things fans, I have good news for you. The Duffer Brothers (We All Fall Down, Hidden, Wayward Pines) didn’t disappoint. Once again, I felt like I was watching a movie extended over several installments. Netflix’s new feature to skip intros and credits only makes it that much easier for a fairly seamless viewing session. While my personal time constraints didn’t allow me to binge all 9 episodes at once, I did manage to watch the series in 2 sittings of half and half. If I’d had the time, I could have easily watched the whole thing without skipping a beat. 

FINALLY we find out what happened to the kids of Hawkins – including the adorable and tough heroine, Eleven. 

When we were told that this second season would be darker, they weren’t kidding. This new facet of the saga is more thriller and horror movie and less mystery than the first season. The creature feature element is still strong, but I love how human elements are just as prevalently woven into the story. Conflict and self-discovery drive the stories of the central characters, shining light on their flaws as much as their strengths. There’s some real growth for The Party and those close to them as they take on the journey of this season’s questing.

The show also kept to its core of relying on practical effects as much as possible. I loved the rich nuances that brought to the story. It helped keep events more visceral and feeling real than if it had all been green-screened in. Of course, the show is definitely not devoid of CGI effects, but they’re skillfully layered in so that you almost forget that’s what you’re watching. My pulse was actually racing at a few points. 

The 1980’s nostalgia is still very strong, and pulls from so many aspects of pop culture and a wide variety of movies from the era. One of the new characters reminded me of the guys in The Lost Boys (1987) – stylistically, at least. It might be on purpose, given the character’s name was Billy, played by Dacre Montgomery (Better Watch Out, A Few Less Men, Power Rangers). (I was also drooling over that character’s car. Yes. The car.)

The new cast members flowed seamlessly into the story – from Sadie Sink’s (American Odyssey, Chuck, The Glass Castle) ‘new girl’ to Sean Astin’s (The Strain, The Do-Over, Swing State) Bob ‘the brain’ Newby. From a meta-level, I think it’s absolutely amazing that 80’s movie royalty took part in this experience. Astin played the leader of the Goonies (1985), after all. 

I have even better news for fans of the series. Netflix has already confirmed a third season, according to an interview with the Duffer brothers by Vulture.  They had more to say on the topic of the continuing story.
“We’re thinking it will be a four-season thing and then out,” says Ross. By then, the original band of adorable preteens will be ready for college. “We just have to keep adjusting the story,” says Matt. “Though I don’t know if we can justify something bad happening to them once a year.”
“They’re going to have to get the fuck out of this town!” says Ross. “It’s ridiculous!”

Matt and Ross Duffer with Director Shawn Levy from Entertainment Weekly Article

Aside from the knowledge that the story will definitely continue, at least a little while longer, there’s also a new after-show much along the lines of what Talking Dead (2011-) does for The Walking Dead (2010-) franchise. This show is called Beyond Stranger Things (2017-). It’s not exactly the same format as the other show, as it doesn’t have a live studio audience, but it does bring cast members and production staff together to discuss the happenings of the series and give some inside info as well as behind the scenes goodies. For example, the first episode showed the auditions of the kids that play the main characters in the series. Everyone sits around a table set up like a D&D game is afoot.

It’s understandable why the format is different. Given the fact that the series is dropped a season at a time on the streaming platform, live Q&A with audience members isn’t exactly practical or even feasible. Just keep in mind that this after-show is one giant spoiler-fest, so don’t watch it until AFTER you’ve seen both seasons of the show. If you’re binge-watching the second season, Netflix auto-starts this bonus series immediately after episode 9.

While it’s too early to tell what the next season will bring to the residents of Hawkins, I have some hopes for the show that I can keep my fingers crossed for. Time will tell. In the meantime, definitely check out this new chapter in this sensational story.

For a little lagniappe (something extra), click here to find IMDb's installment of their "No Small Parts" series, featuring the young actors from Stranger Things.

Speech Available: English, Spanish, German, Italian, French
Subtitles Available: English [CC], French, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese

But I Digress... is a weekly column for that can't be pinned down to just one thing. It's our celebration of tangents, random references, and general fan geekdom that both intertwines with, revolves around, and diverges from our movie-review core. In homage to the beloved Brit comedians, we want to bring you something completely different!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Naked Among Wolves (2015) - Foreign Film Friday

Number Rolled: 56
Movie Name/Year: Naked Among Wolves (2015)
Tagline: None
Genre: Drama, History, War
Length: 101 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: UFA Fiction
Producer: Benjamin Benedict, Jana Brandt, Tim Greve, Nico Hofmann, Verena Monben, Korinna Roters, Christine Strobl, Sebastian Werninger
Director: Philipp Kadelbach
Writer: Bruno Apitz, Stefan Kolditz
Actors: Florian Stetter, Peter Schneider, Sylvester Groth, Sabin Tambrea, Robert Gallinowski, Rainer Bock, Rafael Stachowiak, Thorsten Merten, Torsten Michaelis, Robert Mika, Matthias Bundschuh, Ulrich Brandhoff, Torsten Ranft, Andreas Lust, Marko Mandic, Leonard Carow, Janusz Cichocki, Paula Hartmann, Jens Harzer, Max Hegewald, Robert Hunger-Buhler, David Sir, Vojta Vomacka, Tim Williams
Stunts: Jan Arnost, Jan Blahak, Marek Brichcin, Matous Brichcin, Robert Lahoda, Antje Rau, Tomas Rydval, Ivo Zubaty

Blurb from Netflix: When an orphan boy is smuggled into a concentration camp, he is protected by the prisoners, but the camp’s Nazi guards soon learn of his presence.

Selina’s Point of View:
I’m a little shaky at the moment.

From the very moment this film started playing, I knew what I was in for. It was meant to be a shocking and honest portrayal of the events that took place in one of the concentration camps. Even less truthful films about the holocaust can be difficult to watch, but this one was like a stab in the chest.

Naked Among Wolves was absolutely heartbreaking. In fact, the last film I can think of that captured the feel of the holocaust anywhere near the level this one did was Escape from Sobibor (1987).

I can’t imagine how difficult it was to film this.

We’ve discussed the mental toll acting out vicious scenes can take on the actors. Almost everyone knows the tales of how Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window) treated Tippi Hedren (Tribute, Dead Write, The Bold and the Beautiful) on the set of The Birds (1963) – or how Stanley Kubrick (Spartacus, A Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut) treated Shelley Duvall (Changing Habits, Home Fries, The Portrait of a Lady) on the set of The Shining (1980).

The directors, in both instances claimed to make their choices in order to get the most honest performances from their actors.

In films like those, I imagine a director might need an alternate method of getting the most heartbreaking reaction from someone – but this was a film based on real life. I’m guessing that just knowing the events they were portraying were actually very close to real life, was all the motivation these actors needed.

Everything was written and acted so well that I can’t imagine a situation where someone wouldn’t be feeling every emotion they were meant to. Even the subtitles seemed to disappear for me, and I forgot I wasn’t just hearing English.

This was a great, if extremely troubling film. It was supposed to be troubling, though… and that counts as an incredible success.

Cat’s Point of View:
The dice have been giving us a lot of war movies lately. Seriously, what’s up with that?

Thinking of this film brings to mind so much that I have difficulty knowing where to start.

One thing’s for sure – I felt every moment of the 101 minutes of run-time. Usually, when I’m mentioning that it’s because I’m bored. That was decidedly not the case this time. It took a little bit to get invested; but once this movie had me in its grip, it didn’t let go. I spent a good chunk of the time with my heart in my throat worrying for the plight of the characters. I admit I checked the progress bar a few times –but only to see how much longer I might have to wait to learn what their fate would be.

The casting here was brilliant. I found the actors relatable in their roles, but the standout for me was the little boy. Oh, good lord how precious! It’s easy to see how he melted hearts (and inspired my tears). I really don’t know how child actors fare in Germany in comparison to the curse that seems to follow those stateside; but I know that this little dude is a leading man in the making. It really came across to me that he was emoting and not just following cues.

I have a decided love-hate relationship with this movie. It was well made, and was a stirring glimpse into history and highlighting events at a place you don’t hear as much about as opposed to Auschwitz. On the other hand, it gave me feels about some SS characters that I wasn’t comfortable with.

I’d actually recommend this movie in a heartbeat for anyone who enjoys the war-movie genre – especially from more of the drama angle instead of pitched battle footage.

Speech Available: French, German, Polish
Subtitles Available: English, French, Polish

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore - None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 7.2/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R

P.S. There are some historical recordings inserted into the film.
P.S.2. This film is a remake.

Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Burning Bodhi (2015)

Number Rolled: 2
Movie Name/Year: Burning Bodhi (2015)
Tagline: None
Genre: Drama
Length: 95 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: None Listed
Producer: Marshall Bear, Robert Bowman, Heather A. Clark, Marjorie Ergas, James Katz, Michael Lazo, Mary Vernieu
Director: Matthew McDuffie
Writer: Matthew McDuffie
Actors: Sasha Pieterse, Kaley Cuoco, Virginia Madsen, Landon Liboiron, Cody Horn, Andy Buckley, Meghann Fahy, Tatanka Means, Augusta Allen-Jones, Eli Vargas, Wyatt Denny, Lara Dale, Jason A. Sedillo, Christopher Atwood, Lauren Ham, Juanita Trad, Steffen Garcia
Stunt Doubles: None

Blurb from Netflix: After learning of an old friend’s death, Dylan returns to his hometown for the funeral, where he’s forced to confront a dizzying swirl of issues.

Selina’s Point of View:
This was a very existential film.

Burning Bodhi was dialog based and had incredibly deep characters. Not only were the actual characters believable, though, their reactions made so much sense to me.

Anyone who’s ever lost someone unexpectedly knows that mourning is not the most predictable thing in the world.

People react differently to death. Some people feel they can’t step into the funeral home. Other’s find that exact thing to be disrespectful. Some people sit shiva, some people try to move on as soon as possible. Some people need to listen to that last voicemail a few more times, just to remember their loved one’s voice… the same thing is torture to others.

I’ve lost a lot of people in my life. Some suddenly, some not-so-much. It’s always hard. The one thing that I’ve learned through all the loss, is that there’s no wrong way to grieve. You move on as best you can, however you can. I don’t judge people for not being able to look at the body. I visit people when they sit shiva. I don’t think people are being disrespectful if I hear a little bit of laughter during the wake.

Everyone deals with the most permanent thing in our world differently… and the only thing I have a problem with is the judgment or forcing people to mourn your way.

A friend of mine hung himself when I was in high school. It was sudden and there were no indications that he had any form of depression. He was just an all-around decent guy who seemed to care about everyone he came across. No one could have seen it coming.

I reacted badly. I got very angry, and I refused to mourn. Every year, on the day he died, I would just get angrier. That went on for many years. I had other reasons to be angry at that age, but that was part of it.

About five years later, while I was trying to pull out of that anger, a boy I was trying to help walked of a building. And the cycle continued.

Now, my knee jerk reaction when people I love die, is anger.

It’d be easy to judge me over that. Especially not knowing my back story.

When my grandma died, I was living with my soon-to-be husband. As usual, I got angry. Not at my grandma, but at myself.

I believed there was nothing I’d done while she was alive to make her proud of me. There are family issues that made that thought stick out even further in my mind, but the point was… it made me furious.

I lashed out a little. Not nearly as much as I had when I was 13 and trying to understand a suicide, but I did lash out.

My husband had forgotten to bring his suit with him when we moved in together, and was talking about wearing jeans to my grandma’s funeral – I flipped out. So, he drove a little over an hour to go get it and then came back.

Someone he saw while he was doing that, heard about the fight – one of our only fights ever – and decided it was their job to convince him to leave me. They don’t know that my husband told me about it. They took my grief and judged it on a single action. One that had never been an issue in the past, and that never duplicated itself after. Luckily, my husband understood me enough to know that what he was being convinced to do wasn’t necessary.

The point is, you never know why someone reacts to death the way they do. Hell, they might not know. I went through a lot of therapy to be able to understand the inner workings of who I am.

Burning Bodhi didn’t show stereotypical ways of dealing with death. There was laughter and ranting and anger. It felt familiar to me. I saw myself in some of the characters. That doesn’t usually happen for me when trying to compare to a character dealing with grief. I’m not the type of person who can stare at a picture of a lost loved one or hear their voice over and over and cry for seven days and nights. That’s not how I grieve, but that’s what movies show. Usually.

It was kind of a relief to see other people react to death with anger. It proved to me that I’m not alone.

The movie itself was very good. The dialog was natural and I have very few complaints. I’d watch it again just to see if there were bits and pieces I missed the first time through.

Cat’s Point of View:
The trailer of Burning Bodhi flashes a quote that compares this movie with The Big Chill (1983). The idea is that this is the Millennial’s equivalent. I’m not sure that this film gives that classic a ‘run for its money’ as the quote claimed, but it wasn’t bad.

It always sucks to lose someone you care about – especially when there’s something unresolved between you. This movie does well to underscore that feeling as it brings the lead characters together to pay respects to their fallen comrade.

The ragtag bunch, with Landon Liboiron (The Howling: Reborn, Terra Nova, Forsaken), Cody Horn (Violet & Daisy, End of Watch, Demonic), and Kaley Cuoco’s (Cougar Club, Killer Movie, The Wedding Ringer) characters at the core, take a winding emotional road through the story. It wasn’t a total gut-punch in the feels like I thought it might be, but I did get misty in a few places.

I admit that I had trouble connecting in a few places…while in other spots I resonated all too well with the characters. The central theme was far more than laying a friend to rest – it was finding a way to piece yourself back together following emotional wreckage. It was a quest to make peace with the past. I’m sure most of us go through something along those lines at some point in our lives. I know I have.

I will say that in comparison to our previous review this week, I am glad that this film at least represented LGBTQ in a somewhat more positive manner. The movie didn’t fall into the trap of stereotyping gay or bisexual characters as ‘sluts’ by default – it made it clear that individual choice was involved.

While I hold firm in my belief that this doesn’t really stand up as any generation’s equivalent to the 1983 classic by any means; if you put that notion aside and just take the film on its own merit, you’ll find it’s at least worth your time. I don’t know that it would even come to mind if someone asked me for a movie recommendation; but it didn’t suck, so at least there’s that.

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 30%
Metascore - 45/100
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 4.8/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3/5

Movie Trailer:

Monday, October 23, 2017

The D Train (2015)

Number Rolled: 33
Movie Name/Year: The D Train (2015)
Tagline: Every reunion needs a hero.
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Length: 101 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Ealing Studios Entertainment, Ealing Studios, Electric Dynamite, Londinium Films, Rip Cord Productions, Rough House Pictures, Scott Pictures
Producer: David Bernad, Jack Black, Peter Fruchtman, Beau J. Genot, Jody Hill, Aigerim Jakisheva, Michelle Lankwarden, Scott LaStaiti, Ben Latham-Jones, Priyanka Mattoo, Danny McBride, Matthew Medlin, Dylan Russell, James Spring, Scott Steindorff, Barnaby Thompson, Michael J. Urann, Mike White
Director: Andrew Mogel, Jarrad Paul
Writer: Jarrad Paul, Andrew Mogel
Actors: Jack Black, James Marsden, Kathryn Hahn, Jeffrey Tambor, Russell Posner, Henry Zebrowski, Kyle Bornheimer, Mike White, Corrina Lyons, Donna Duplantier, Charlotte Gale, Denise Williamson, Han Soto, Danielle Greenup, Dermot Mulroney, Nicole Barre, Adria Tennor
Stunts: John L. Armijo

Blurb from Netflix: A loser in charge of planning his high school class’s 20-year reunion thinks he’s scored a major coup when he gets a marginally famous alum to attend.

Selina’s Point of View:
I found this film to be incredibly awkward. With how easily I’m affected by cringe, it was just painful to watch.

With Jack Black (Goosebumps, The Big Year, Kung Fu Panda) involved, you have to assume there’ll be some slapstick or cringe… but he usually has some decent comedic timing to balance it out. At least enough to offset the kind of comedy that I don’t really enjoy. I’m not his biggest fan, but I don’t often actively avoid his work.

I didn’t see a lot of that balance here.

In fact, the last thirty minutes were so heavily cringe-inducing that I had to pause several times just to get through it.

For some people, that’s the kind of comedy they go for, and that’s cool. If that’s your thing, then good on you. For me? It was pure torture. I don’t find much comedy in heavy, unrelenting, cringe.

This may be a hilarious film from someone else’s perspective. I just don’t see it from where I’m sitting. My advice is to judge for yourself if you’re the kind of person that likes this kind of comedy. It’s so out of my wheelhouse that I probably shouldn’t even attempt to judge.

Cat’s Point of View:
I think we can all agree that Jack Black (The Brink, Drunk History, The Polka King) movies are generally a bit off-the-wall, and that’s largely the brilliance of them. He consistently delivers funny. I can’t even think of any film of his that I haven’t liked. This one was no exception.

This movie had some unexpected quirks that put a whole different spin on my initial expectations. I think that helped elevate things beyond just another comedy. That being said, I honestly don’t remember the trailer or hearing anything about the movie back in 2015 when it was released.

Be that as it may, it’s definitely worth a watch – when there are no kids around. There’s some explicit language that’s a bit beyond random profanity, but the movie is fairly devoid of nudity.

Black’s character was one I could relate to on a more profound level than I was expecting. It really blows to feel like you’re on the outside looking in. Sometimes you feel like you would do just about anything to change it, and the temptation is there to cross lines that probably should be left alone. I’ve walked in those shoes a time or two.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Black and James Marsden (2 Guns, The Best of Me, Wander Over Yonder). Marsden has always come across as a ‘cool guy’ much like this character. He’s great at bringing the hint of edginess while emoting with such soulful eyes. 

This might not be the absolute best film I’ve seen from the pair, but it certainly delivers a fun time. I laughed, face-palmed, and even fussed at the screen a few times. It’s definitely worth a shot if you’re up for catching a gem that flew under the mainstream radar.

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 50%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 23%
Metascore – 55/100
Metacritic User Score – 5.5/10
IMDB Score – 5.0/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s RatingN/A
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3.5/5

Movie Trailer:

Sunday, October 22, 2017

This Week in Crowdfunding (10/22/17)

By: Selina

Through “This Week in Crowdfunding,” you’ll find five 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 it 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.

There will be no Crowdfunding article next Sunday.

5 – EXIT

Crowdsource Platform: Indiegogo
Director: Stephen Mathis, Evan Rutherford (assumed)
Writer: Naveed Khan
Other Staff: None listed
Amount Requested: $2,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $556 raised by 6 backers.
Type of Goal: Flexible

This is a very unique project, but I wish I knew more about it.

EXIT is a short film about a woman struggling with the ethical dilemma of whether or not to donate her consciousness to someone after death. The idea behind the project is simply fascinating.

I did attempt to talk to the people at Blue Frost Films, but didn’t receive a response from them by the time this article needed to be written. That means I know very little about them other than what I could find on their Indiegogo page and IMDb. It’s a shame, because I had a LOT of questions to ask about this one.

The production company responsible for EXIT is known for at least three other films that can be found on IMDb, which lends a lot of credibility to their project – even with less information available.

With that said, I think the trailer says a lot. It’s eye catching and interesting. Exactly what you want to see in a crowdfunding project.

Lowest Fund Reward: $1 – Good Luck! – Send us a good luck wish in the best way! We get that times are tough, and we will still make sure your dollar doesn’t go to waste. You will receive our thanks and appreciation because every dollar counts!
Highest Fund Reward: $2,000 – Executive Producer – You are the ultimate supporter! You will have single handily funded the entire film and we couldn’t be more thankful. You get all the perks we can throw at you! (Note, you must be in Denver for a set visit unless we make more than our goal for travel expenses.)

4 – WedTrotter

Crowdsource Platform: Kickstarter
Director: Catalin Anghel (assumed)
Writer: N/A
Other Staff: Marius Barbulescu, Pedro Cabrera, Andrea Giraldo, Isabelle Hattink, William Lambelet, Café Liu, Segun Olotu, Cristiano Ostinelli, Ken Pak, Christelle Rall, Citalli Rico, Ufuk Sarisen, Vinci Wang, Stefan Cotenescu, Adrian Anghel, Laura Bojinca-Moisei, Iulian Bojinca, Vasile Petrice
Amount Requested: $115,449
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $2,177 raised by 13 backers.
Type of Goal: All or Nothing

This was the first project to catch my eye this week… but photography isn’t my specialty, so I brought a photographer friend of mine in to take a look at the page as well.

Where the trailer caught me, it didn’t catch him as much… but the visuals did. He indicated that the set-ups shown throughout the trailer seemed like they would produce some incredible photographs. Of course, he wanted to make sure I mentioned that not all photographers live the way those in the trailer seem to.

I think that response indicates why I was so attracted to this film. Although my own experience with photography involves cutting the heads off anyone I attempt to aim a camera at, to someone more interested in the subject – this documentary shows the dream. People will get to see the best of the best where wedding photographers are concerned… and it will give them something to strive for.

Dreams are great, but they’re even better when you can see that future goal in your mind.

WedTrotter is a documentary series and it is asking for a lot of money, but you have to understand just how much world travel is involved with the filming. With the ‘All or Nothing’ goal, there’s still very little risk to backers. I think that makes it worth looking at, despite the high price point.

Lowest Fund Reward: $4 – Website & Facebook Thanks – We list your name on our film’s Thank You page and on our Facebook page.
Highest Fund Reward: $10,048 – Get your name on the presenter’s T-shirt in one of the episodes. + 30 seconds video advertisement for your product/service at one of WedTrotter’s filming locations. + We integrate the video in the documentary episode.

3 – Thousand Yesterdays

Crowdsource Platform: Indiegogo
Director: Robbie Bryant
Writer: Robbie Bryant, Rhys Hills, Tom Bailey
Other Staff: Fred Bonham Carter, Franziska Lindner, Alessandro Farrattini, Thomas Carter, John Hubbard, Ros Hubbard, Andy Robertshaw, Alexandra Toomey, Ronnie Rackley, Jamie Edgell, Malcolm Huse, Kieran Waites, Nettie Hurley
Amount Requested: $12,192
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $6,022 raised by 39 backers.
Type of Goal: Flexible

The deeper you look into this project, the more impressive it gets.

I find the plot interesting enough, but the trailer heightens that interest quite a bit. The problem was my concern over just how well the setting could be duplicated on a smaller budget. When I dug deeper into the page, I learned they had a military advisor lined up for accuracy.

That was when I really started to pay attention to what the Indiegogo page was telling me.

The idea that this film isn’t about trying to save the love interest, but about appreciating her while she’s still alive… that’s new to me. You see the same base plot all the time, but it’s always about trying to save the woman. That small twist is enough to change the plot from seeming trope-y to seeming fresh.

There’s a very experienced team working on this project and they have a clear idea of how to make their short film work.

Lowest Fund Reward: $26 – Digital Copy of the Film – Thank you credit at the end of the film and a private online link to the film once the festival run is finished.
Highest Fund Reward: $19787 – The All In – Discuss your bespoke investment incentive over dinner at Gastronhome, one of the finest restaurants in London!

2 – All Talk

Crowdsource Platform: Kickstarter
Director: Jim Tierney, Mike Hayhurst
Writer: Jim Tierney
Other Staff: Erik Jacobsen, Matthew Kay, Christina Bianco, John Bianco, Thomas Yannite, Tikki Suarez, Dor Dotson, Michael Tranzilli, Colleen Britt, Devon Delatour, Jerzy Gwiazdowski, Johnny Hildreth, Katie Shea Drossel, Ozie Carty, Padraig Sweeney, Patricia Brown, Richard Prock-Golan, Douglas Cranfield, John Bianco, Patricia Bianco, Isabella Bianco, Helen
Amount Requested: $20,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $8,039 raised by 73 backers.
Type of Goal: All or Nothing

I wasn’t sure what to make of this project at first. I was watching the trailer with a kind of confused expression, but things changed rather quickly.

The trailer wound up becoming my favorite part of the Kickstarter for this series. It highlighted the comedic timing and writing involved in the project.

I laughed a lot while watching. And that gives me incredibly high hopes for the finished project.

The page is one of the best laid out pages I’ve seen in a while, also. It’s full of information that could get you interested in the series, but it also has all the necessary information to make backers feel more comfortable about donating. They know why they need that exact amount of money and they lay out how they’re using it really well.

Even if you’re not sure you want to donate anywhere, you may want to take a look at this series. At the very least, enjoy the trailer.

Lowest Fund Reward: $10 – Ten for the show – You’re great! You’ll be listed as an official supporter on our website, plus we’ll give you a shout-out on our Facebook page.
Highest Fund Reward: $2,000 – You’re kind of a big deal – Hey, boss. You are officially an Executive Producer of All Talk, Season 1. Welcome to the team! You can rest well every night knowing you are an integral part of making our dreams come true. You’ll get an official credit on the show, and you’ll be listed prominently and separately in the credits. We’ll keep you apprised during the rest of the creative process. And when we’re huge stars, not only can you say you knew us when, you can make up fun stories about the early days and we won’t even deny them.

1 – Severed Silence

Crowdsource Platform: Indiegogo
Director: Elizabeta Vidovic, Kathryn Michelle
Writer: Elizabeta Vidovic, Kathryn Michelle
Other Staff: Rob Raco, Maiara Walsh, Izabela Vidovic, Adam Huss, Alla Tumanian, Mostly Kosher, Allen Hooper, Austin Nordell, Polly Gregory, Barbara Holmes
Amount Requested: $25,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $8,260 raised by 68 backers.
Type of Goal: Flexible

Severed Silence was the real stand out project this week.

It’s a horror film that truly seems to be top of the line. It offers some of the traditional jump horror you’d expect, with an underlying thrill that drives it.

I asked the creators of this film, Elizabeta Vidovic and Kathryn Michelle, how they felt about balancing subtle and overt horror, their answer was very informative.

“When we can make our audience feel uncomfortable, unsettled, and vulnerable to the point they are biting their nails without even a knife being lifted, then we know we've got our hooks in and the fear they feel runs much deeper. However, we don't shy away from traditional gruesome horror, we just don't make that our foundation. So, the intense mysticism and folklore surrounding our Romani family in Severed Silence is already unsettling and plays to the audience's fears of an unknown culture. When we challenge the audience's perception of our Romani characters and work against stereotypes, we hope the audience's internal conflict will deepen, especially as they emotionally connect with these people before they have to tragically and inevitably lose them. For us, the balance will simply be in staying true to what is already on the page and allowing the intense moments to form organically as the murders begin to take place.”

In that one response alone, you can catch a glimpse of the experience, passion, and talent involved in the making of Severed Silence. The Indiegogo page speaks for the rest of it.

The trailer is eye-catching and has a humanity to it that helps connect any interested party to the project they’re learning about. There’s even a concept trailer to help prospective backers get into the feel of the film – something not a lot of projects have.

To show my confidence in this project, I have donated a small amount in the hopes that it gets funded.

Lowest Fund Reward: $5 – A personalized thank you! – We will post a personalized “Thank You” addressed to you on our social media, for being so awesome!

Highest Fund Reward: $5,000 – Executive Producer Credit – You will be credited as executive producer on Severed Silence, Plus receive the premium perks!