Kickstart This: 'White People', 'I'm Fine, Thanks' & Tippett's 'Mad God'
by Ben Pearson
June 15, 2012
Welcome back to another edition of Kickstart This, FirstShowing's weekly column dedicated to spreading the word about cool indie projects around the web that need your help to become a reality. This week, we've got three film projects we want to spotlight for you: a "satire about being a black face in a white place" called Dear White People; a documentary about complacency called I'm Fine, Thanks; and an experimental film from special effects guru Phil Tippett called Mad God. Take a look at these three new projects, sound off in the comments below, and don't forget to toss these filmmakers a few bucks if you can. Check ’em out!
If Tyler Perry movies make you roll your eyes, Dear White People is the movie for you. Billed as being in the tradition of Rushmore, Animal House and Election, it's a satire about black culture in a predominantly white world that follows four black students at an Ivy League college who deal with the riots surrounding an "African American" themed party thrown by some white students. It's smartly written, funny, and exactly the kind of material that can actually make a positive impact on the way we all interact instead of simply perpetuating negative stereotypes like most Hollywood features. The writer/producer/director Justin Simien is a former co-worker of mine going back to my days at Paramount, and I can vouch for him being a great guy with a lot of ambition and, more importantly, the talent necessary to see this project through.
For more information about Dear White People, or to help fund the project, visit its IndieGoGo page. Justin and his team are looking for $25,000 by July 13th, and they've received almost $15,000 in the first day! Let's help put them over the top and make sure this film is seen by as many people as possible.
"When you're climbing the ladder and you get to the top, and realize you've got it leaned up against the wrong wall? I didn't even know what the right wall was." I think that's a sentiment a lot of us can relate to, and the filmmakers behind a documentary called I'm Fine, Thanks traveled the country and interviewed people about the topic of complacency. We all have a lot of expectations put on us every day, but the larger expectation from society that says we should live our lives a certain way may be the biggest pressure of all. With absolutely gorgeous cinematography and an inspiring message, this movie will help us all reflect a little on ourselves and show us that living our dreams - no matter how crazy they may be - is a more rewarding life than following any pre-established path. If I created a Kickstart This Hall of Fame, I'm Fine, Thanks would be in it. Check out the pitch video below, and skip ahead to the 1:30 mark to see the trailer):
For more information on I'm Fine, Thanks, or to help support the project, visit its Kickstarter page. Adam Baker and his team are hoping to get $100,000 by June 22nd, and they're almost there, they just need a little bit of extra help.
Long-time film fans have probably familiar with the name Phil Tippett. He's done visual effects and stop motion work on classics like Jurassic Park, RoboCop, Dragonheart, and a small series of films you may have heard of called the original Star Wars trilogy. He directed Starship Troopers 2, and now he's teaming up with a bunch of up-and-coming filmmakers to direct a new short film called Mad God. Tippett claims this movie will be unlike anything anyone has ever seen, tossing live action, digital photography tricks, and stop-motion animation into a blender, dumping out the contents, and putting the pieces together in a visually striking way. Take a look at their pitch video below for Tippett's Mad God:
For more information on Mad God, or to help fund the project, visit its Kickstarter page. Tippett and his team have already reached their goal, but I thought this was a cool enough project to feature in this column anyway, considering his legendary status in Hollywood and the fact that he's cool enough to pass on this insane knowledge to a new class of filmmakers.
That's it for this week's edition of Kickstart This. Hopefully you like the latest projects we've featured, so leave us some feedback in the comments. My inbox is always open if you come across something you'd like to see grace the pages of this website in the future, so fire an e-mail my way at BenPears85@gmail.com and hopefully we can get it some extra publicity. As always, thanks for supporting these projects, because these filmmakers definitely couldn't achieve their goals without your help. For our Kickstart This archive and to check out every project we've featured, visit here. We hope to continue to highlight great indie projects!