Encounters: A Sci-Fi Anthology Series
Encounters is a sci-fi/horror short film anthology series akin to The Twilight Zone & Black Mirror. Each episode will explore different types of Encounters with Extraterrestrial Life through one unifying theme… Be Careful What You Wish For.
Inclusion StatementAlthough this series is about extraterrestrials and the paranormal, at its core we explore very human struggles. That struggle is not confined to any specific group of people. So we plan to represent a variety of races and genders on screen so that the show itself will represent humanity as a whole.
About The Project
Encounters is a sci-fi/horror short film anthology series akin to The Twilight Zone & Black Mirror. Each episode will explore different types of encounters with Extraterrestrial Life through one unifying theme… Be Careful What You Wish For.
Though the series is about UFOs and ETs, we explore very human struggles in each episode: greed, fear, anxiety, selfishness… all the ingredients that make up the human condition. In short, the protagonists always get what they want, but at a terrible cost.
Encounters: Season 1 will consist of 5 episodes. Each episode will be a short film with a run time between 8-15 minutes. Starting in 2020, each episode of Encounters will be released online with a small gap between episodes. Overall, there will be approximately an hour of content for Season 1. This makes the series as a whole easily digestible and bingeable, and allows us to tell multiple compelling stories with unique characters and settings.
GOAL FOR SEED & SPARK
Since we have completed the pilot episode (Episode 1), All money raised through this Seed & Spark campaign will go towards producing episodes 2 and 3 of Encounters: Season 1. The remainder of the funds to finish Season 1 will be raised outside of Seed & Spark.
Each episode is already in the early stages of pre-production, with episodes 2 and 3 having first drafts of their script completed. We just need the budget to move forward and begin filming these episodes.
Episode 1: The Family (Completed) - Eli is a selfish teenager who wants to avoid family time at all costs. After an encounter with otherworldly entities, he quickly learns that you should be careful what you wish for.
If you haven't already, you can check out the film here: Encounters Episode 1
Episode 2: The Plant - A reclusive couch potato named Peter, is gifted an unusual plant by his sister, who thinks the plant might cheer him up even though he just wants to be left alone. Over time Peter develops a bond with the strange lifeform, but eventually the relationship turns hostile. In the end, Peter will receive the solitude he always wanted but at a terrible cost.
Episode 3: The Dinner Party - Lana is a young professional who wants to make a great impression at her first company dinner party. After discovering she is the only employee invited, her creepy boss and his wife begin an intensive interrogation to prove that she is an extraterrestrial. Lana quickly discovers that impressing her boss might cost more than she bargained for.
Episode 4: The Salesman - Al is a sleazy salesman who would do anything to be filthy rich. After a chance encounter with a local millionaire’s troubled son, Al takes it upon himself to sell his “proven” paranormal protection gear in order to stop the voices in the young man’s head. Al’s grift seems to be going great until his client discovers Al’s Paranormal Protection Agency isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. (Black & White, Noir Episode)
Episode 5: The First Encounter - A Neanderthal, living in the Paleolithic Age, encounters a mysterious alien device that kickstarts his intelligence, giving him the respect he always yearned for from his tribe. However, he soon learns that his newfound enlightenment comes at a great price.
Since we are creating this project as an anthology series, each episode presents itself as an opportunity to explore a different style of filmmaking, color palette, and genre. Genres like Noir, Dark Comedy, Horror, etc.
Every episode will fit within the the premise of alien encounters and the theme of 'Be Careful What You Wish For,' but each episode will also be unique with its own distinct tonal quality. We want these episodes to thematically work together as a body of work, but also be able to stand alone as individual shorts.
Luke Pilgrim (left), Brad Kennedy (right)
We're Luke Pilgrim and Brad Kennedy, co-owners of Sozo Bear Films. As a directing team, we have produced four short films and a myriad of commercials, music videos, and documentary-promotional films since our creative partnership began in 2014. Our three previous short films, The Apology Service, Sunnyside Drive, and The Amazing Anti-Fart Formula have played in over 27 film festivals and have won awards such as Audience Choice Narrative Short Award at the Macon Film Festival, Best Director and Score at the Atlanta Comedy Film Festival, Best Short and Best Score at the Georgia Shorts Film Festival, Best Score at the Way Down Film Festival, and the Georgia Short Audience Award at the Georgia Film Festival. The Sozo Bear mantra is to tell creative, cinematic stories and we strive to produce compelling films that people can connect with by embracing the human element that is integral to good filmmaking.
Our team of talented filmmakers are all Georgia based industry professionals who specialize in every facet of the filmmaking process. Many of us have been working together on various projects for the past 3+ years, and over this time we have grown to become a tight-knit crew that can depend on one another to always put forth their best effort on and off set.
Check out 'The Team' tab to learn more about each individual member helping to make Encounters become a reality.
WHY YOU SHOULD PLEDGE
A lot of times our cast and crew are working on a film below their normal rate, because it serves as a passion project for the whole team. Your money will go towards paying the cast and crew what they deserve to be paid, and ultimately providing the financial means to help each and every one of us give it our all to make Encounters the visually and narratively compelling series we know it can be.
Other funds will also be put towards providing quality food for set, props and set decorations, and a small contingency budget for miscellaneous needs.
If we raise over the already designated $10,000 budget on Seed & Spark, we will announce a new stretch goal that will go towards enhancing the production value of the rest of the season. This includes but is not limited to: additional crew members, camera gear, props, set decoration, costumes, CG assets, etc.
Thank you very much for checking out our campaign page and for your support in reaching our fundraising goal here on Seed & Spark. Please help us spread the word about this project by sharing the campaign page on social media and telling your family and friends about this opportunity to be a part of an amazing Sci-Fi series. We can't wait to show you Encounters in all of its glory and we're excited to have you along for this amazing filmmaking journey!
-Luke Pilgrim & Brad Kennedy
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About This Team
Luke Pilgrim (Left) & Brad Kennedy (Right): Luke and Brad are award winning filmmakers based in Dahlonega, GA. Since their creative partnership began in 2014, the two went on to create Sozo Bear Films, a production company responsible for multiple successful short films such as: The Apology Service (2015), Sunnyside Drive (2017), and The Amazing Anti-Fart Formula (2018).
Outside of their short film work, the directing team has produced a myriad of commercials, music videos, and documentary-promotional films through their production company, Sozo Bear Films. The Sozo Bear mantra is to tell creative, cinematic stories and the pair strive to produce compelling films that people can connect with by embracing the human element that is integral to good filmmaking.
Currently, Luke and Brad are working on their anthology series Encounters which will showcase a different alien encounter each episode, all under the central theme of 'Be Careful What You Wish For.' This direction gives the pair a plethora of creative freedoms, that will lead to a unique twist on the science fiction genre.
Terrell Sandefur (Producer): Terrell Sandefur was Born in Columbus, Georgia, but grew up in Macon, Georgia. He graduated from Valdosta State University with a B.A. in Speech Communications and went on in 2005 to form his own business, Terrell Sandefur & Company. Through his company, Terrell began working on a host of exciting projects such as opening the SoChi Gallery in 2008, which now serves as an ideal venue for parties, press conferences, casting calls, and corporate functions for upcoming movies and more.
In 2006, Terrell was baptized into the indie film world through the Macon Film Festival. Over the years he's served as the festival president, marketing chair, and emcee. Many filmmakers have come to Terrell, asking if he'd take part in their films; which has given him a large portfolio of roles like: Producer, Location Scout, Casting Coordinator, Production Manager, and more.
With his knowledge, connections, and skill in marketing; The Encounters Team is excited to have Terrell Sandefur come aboard and serve as Producer to the new anthology series Encounters.
Ethell Nunez-Suazo (Unit Production Manager): Ethell Nunez-Suazo is a passionate planner when it comes to the filmmaking process. Always one for wanting to tell an inspiring story and being a great team player, her skills for getting the job done behind the scenes are what make her essential.
Her favorite films are dialogue driven, Sneakers being her all time go to. Coming from a theater and screen acting background, there was an interest for recreating human behavior but her true passion was awakened when she went to film school and was placed in a group project as Producer. From then on, Ethell has been on a mission to experience as much as she can when it comes to the film business and learning the ins and outs of seeing a project from inception to completion.
Working on different sets ranging from commercials, music videos and television, supporting and working for the indie scene will always be her preference. She has helped and donated to several indie projects here on Seed & Spark and cannot wait to see what else the community has in store for audiences.
Phillip Arthur Simmons (Composer): Phillip Arthur Simmons was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994. He graduated from Truett McConnell University with a B.A. in Music Composition, and in 2017 he graduated from the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama in Dublin, Ireland with an M.A. in Scoring for Film and Visual Media.
Phillip currently works on commissions for choirs and orchestras across the nation, composing concert pieces for various ensembles. This has led to his work being featured in short films, video games, commercials, documentaries, and stage plays.
In 2011, Philip founded PAS Music, which serves as his music composition company that specializes in creating unique music for film and visual media. Encounters is the third film collaboration between PAS Music and Sozo Bear Films.
Ellis Treece (Editor/Visual Effects Artist): Ellis Treece has had a keen interest in visual storytelling that stems all the way back to his early childhood. He was fascinated with how computer graphics could be used to tell a story and take the audience on journeys that conventional live action filmmaking could not always do. In 2019, he graduated with a B.S. in Film and Digital Media from the University of North Georgia with a focus in Visual Effects.
Ellis came aboard the Sozo Bear Films team straight out of college, where he currently creates visual elements for short films, commercials, and music videos. His main focus is on compositing CG effects with in- camera footage as well working with 3D models and incorporating them into scenes. Ellis also serves as an associate editor, assembling timelines and putting together rough cuts for client videos and short films.
Tylere Brown (Camera Operator): Tylere Brown grew up in Middle Georgia. During his adolescence, one could typically find him outside playing with sticks, climbing trees, and going on small adventures. That same imagination and sense of discovery is what led him into filmmaking.
Tylere received a degree in Film and Digital Media Production from the University of North Georgia in 2018. Although his degree was important, Tylere learned all of his hands-on filmmaking experience by being eager and accepting of every set he worked on. Tylere has worked in the camera department on award-winning short films including, The Amazing Anti-Fart Formula, directed by Luke Pilgrim & Brad Kennedy and Dead Winter, directed by Jason Winn. In 2017, And Beyond, a film he worked on as cinematographer won the Audience Award at the Athens 24 Hour Film Competition. He is currently working as Director of Photography on a Documentary, Dusk Weaver: What's in a Name and as a freelance videographer in the Georgia film scene.
Chase Yarbrough (Gaffer): Chase Yarbrough is a graduate from the University of North Georgia and now works full time in the film and television industry. He has worked as a gaffer on several award winning music videos, feature films, and commercials. He is also a member of the local 479 union and has worked on television shows such as the Walking Dead, The Resident, Stranger Things, and Doom Patrol. Chase has worked with the Sozo Bear team on numerous occasions and is very excited about continuing to work on the Encounters series.
Catherine Dyer (Actor): In the last two decades Catherine Dyer has built an impressive resume on both sides of the camera. As an actress she is best known as the evil Agent Connie Frazier on the Netflix megahit Stranger Things. Catherine is currently a recurring Guest Star on the hit Fox series, The Resident and will be seen later this year in the new Netflix series Heartstrings. In the past year Catherine Guest Starred as Dr. Ashton Conley on Black Lightning, and starred in the highly rated Lifetime Original Movie, Psycho In Law. Recent feature films: The Founder, Dirty Grandpa, The Darkest Minds, Forever My Girl, Cell, Reckoning, Nappily Ever After and as the ex-wife of Jeremy Irons in An Actor Prepares.
Catherine also appeared opposite Sandra Bullock in the Oscar-winning film The Blind Side, Demi Moore in The Joneses, and as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wife in the action thriller Sabotage. Catherine has had recurring roles on Lifetime’s hit series Army Wives, and Necessary Roughness on USA Network. Other television appearances include: A Sister’s Secret, Greenleaf, Halt and Catch Fire, The Originals, Finding Carter, Sleepy Hollow, Queen Sugar, Complications, Satisfaction, Reckless, Drop Dead Diva, House of Payne, The Gates, Raising Izzie, Devious Maids, Past Life, Party of Five, Zoe Ever After, The Inspectors, and on the hit CBS show Scorpion.
Jason MacDonald (Actor): Jason MacDonald is a Co-Founder/Owner of Atlanta’s premiere acting studio, Drama Inc. as well as the founder of Drama Inc. Films. In 2018 Jason wrote and directed the short film Mr. Goody which has been selected to 30 film festivals worldwide and has received 7 awards including Best Short Film at the Prague Independent Film Festival. Jason’s was also a co-producer and star of Color Blind which won the audience award at Atlanta Film Festival in 2018. In partnership with Rite Media Group and Debonair Films Jason has produced, directed and acted in 9 short films in the last two years.
As an actor Jason has worked extensively in commercials, industrials, print and voice over in New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta for over twenty-five years. Feature film credits include The Accountant, Life As We Know It, The Family That Preys, Beacon Point, The Joneses and the upcoming biopic The Luis Palau Story. Television credits include: Miracle Workers, Bull, Good Behavior, The Inspectors, Kevin Probably Saves the World, Outcast, Born Again Virgin, Necessary Roughness, Drop Dead Diva, House of Payne, Single Ladies, Magic City, Witches of East End, Criminal Behavior, and as Grayson Gilbert on The Vampire Diaries.
Gina Velazquez (Marketing Manager): Gina Velazquez joined the Sozo Bear team this May as a social media / marketing intern. She is currently an Art Marketing major at the University of North Georgia and will graduate this upcoming December. She is excited to be a part of the crowdfunding campaign for Encounters and will use her social media marketing expertise to help promote our crowdfunding efforts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms.