Trailblazer Tuesday Crowdfunder of the Week:
They Returned
by Kerry O’Conor and Patrick Achis

Our Crowdfunder of the Week is They Returned, the sixth feature film from musician/filmmaker Ivan Noel. Like Noel’s earlier work, the film is a supernatural thriller of sorts,  concerning a group of children affected by incomprehensible forces.

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On his Indiegogo campaign page Noel describes himself as “one of the first ‘Boutique film directors’, serving films to a discerning audience, who prefer a personal and heartfelt experience rather than suffering a safe product made for the masses.” This championing of a kind of cinematic democracy translates to films that are “100% fan-funded” – and have been selected by festivals around the world, the Vancouver International Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival and Manila Film Festival among them. Prospective donors may rest assured that Noel knows what he’s doing with their money. His final projected budget is a mere $40,000, and he lists compelling evidence for his economy: the fact that Argentinian salaries are half of U.S. ones, and the value of the U.S. dollar has doubled in Argentina in the past year; the fact that Noel himself performs “the work of 10 people” by his range of skills (screenwriting, directing, cinematography, editing, music, sound mixing); the fact that his production company already owns their own equipment and won’t require any rentals.

The ethereal style of Noel’s imagery is a natural fit to narratives centered around the supernatural. From his first film, En tu Ausencia, a coming-of-age tale about an Argentinian boy on the cusp of adolescence, to his most recent feature, Limbo, which follows a colony of vampiric youths, Noel has proved himself a masterful conduit for the experience of children – his usual protagonists. They Returned promises to uphold Noel’s ability of applying organic performances from talented young actors to engaging narratives and stunning command of visual elements. One of the sharpest tools in Noel’s belt, too, is his writing of original music. An avid writer and teacher of music, Noel runs a “rock-school” for children (perhaps where he gets his insight into their thoughts and feelings?). A multi-instrumentalist who originally started making films as visual accompaniments to his music, Noel’s music endows his projects with an individualistic depth and dimension, verging on the auteur-like.

They Returned will feature the return of several members of Noel’s earlier work, as well as the use of non-actors, a choice that preserves the authentic, vérité quality which has served him so well in the past. The script has been written and the first few pages are available for the perusal of perspective backers on Indiegogo. Noel assures that They Returned will be his, “most touching and beautiful [film] so far.”

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Synopsis: They Returned is a beautifully touching and unnerving story about the unexplained disappearance of three children, and their reappearance three days later in a fantastically altered state.

Campaigners: Ivan Noel

Target Amount: $20,000

Amount Currently Raised: $16,033

Campaign Opening Date: August 26, 2013

Campaign Closing Date: October 5, 2013

Funding Goes Toward: Noel doesn’t specify, but this $20,000 will combine with his existing $20,000 to form the full $40,000 budget of the film.

Donor Reward Highlights:

$10: You will receive a private download link of the full film in HD prior to its release. Includes access to a private website of updates, outtakes, photos, and live-views of the film and its progress.

$25:  A DVD of the film signed by the director prior to its release. Access to the film’s private website.

$50:  A Blu-ray DVD of the film signed by the director prior to its release. Access to the film’s private website.

$150: You will receive your choice of three Ivan Noel’s films and They Returned on DVD or HD download. A full-sized poster signed by the entire cast, a CD of the film’s unreleased soundtrack, and access to the private website.

$1,000: Associate Producer credit in the opening title of the film, IMDB credit, CD of the film’s soundtrack, and signed copy of the script.

$2,000 (sold out!): Invitation to a film shoot. Includes an all expenses paid, except air, five-day vacation stay in Argentina where the film is being shot. Meet the cast and be present for the shooting of the film.

Below is the trailer for Noel’s upcoming film Limbo

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