Kickstart This: Emily Hagins' Halloween Film 'Grow Up, Tony Phillips'
by Ben Pearson
September 20, 2012
Welcome back to another edition of Kickstart This, FirstShowing's weekly column dedicated to spreading the word about indie projects that need your help to become a reality. Today, we're bringing things back into the indie film world and shining some light on a cool feature called Grow Up, Tony Phillips. It's the newest movie from 18-year-old director Emily Hagins, the director of My Sucky Teen Romance, and its Halloween setting is perfect for the changing of the seasons. Check out the video below, leave a comment telling us what you think, and don't forget to toss the filmmakers a few bucks if you can. Check this out!
The movie follows Tony Phillips, an 18-year-old who's a bit too old to be trick or treating, and who must rediscover the thing he truly has a passion for in the midst of being distracted by all the things that happen when he gets old enough to go off to college. Hagins' previous film, My Sucky Teen Romance, was a stylized vampire romance, but here she's looking to cut all that style away and concentrate on telling a heartfelt, passionate story with relationships at the center, calling back to the films of John Hughes.
I'm a sucker for a really good coming of age story, and even though this project comes from a very young but talented filmmaker, you can sense that this is a very personal story for Emily and that it's one she's passionate about telling. We've all probably had the experience of walking the line of "how old is too old to go trick or treating?" as well as balancing school, work, and relationships during tumultuous times of growth and change in our lives, and this movie looks to explore all of that by coupling it with some more grand themes about growing up and taking responsibility, which could end up being really interesting. Plus, it's set during Halloween, a time normally devoted to horror films like Halloween or Trick 'r Treat, so it should be cool to watch these revelations and relationships evolve with that holiday as the backdrop.
I really like that Emily has decided to shy away from modernizing the story too much with excessive texting and phone calls between the characters, since, as she says herself, "it's all about the human communications between them." She's totally right, and there's absolutely something timeless (and maybe even Spielbergian, if done correctly) about watching a coming of age story that doesn't involve a ton of interactive technology.
This is a project the whole movie blogosphere is behind, and with good reason. It's great to help nurture and support the creativity of filmmakers, especially young filmmakers with loads of promise like Emily. She's also based in Austin, where a lot of our friends from other sites live and work, and some are even going to help her on this if it gets funded. Take a look at her pitch and see what all the buzz is about for yourself:
For more on Grow Up, Tony Phillips, or to help fund the project, visit its Kickstarter page. Emily Hagins and her collaborators are looking to raise $75,000 by Sunday, October 14th. Try to help support them if you can, but if you're all out of cash at the moment, perhaps you could do them a solid by spreading the word on Facebook, Twitter and slapping stickers on signs in your neighborhood… you know, the usual.
That's all for this week's edition of Kickstart This. We're constantly looking for feedback, so please sound off with any suggestions for this column in the comments below or better yet, shoot me an e-mail at BenPears85@gmail.com. My inbox is always open and I've received some fantastic suggestions from you guys, so keep firing any worthwhile Kickstarter or IndieGoGo projects my way and there's a chance you'll end up seeing them featured here in a future column. As always, I want to thank you guys for supporting these indie projects, because they definitely couldn't exist without without the help of film lovers just like you. For our complete Kickstart This archive, visit here, and be sure to tell us what you think below!