Crowdfunder Pick: 20 Weeks

Crowdfunding has become an invaluable tool for the indie filmmaker seeking funds for the start or completion of a project.

And here at MovieMaker, we applaud and champion workman-like campaign efforts. To raise awareness of great ideas and future talents, we will be highlighting a unique project every month during its funding campaign. If you have a project you’d like us to consider, drop us a line at: crowdfunder@moviemaker.com.

We hope you’ll share, support, and be inspired by their stories.


Crowdfunder Pick: 20 Weeks

Genre: Drama

Synopsis: A Los Angeles couple in their 30s, Maya Closson and Ronan Baines, must decide whether or not to move forward with their pregnancy after their baby is diagnosed with a serious health issue at the 20-week scan. Their doctor advises them of their options: They can terminate by week 23, or continue with the pregnancy. But before making any further choices, they are advised to undergo genetic testing to see if the issue is associated with any genetic syndromes. The couple can’t think straight. While they’re in love with their baby, they’re divided on what his quality of life will be, and immediately there is a huge wedge in their relationship. What follows is a roller coaster of highs and lows and a very difficult set of decisions that have to be made.

Inspiration: In the summer of 2014, when I was pregnant with my second daughter, my husband and I were caught off guard when the doctor stepped into the room and said that our baby’s mandible bone wasn’t measuring correctly—essentially, that it hadn’t developed correctly in utero. It was alarming news. The baby could have any range of problems when she was born, from not being able to breathe well, to having a serious genetic syndrome that could really impact her everyday life. It was a very difficult experience, and the doctors asked us to make decisions that we simply weren’t prepared to face. But we decided to move forward, and our daughter was born with a serious but treatable condition called Pierre Robin sequence. Going through this experience, I met so many people with stories that were like ours, and I wanted to really tell the story of what a couple goes through when something like this happens. As a result, we have partnered with Make-a-Wish Greater Los Angeles to contribute some of our funds to help a family in need.

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Cast: Anna Margaret Hollyman (Claire in Motion, Before the Sun Explodes), Amir Arison (NBC’s Blacklist, The Visitor), Sujata Day (The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl), Michelle Krusiec (The Invitation)

Crew: Leena Pendharkar (Writer/Director)
Jane Kosek (Producer)
Renuka Pullat (Executive Producer)
Daud Sani (Director of Photography)
Adri Siriwatt (Production Designer)
Rachana Sukhadia (Costume Designer)

About the Moviemaker: Pendharkar recently wrote and directed the short film “Dandekar Makes a Sandwich,” which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and was selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick. Her feature screenplay Days with Dandekar was workshopped in the FIND Screenwriter’s Lab and awarded a Tribeca All Access grant. She also directed the feature film Raspberry Magic, which played in over 30 festivals, and is on many platforms including Starz TV, Amazon and Hulu. She has worked extensively in new media and started the YouTube channel So Natural TV. Her short films and sketches have been featured on Hello Giggles, Funny or Die, Comediva and many other outlets. She is an assistant professor at Loyola Marymount University where she teaches film production.

Platform: Indiegogo (Part of the Film Fatales Indiegogo page. Film Fatales is a network of women filmmakers who meet regularly to mentor each other, share resources, collaborate on projects and build a supportive community in which to make their films.)

Campaign End Date: June 15, 2016

Request: We want to delivery a professional, high- quality movie that we can play in festivals, and ultimately in theaters and on television. In order to do this, we need these funds to get us through the post-production process, which we’d like to start right after filming the movie in June. Here are some of our costs:

$4,000: Hard drives, storage and back-up drives

$4,000: Pick-up shoots, re-shoots or adds

$12,000: Hiring a professional editor for 12 weeks

$8,000: Working with a professional composer, and licensing a tracks from an interesting band or musician

$3,000: Working with a colorist to complete the picture, really polishing the look of the video

$10,000: ADR, additional sound recording, sound design and mix

$5,000: Output and delivery

$5,000: Festivals, screenings and publicity

Crowdfund by Visiting: 20 Weeks on Indiegogo MM