CrowdfundingMeet the #HometownHeroes finalists
October 18, 2017
Wow. Just WOW.
When we announced the Hometown Heroes Crowdfunding Rally in partnership with Duplass Brothers Production back in June, we knew we’d see great things from filmmakers and local film communities. And when the rally campaigns — all 73 of them! — launched in September, we were over the moon. All the campaigns worked their patooties off to raise funds and build an audience, getting them a giant step closer to making their feature film. We were blown away by the creativity, passion and hard work each and every filmmaker demonstrated.
We’re just as thrilled to announce the finalists, who will be pitching their film to Mark and Jay Duplass (who will executive produce up to five of the movies as well as provide up to $25,000 in no-interest loans). The finalists are (in alphabetical order):
A Room Full of Nothing (Austin, TX)
In this Swiss Army Man meets Eternal Sunshine adventure the tense lives of an artist couple living in Austin, Texas is exposed. By filmmaking team TurtleDove Films, an Austin production company who previously raised more than $20,000 in a 2014 crowdfunding campaign on Seed&Spark.
Auggie (Farfield, CT)
At his “early retirement” party, family-man Felix Greystone is given a pre-release version of an Auggie, a pair of augmented reality smart glasses that project a perfectly human companion onto his world. Shooting in co-writer Marc Underhill’s hometown in Connecticut, the film also addresses the shifting gender dynamics in Felix’s family.
Bring Me An Avocado (San Francisco, CA),
When a violent encounter leaves Robin in a coma, her husband, sister & best friend venture to maintain normalcy for her kids while managing their own grief. The film is helmed by a team of Latinx, Arab and queer women, and writer/director Maria Mealla is an active participant in the #FilmCurious community.
D.I.Y. (Philadelphia, PA)
A comedy about marriage from the queer perspective, D.I.Y. follows Josh and Matilda as they get sucked into the Wedding Planning Vortex, they are determined to do it their own way. The co-writers/producers of this film, Yuval Boim and Sarah McCarron, are also co-starring in the film.
Drought (Wilmington, NC)
The coming of age story of recent high school graduate Sam, living in a small southern town with her younger brother Carl, who has Autism, during 1993 and the worst drought in history. This film was partly inspired by co-producer Hannah Black’s experience as a teacher for children on the Autism spectrum.
Epiphany (Tarpon Springs, FL)
Epiphany follows the story of Luka, a young Greek-American girl desperate to connect with her negligent father in a sponge diving town in Florida. This film is a real family affair, co-written & directed by sisters Koula Sossiadis Kazista and Katina Sossiadis.
Indiana (Upland, IN)
A cross-generational portrait of life in the cornfields that examines family, faith, doubt, health, race, and the pursuit of music, backdropped by the crackling soil of early spring-time Indiana. Filmmaker Andrew Paul Davis was motivated to make it as direct reaction to an uprising in racist activity in their hometown this January.
Lost Bayou (Lafayette, LA)
After receiving news of her mother's death and dealing with her own addiction to opioids and alcohol, Gal ventures out into the Atchafalaya Basin to check in on her aging father, who has been living out in seclusion on a houseboat as a Cajun faith healer. Breaux Bridge, LA native Filmmaker Brian Richard assembled a team of Louisiana natives for this production, and Cajun French will make up about 40 percent of the dialogue spoken in the film in order to capture the authenticity of Lafayette, LA.
Miles Underwater (San Antonio, TX)
A coming of age story about a thirteen year old who is pathologically afraid of water and must confront the mysteries of his past to save his mother and realize his future. Producer Jen Prince and her largely Texan cast and crew previously crowdfunded the feature film Quality Problems on Seed&Spark in 2015.
Mini Lights (St. Petersburg, FL)
While a group of skaters figure out life, build friendships, drop, flip and push in St. Petersburg Fl, something watches them, waiting.The film is inspired by a local legend that director Johnny Vitale and the production team were told as kids.
Test: A Classic American Story...On Steroids (Tuscawaras, OH)
A young bodybuilder living in smalltown Ohio defies his religious mother when he follows the county's best coach into a world of steroid abuse and exploitation. This film is inspired by writer and Ohio native Brock Yurich’s own battle with steroid addiction while competing as a bodybuilder.
The Atavist (Pittsfield, MA)
Jax, a time-traveling young woman from the future, and Hen, from our present day, must team up to set things right when Jax leaves behind items that alter history. Pittsfield native writer/director Cameo Wood previously crowdfunded her short film, Real Artists, on Seed&Spark in 2016.
The Inner Edge (Old Bridge Township, NJ)
Grace Johnson, a New Jersey cop struggling with painful changes in her life she doesn't understand, encounters a suicidal man on a bridge and finds out she is more than just a small town cop. Writer/director Melissa Sutkowsi was inspired to write this script due to the alarming rates of drug addiction in her hometown; the accidental death rate has more than doubled since 2004.
The MisEducation of Bindu (Indianapolis, IN)
Coming of age comedy about bright and awkward Bindu, a 14-year-old Indian American girl who's not only caught between girlhood and womanhood, but also with a foot in India’s traditional past and the promise of global future. Though shooting in producer Edward Timpe’s hometown, director Prarthana Mohan is originally from Chennai, India and studied directing at Chapman University in California. Main character Bindu’s feeling of being caught between India’s traditional past and the promise of global future is a reflection of her experience.
This Is Our Home (Media, PA)
A surreal tale about a young woman trapped with her fiancée in her childhood home, exposing the terrifying nature of sharing all of yourself with another person. Beyond it being team member Jeff Ayars’ hometown, Media, PA is America’s First First-Trade Town, which made shooting this team’s feature film there even more of a no-brainer to support the local economy.
Congratulations to the finalists! We’ll be announcing the winners LIVE on November 4, including recipients of the amazing prizes from our partners AbelCine and G-Technology. Keep an eye out for details on how YOU can tune in.
And a huge THANK YOU to everyone who was a part of the rally. The Seed&Spark team was inspired by all of the campaigns, and we learned so much. Hometown Heroes was a first-of-its-kind initiative, linking a crowdfunding rally with a celebrity-driven production company. It’s something that we plan to repeat half a dozen times next year. And you’re all invited.