Actors Charlie Bewley (Hammer of the Gods, Twilight), Matt Dallas (Baby Daddy, Kyle XY), and Steven Grayhm (Wyatt Earp’s Revenge, Alcatraz) are hoping to bring Thunder Road, a film about the difficulties faced by American war veterans when they return home from action, to a theater near you, but they’re going to need your help to do it! Bewley, Dallas and Grayhm have founded their own production company, Astoria Entertainment, and taken to Kickstarter to fund the project.
Thunder Road will tell the story of fictional soldier Calvin Cole (Grayhm) who’s recently returned home from battle in Iraq and Afghanistan. Suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he attempts to cope with his illness and adjust to civilian world. Bewley and Dallas will also star with the script being penned by Grayhm.
Astoria Entertainment hopes to receive full funding for the film, set at $750,000 USD, from Kickstarter.com, a crowdsourcing website (I didn’t know that was a word either…) which is defined on Wikipedia as, “according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community.”
For those of you unfamiliar with Kickstarter and how it works, here’s the rundown. Basically, Astoria Entertainment (or any other Kickstarter project) gets money from random people like you and me via “pledges,” and we fund their creative ventures. Which I kind of think is pretty cool. You know, completing an art-is-altruism cycle. The artist creates art for societal relevance or purpose and asks for society’s contribution.
It’s very democratic, in a way.
There’s almost a popular consensus on what art gets made. Like some kind of “monetary belief” in the project. Society is directly influencing and choosing the art it wants to see. Ergo, art directly influenced by society.
I like the concept of Kickstarter because I believe art (and its creation) is a selfless act. So in a way, Kickstarter mediates the funding of one of the most selfless acts, and allows the gift of art to be given and received by the audience.
But it’s not entirely selfless. Not only do you get to see a movie made that you really want to see, you also get awesome gifts for “backing” the film if you donate $10 USD or more (donations start at $1 USD). Depending on how much you’re willing to pledge, the filmmakers are offering gifts like exclusive updates on the movie as they begin filming, autographed Thunder Road swag, and admission to advance screenings attended by the film’s stars who will conduct Q&A’s after each viewing.
Like Bewley himself said (in a recent interview with an outrageously talented interviewer, on this website), “This is a movie about the people, for the people.”
There is one catch to the Kickstarter system. If a project doesn’t meet its goal amount for funding, the project doesn’t receive any funds at all. This is good for you because your pledge isn’t charged unless the project meets the goal, but it also puts the pressure on to get the message out there and bring in pledges before the deadline. So if you want to see Thunder Road become a feature film, be sure to share the film’s Kickstarter page and get to pledging. The campaign launched on July 31 and the deadline to meet the funding goal is Sept 12.