MovieMaker’s Trailblazer Tuesday Crowdfunder of the Week is Dave Boyle’s The Man from Reno, a film about a Japanese author and small town sheriff teaming up to solve a murder in San Francisco.

Dave Boyle has street cred—or, perhaps we should say, film cred. His previous efforts, Surrogate Valentine and White on Rice, have premiered at big name festivals like SXSW and AFI Fest, winning numerous accolades. So it’s no wonder the trailer for his new film, The Man from Reno, looks like it’s just about ready to play before an upcoming summer blockbuster. This time around, Boyle has assembled an impressive roster of onscreen talent, which bodes well for the film – including his old friends Ayako Fijutani, star of Michel Gondry’s segment of the tripartite Tokyo!, and Pepe Serna, best known for Scarface. Also starring is Kazuki Kitamura, a Japanese superstar known for his work with Takashi Miike, amongst others. As you’d expect, the film seems pleasingly international in scope—one storyline develops in English and the other in Japanese.

The Man from Reno has the all the necessary ingredients of a first-class murder-mystery (a passionate director, intriguing story, and great actors). Promising suspense and surprise, Boyle says his interest in the genre comes from his childhood love for tattered, old paperback mysteries. It’s a great genre for the low-budget set, too, traditionally relying on solid, well-crafted narrative and persuasive performances for most of its impact, as opposed to expensive, showy effects—and those are things that don’t cost a thing in the hands of a talented moviemaker.

The film has already been shot, and Boyle needs the funds to finish post-production. We’d also like to highlight the campaign’s fun and unusual set of donor rewards: from getting to keep the 1986 Buick used in the film, to full access to observe the post-production and festival process. This is just the sort of engaging, participatory design that a good crowdfunding campaign must incorporate into its framework—letting donors become as much a part of the team as possible. And really, why wouldn’t you take any possible opportunity to throw a karaoke party?

Synopsis (without revealing too many spoilers, that is): “In a small town south of San Francisco, Sheriff Paul Del Moral (Serna) is driving home through the fog one night when he accidentally strikes a pedestrian, a lone Japanese man. However, before an investigation can take place, the man disappears from the hospital without a trace. At the same time, Japanese mystery author Aki Akahori (Fujitani) takes a trip to San Francisco in order to escape the press tour for her latest book—a potboiler in her world-famous “Inspector Takabe” series. Feeling lonely and vulnerable, she begins a romantic affair with a mysterious Japanese traveler from Reno who is staying in the same hotel. Her new lover, Akira Suzuki (Kitamura), is charismatic and charming, but abruptly disappears from the hotel, leaving behind his suitcase and a trail of questions…”

• Campaigners: Dave Boyle
• Target Amount: $50,000
• Amount Currently Raised: $13,436
• Campaign Opening Date: July 15, 2013
• Campaign Closing Date: August 21, 2013 (35 days in total)

Funding Goes Toward: T
he funds donated to The Man from Reno will aid Boyle’s post-production efforts. Donations will be allocated to music, color correction, visual effects, and a few pick up shots.

Donor Reward Highlights:

• 1$: An invitation to The Man from Reno’s Kickstarter Countdown Party in Los Angeles where they’ll see if they make their final goal and screen the first five minutes of the film. [This instead of the perfunctory “Thank You” in the end credits of the film? AwesomeMM editors]
• 35$: A digital HD download and your name in the end credits.
• $1,000: Dave will name a character after you in his next film.
• $2,000: Picture Car Sponsor title in the credit and keep the 1986 Buick they used in the film.
• $5,000: One roundtrip airfare to San Francisco, two nights at the Hotel Majestic (where the film takes place), two tickets to the premiere and party.
• $10,000: Executive Producer title, open door invitation to observe post-production and attend film festivals and parties as part of the crew. Plus the 5K trip to San Francisco reward.

For more information on The Man from Reno, visit its Kickstarter, Facebook and Twitter 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.

To subscribe to MovieMaker Magazine, click here.