Little Feet, the latest project from writer-director Alexandre Rockwell, is our Crowdfunder Pick of the Week, and it has kicked off its Kickstarter campaign with suitably high spirits.
The hour-long film stars Rockwell’s own children (Lana and Nico) as a pair of wide-eyed kids roaming the equally wide boulevards of Los Angeles. Shot in dreamy, textured black and white (on a Bolex camera Rockwell bought second-hand at age 14, as he recounts in the campaign’s trailer), it’s the perfect Californian childhood you never had. Rockwell found inspiration for the story in Lana and Nico’s joie de vivre, and naturally had a blast making the film. “Working with my kids was a high point,” the director told us. “They lived in a world of make-believe and brought me with them. I felt like I was in ‘Our Gang’ and we were ‘putting on a show.’ I know every film will not be that way, I will try and take it with me with everything I do from here on out.”
In fact, much of the project seems to have come together in happy coincidence, as Rockwell came across his minimalist crew with ease. “I was looking for a crew, and I found the DP [David Walter Lech] in a park across the street form my house,” he said. “He was swinging his little girl on a swing set, and by the fifth swing I had asked him to shoot the film. He asked when and I said to come by that weekend. I found the sound man [Benjamin Keepers] in a cafe I used to write in. It was like making my first film all over again, and it was great.”
With a campaign goal of $35,000, Little Feet isn’t asking for much. Yet with its already impressive track record (it has played at such prestigious festival venues as Toronto and Rome, and has already been picked up by indie distribution label Factory 25), one might wonder why the film requires additional funds at all. Rockwell explained: “There are all kinds of costs that come into play in order for a film to be shown to the public, outside of a festival-going audience. The film has to be transferred and re-mastered digitally to be screened in theaters and to meet broadcasting standards. Music has to be cleared; insurance and legal fees are all necessary expenses. None of these things are particularly exciting parts of filmmaking, but they have to be done.”
Known and loved for early ’90s classic In the Soup, as well as later films 13 Moons and Pete Smalls is Dead, Rockwell has built a distinct cohort of regular faces across his oeuvre. These include Steve Buscemi, Sam Rockwell (no relation), Peter Dinklage, Jennifer Beals and Rosie Perez, all of whom are currently supporting the Little Feet campaign though they don’t appear in the film. There’s even an option of receiving backstage passes to an upcoming concert by indie darlings Warpaint, whose guitarist Theresa Wayman appeared in 2010’s Pete Smalls.
Does Rockwell have some kind of magic touch? When we asked about such abundant participation, he said, “[These actors] are part of my film family and to call them collaborators would be an understatement. We all help each other when we can and our roots are firmly planted in the New York independent film scene. I would add that if they had not agreed to help I would have not have shown up to their children’s weddings.”
As such, the campaign’s donation rewards fall mostly into the “spend time with a famous person” category, either for professional advice and assistance, or simply for fun. While these aren’t exactly cheap, a $5,000 “coffee Skype session” with Peter Dinklage or Sam Rockwell might be a good gift for the loved one who has everything.
Much like another indie veteran before him, Hal Hartley (whose vastly more ambitious donation drive for Ned Rifle ultimately hit its goal of nearly $400,000), Rockwell is the kind of moviemaker for whom crowdfunding is the perfect tool, with a passionate niche of fans that seem willing to help a long-time favorite continue putting new work out there. “It’s great feeling when all the people from your past, and people you have never met, rally to help get the film out.”
Synopsis: A couple of young children in Los Angeles set out on a journey to see “the river.”
Campaigners: Alexandre Rockwell (Director)
Target Amount: $35,000
Amount Currently Raised: $22,589
Campaign Opening Date: March 18, 2014
Campaign Closing Date: April 17, 2014
Funding Goes Toward: Post-production and distribution deliverables, including color correction, final sound mix, music clearance, art work and title design, legal fees, dialogue lists and subtitle spotting.
Donor Reward Highlights:
$35: Get a thank you package from our future distributor! Get the digital access to LITTLE FEET, DVD of LITTLE FEET, postcard, updates and thank you as well as your choice of one Factory 25 DVD.
$80: IN THE SOUP PACKAGE! Get a limited edition poster signed with your name of choice by director Alexandre Rockwell and stars Seymour Cassel and Steve Buscemi (plus earlier rewards).
$200: TIME WE GET A SECRET HANDSHAKE AT THE PREMIERE… Receive TWO invites to an NYC screening with the director, Lana, Nico, Mom Karyn Parsons, and possible special guests! Plus earlier rewards.
$2,500: CASTING SESSION! Once in a lifetime opportunity to meet and AUDITION for casting agent SHEILA JAFFE (ENTOURAGE, SOPRANOS, THE FIGHTER, IN THE SOUP and PETE SMALLS IS DEAD) PLUS get tips and coaching. Available in New York and Los Angeles. Plus earlier rewards.
$5,000: CHAT WITH PETER DINKLAGE! Whether you want to watch your favorite clips, get acting tips, or try to weasel out Game of Thrones spoilers, get a Coffee Skype Session with Peter Dinklage, moderated by Alex. Plus the postcard, digital access to LITTLE FEET and a big thank you in the film! Other packages include a chat with Steve Buscemi, Sam Rockwell or Rosie Perez. Plus earlier rewards. MM
Visit the Little Feet Kickstarter campaign page here.
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