This week’s profiles of projects in various stages of production spotlights one of the films to be featured at Independent Film Project's (IFP) Independent Film Week September 19-23, "The End of Something," from up-and-coming producer Mynette Louie and directed by Rory Kelly. Other projects include a documentary about a scientist trying to put an end to slash-and-burn farming in the tropics, a thriller about a peeping tom, an "Eternal Sunshine"-esque film about a man whose mind is altered so he can't feel depression and a comedy billed as "'Karate Kid' with swords."
[EDITORS NOTE: “In the Works” is a weekly column taking a look at upcoming films, in addition to projects in production. It spotlights films in development, as well as completed films that are taking creative paths towards distribution and occasionally ventures away from films to look at other types of projects, such as interesting new film distribution, funding, or exhibition mechanisms. All this month, indieWIRE will feature projects during IFP Independent Film Week taking place September 19 – 23.]
"The End of Something"
Director: Rory Kelly
Writers: Rory Kelly and Tim McCarthy
Producers: Julien Favre and Mynette Louie
With a premise that echoes Kyoshi Kurosawa's haunting "Charisma," Rory Kelly's "The End of Something" follows a desperate woman who joins a drifter on a quest to find a waterfall with spiritual powers, deep in the forests of Oregon. "It beautifully captures the way that human relationships are formed so quickly and so randomly, and how even brief encounters can have lasting effects on our lives," Louie told indieWIRE about the project this week.
Louie and fellow producer Julien Favre are currently rounding up financing and working on casting for what Louie calls "a very elegant, gripping, and simple existential story with two fantastic roles for actors."
Several of the key players involved have been recognized for their potential by some of the most important organizations in the independent film community. Screenwriters Kelly and Tim McCarthy developed the script for "The End of Something" at Film Independent's 2009 Screenwriters Lab, while Louie is a former producing fellow at the Sundance Creative Producing Lab. The project will also be featured in IFP's No Borders section at Independent Film Week in New York later this month.
Despite the Pacific Northwestern setting, Louie told indieWIRE that they will shoot the film wherever they can get tax credits, likely either upstate New York or northern Ontario. Louie hopes to shoot and wrap the film next summer.
With all the promising young talent attached, "The End of Something" just might be the beginning of something.
"Up In Smoke"
Logline: British scientist Mike Hands has found a solution that could stop and reverse slash and burn farming in the tropics. But is the world ready to listen?
Production Team: Director/Cinematographer: Adam Wakeling; Editor: Claire Ferguson; Executive Producer: Jess Search ("Afghan Star," "The End of the Line," "The Yes Men Fix the World"), Brian Woods ("China's Stolen Children," "Chosen")
About the film: "I first read about Mike Hand’s work in an article, but thought it too good to be true. Heading to Honduras to check his claims, I found it not only to be true but unbelievably effective, but I did genuinely wonder if it was enough to change the minds of farmers themselves, those on the frontline of the agricultural frontier. It took me a year to find Aladino, the principal character, being that these farmers are deeply suspicious of outsiders promising solutions. The production has taken four years to capture the journey of human transformation and to bring it to life, through many months filming in the mountains of Central America, the corridors of power in the UK, and an unexpected military coup which threatened to destabilise the entire film." — Adam Wakeling
Current Status: The film is at rough cut stage, with the fine cut expected to be completed and ready for post by end October.
For more information and to support the film: Check out the film’s IndieGoGo page. The campaign for “Up in Smoke” ends in a month and a half.
Logline: Lloyd Gills, a lonely Peeping Tom, is propositioned to murder his landlord’s wife. Spooked, he runs for the hills. But with a badass debt collector hot on his tail, Lloyd has no choice but to agree to the murderous offer. Only problem is, Lloyd has fallen in love with the target.
Production Team: Writer/Director: Jaron Henrie-McCrea; Producer: Shrihari Sathe; Director of Photography: Chad Cooper; Line Producer: Matthew Hill; Unit Production Manager: George T. Kimmel IV
About the Project: "The idea came somewhere between Pennsylvania and Maryland. I was on a flight back to New York brainstorming ideas when it came to me, “What if a pervert goes snooping and finds a grisly proposition to murder?” It was enough to get the story-juices flowing and after a couple months I had a script about a Peeping Tom who agrees to murder his landlord’s wife for hundred thousand dollars. I wanted to take a classic noir formula, a man who wants to kill his wife, and update it. I wanted to do a bit of a genre mash up, combining these noir elements with the darkly comic tales I love." — Jaron Henrie-McCrea
"After having made shorts for over five years both Jaron and I wanted to hit the ground running and chase our dream of making a feature and thus we formed Team Pervertigo." — Shrihari Sathe
Current Status: Pre-production (2 weeks until principal photography)
For more information and to support the film: Check out the film’s IndieGoGo page. The campaign for “Pervertigo” ends in a week.
"People Not Humans"
Logline: "Alter your mind, alter your reality."
Synopsis: Jack Logan is a normal guy. He’s sad and lonely, hates his childhood, has never been in a serious relationship, hates his job, and is generally dissatisfied with life. When he discovers a new, experimental treatment in genetic engineering, he volunteers to have his mind drastically altered so he can’t feel depression. In the weeks following, he’s happy, complacent. He now likes the job he hated before, has met a girl, and has forgotten the painful memories of his childhood. He’s stuck repeating the routine of going to work and going home and going to work every day, but he doesn’t seem to mind or notice that anything’s wrong.
Production Team: Writer/Director/Producer/Editor: Matthew Mercier; Producer/Lead Actor: Jason C. Mac; Producers: Rhonda & Sharee Washington; Other cast: Shana Sorrels
Current Status: The film is currently in pre-production, with shooting set to be begin in mid-October on location in Columbia, S.C.
For more information and to support the film: Check out the film’s IndieGoGo page. The campaign for “People Not Humans” ends in a few weeks.
"Caruso and the Sword"
Logline: "Caruso and the Sword" is a family comedy about a young teen who discovers the sport of fencing. Then, he must overcome poor grades, low self-esteem, and the school bully in order to realize his dream of qualifying to fence in the largest fencing tournament in the world – the Summer Nationals. It's "Karate Kid" with swords.
Production team: Writer/Producer: Paula Smith
About the film: "The film is first and foremost a heartwarming family comedy. It doesn't require any knowledge or interest in the sport of fencing to enjoy the story. I had taken a fencing class just for fun at the local community college. My youngest son was intrigued and wanted to try the sport, so when I saw an introductory class offered at a local fencing club, I signed us up. He fell in love with the sport. An idea about a story featuring fencing started developing in my mind. Initially, "Caruso and the Sword" was a short script. I decided that instead of filming it as a short, I should expand it into a feature script, which I did."
Current status: This project is currently in pre-production, with casting set to begin soon.
For more information and to support the film: Check out the film’s IndieGoGo page. The campaign for “Caruso and the Sword” ends in two months.
Also in the works:
The Hollywood Reporter has the 411 on a new biopic of America's conservative darling, Ronald Reagan. The film will be co-produced by Mark Joseph and Ralph Winter; Jonas McCord has written the script. "Reagan" will do what the planned CBS bio miniseries tried to do (which later ran on Showtime). That is, garner an appreciative audience. The planned film will have a $30 million budget.
Deadline's Mike Fleming also has all the details of a Universal deal that is set to create three feature films and a TV series around Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" book series. Ron Howard has been signed on to direct and Akiva Goldsman to write the first film and first season of the TV series, in the unprecedented synergistic deal.