Crowdsourcing may just be the future of indie filmmaking. Andrew Bujalski raised over $50,000 for his next opus, “Computer Chess,” and now writer/director Hal Hartley has hit Kickstarter asking for your help in completing his new feature, “Meanwhile.” In Hartley’s own words: “The film is shot and edited. We are raising money to complete the audio mix and to prepare the various materials needed for commercial exploitation, which includes the design, authoring, and manufacturing of a limited edition DVD and CD of the original music.”
While this writer has seen two of Hal Hartley’s films—the Best Screenplay at Cannes Award-winning “Henry Fool” and it’s sequel, the Parker Posey/Jeff Goldblum-starrer “Fay Grim”—and wasn’t a fan of either (his work is an acquired taste), it’s undeniable that Hartley is a true original. His dialogue and tone is instantly recognizable, and he has undoubtedly been a major influence on a generation of independent filmmakers and certainly, the mumblecore folks owe a lot to his work (though, they obviously differ in some significant ways).
Anyway, after having shot “Meanwhile,” Hartley shopped it around as the first part of a TV mini-series, and in a situation reminiscent of David Lynch’s experience with “Mulholland Drive,” a network did not commit to Hartley’s vision, so he is releasing the project on his own.
The trailer has some funny dialogue, a few good physical gags, and a laugh-out-loud situation in which the main character gives a bizarre and seemingly orgasmic lower-back massage. It certainly looks like this could be some of Hartley’s funniest, most accessible work yet. There is also a suspense and/or mystery element involving a girl who wants to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge, which is teased nicely.
If you haven’t seen Hartley’s previous films, you really should check them out for yourself (“Trust” and “The Unbelievable Truth” are good places to start; hell, “Henry Fool” is worth it for Thomas Jay Ryan‘s highwire performance alone). And if you already are a fan, give generously. Below is the film’s synopsis, and you can view the Kickstart trailer below (or without voiceover at Hartley’s site).
“Meanwhile” concerns Joe Fulton, a man who can do anything from fixing your sink to arranging international financing for a construction project. He produces online advertising and he’s written a big fat novel. He’s also a pretty good drummer. But success eludes him.
For Joe can’t keep himself from fixing other people’s problems. His own ambitions are constantly interrupted by his willingness and ability to go out of his way for others.