There are a few local film projects we've been tracking at the Indy, all of which are coming closer to fruition and, potentially, a screening room near you. Here's an update on the status of each.
If you're reading this Wednesday, Sept. 5, you've got one day left to donate even a modest amount at indiegogo.com/menschen to help get Menschen to festivals in the coming months. If you're reading this after the 5th, no problem: You can still visit the store at menschenthemovie.com and buy memorabilia in support of the awesome local filmmaking effort, or make a straight donation via fracturedatlas.org.
Director Sarah Lotfi earned acclaim in 2009 with her film The Last Bogatyr, which was named a finalist in the 37th Student Academy Awards. Like Bogatyr, Menschen is set during World War II. It tracks the relationship between a young boy with severe disabilities and an Austrian captain who's behind Russian lines and on his way to surrender to the Allies.
Though the characters are fictional, the framework in which they appear has been "really heavily researched on the circumstance of the period," says Lotfi, meaning the units of soldiers are based on actual units that were in this general area at this time. The film examines the Nazi's T4 euthanasia action, in which the handicapped and others not fitting the Nazi ideal were exterminated — "life unworthy of life." But Lotfi, an older sister to a brother and sister with Down syndrome, says the film speaks more broadly about human connection.
The film, shot in a whirlwind eight days all over Colorado, is being made for an extremely modest $12,000, considering the professional look and feel of the preview footage. Lotfi says she still needs to raise around $6,000 of that to finish post-production work and to begin film festival distribution internationally. She hopes to have finished film in hand shortly after the turn of the year; depending on how the festival entries play out, Springs audiences could see something before summer 2013.
We first told you about this feature-length dark comedy/documentary back in June 2010 (see "Monster dreams"), which local director Pete Schuermann calls "essentially three films in one." It captures the true story of "psychopathic filmmaker Art Nelson" via interviews with those in the man's life; Nelson's role in the creation of arguably the worst film ever made, The Creeping Terror; and select scenes from that film.
Creep! remains in mid-production, and should wrap in early October after a total of 33 days of shooting, solely in Colorado and mainly featuring local talent. Schuermann says post-production will begin by November, and he hopes to have a rough cut ready to test on local audiences by spring.
The film's total cost (considering "soft dollars," such as donated space and favors) will be around $300,000, says Schuermann. A Kickstarter campaign raised $70,151, but more funds will be needed to see the film through post-production and festivals. Donations can be made via creepfilm.com, and memorabilia can be purchased there as well, in support.
Also, keep an eye on Creep!'s Twitter and Facebook pages for upcoming calls for extras, if you'd like to actually be in the movie; two key scenes are left to be shot.
"There's not much sense in me hyping the movie," says Schuermann. "My hope is for it to stand on its own ... you wouldn't believe the amount of talent that resides here, the amount of hard work and dedication our crew has put in — it's a team effort. You'll be blown away by the collective skill shown in every frame."
The Chronicles of Rick Roll
Call it the meme movie. In a lot of ways, you are responsible for its casting, via your YouTube habits.
For The Chronicles of Rick Roll, Colorado Springs-based executive producer Andrew Fischer has solicited the help of YouTube phenoms like Antoine Dodson, Double Rainbow guy and Boxxy. Among the 20 or so, um, talents, the project gathers a collective total of tens of millions of page views. Rick Roll's early concept trailer (filmed locally) currently sports more than 1.2 million views.
When the Indy first reported on the project (see "The meme-ing of Hollywood," April 14, 2011), Fischer talked about a plan to enlist A-list actors and actresses alongside the viral video peeps. Last week, publicist Andre Marcel of Beverly Hills' AMB Publicity said he cannot discuss who they're in talks with just yet, but he said the film is "moving to the next level" with a "star-studded cast" and a budget of at least $35 million.
Marcel says shooting will likely begin in late 2013, with a projected 2014 release date. He wants to emphasise that the tone of the film is not best represented by that teaser trailer, which was truly just concept footage. Fischer will not play a role in the film (as he did in the trailer), and Marcel says it will be more of an action/fantasy, with bits of comedy throughout.
"It's absolutely the most amazing script I've read in the last three years," he says. "No other project has successfully tackled this idea of the Internet as a world of its own. There's nothing like it."
For another taste of what's afoot for Fischer and friends, check out an abundance of online clips featuring the future Rick Roll cast talking shop at Comic-Con 2012.