Our Trailblazer Tuesday Crowdfunder pick of this week is a project called Arms and the Man, vying for donations through a Kickstarter campaign run by Pittsburgh-based moviemaker John Jaquish.

Arms and the Man

Jaquish’s previous effort, an 18 minute short entitled “The Day of the Heist,” was shot in classically gorgeous black and white 35mm (a clip is available for viewing on his Kickstarter page; a teaser of the feature to come, perhaps). Arms and the Man too will be filmed on the same stock with the same camera (a 30-year-old Arriflex, the campaign specifies).

The story, recounted at length on Kickstarter, promises to investigate themes of a classically American sort – male camaraderie, egoism, and independent agency within a law-driven society. Not new ground, certainly, but potentially tight and moving. What sets Arms and the Man apart, though, is Jaquish’s commitment to the film’s style. He aims to achieve a sharp naturalism that harkens back, in a way, to the neo-realistic approach of mid-century European directors who, like Jaquish plans, shot on location with a mix of experienced and amateur actors. Hey, if Rossellini could do it in Rome, why not a micro-budget crowdfunder in Pennsylvania?

That said, film stock isn’t cheap – hence the scarcity of crowdfunding projects out there that propose using it. Jaquish says that his experience with film has trained him to shoot economically, though, stretching every one of his contributors’ dollars with careful advance planning and general efficiency. Practical effects will be used more or less exclusively, and props – including firearms – will be constructed by the crew themselves. We appreciate a moviemaker with a strong aesthetic identity, especially one who is willing to go the extra mile for top-quality visuals. Hopefully he gets a chance to put his uncompromising vision into effect.

Synopsis: “Set in rural Appalachia, and loosely based on real events, a group of criminals, fleeing a gun possession charge, take over the farm of a country veterinarian and attempt to secede from the U.S. The story centers on Lowell, the man who refused to give in to the authorities over the possession of a gun, and subsequently had an exchange of gunfire with the local sheriff and his deputies. A companion of Lowell’s, Aloysius, took a bullet in the affray and along with a third member, Jim Burd, they flee to the farm of Abner, an aging veterinarian and former preacher.”

  • Campaigners: John Jaquish
  • Target Amount: $25,000
  • Amount Currently Raised: $6,980
  • Campaign Opening Date: June 29, 2013
  • Campaign Closing Date: July 29, 2013

Funding Goes Towards: Cinematography and production design: film stock and processing, makeup, wardrobe, sets (found locations), props constructed by characters in the film.
Also, five percent of the profit from the finished product will be donated back to the Kickstarter community via the Kicking It Forward movement.

Donor Reward Highlights:

  • $25: Production Newsletter + advance DVD or Blu-Ray copy of the film.
  • $100: DVD or Blu-Ray copy of film, a full-size movie poster, and a professionally printed production still of your choice, all signed by the director and cast.
  • $500: Professionally bound production scrapbook containing exclusive on-set photos, notes by the director, rewards for $100 donation, and a Thank You in the credits.
  • $1000: Strip of the 35mm film from an out-take not used in the film of the original camera negative, rewards for $100 donation, a signed copy of the script, and a Thank You in the credits.
  • $2,500: Associate Producer credit (film + IMDb), a central prop used in the film (the original map, hand-sewn flag of the new-found territory, or a piece of the homemade canon), rewards for $100 donation, a copy of the script and the production scrapbook.
  • $10,000: Executive Producer credit (film + IMDb), wrap party at the location of your choosing (cast and crew will provide drinks) or screening in your town (U.S. only), as well as all the previous awards including the reward for $100 donation, a copy of the script, an on-set scrapbook, choice of a prop, and a strip of film out-take.

For more information on Arms and the Man, visit their Kickstarter and Facebook pages.

Moviemakers, keep them coming! We welcome any crowdfunder campaign submissions for spotlighting consideration in our Trailblazer Tuesday series. Email [email protected] with your pitch! Help us to help you get your films made.