Inclusion StatementThis short film directed by Ashley Thompson features a strong female protagonist and is being made by a team of passionate creatives.
About The Project
"I wish Rod Serling was alive to read this!”
– Reader Review
"This is a fun piece. The twists are great."
– Tom Verica (ABC's Scandal & How to Get Away with Murder and NETFLIX's The Umbrella Academy )
Welcome to the campaign for our genre-bending, mystery short film THE FUNERAL PHOTOGRAPHER. This original story shines an intriguing light on love, loss, and grief, while transforming what we think we know about remembrance.
Before we move on to talk about the project, there’s an important part of this campaign we want to share with you...
Seed & Spark’s mission of inclusion reminds us how fortunate we are to be able to follow our creative dreams. As we all know, not everyone is so lucky.
Since inclusion efforts also serve to help those impacted by economic inequality, after the film is completed we will have a charity screening event to raise funds for Final Farewell – a non-profit organization providing money and resources to those who can't afford funeral, memorial, or burial services for loved ones. In their own words:
"Our organization helps families provide an affordable funeral for a loved child. We provide financial assistance, advice and guidance. We've helped families from all religions and backgrounds. Your donation enables us to offer the enormous gift of a decent burial and a proper good-bye."
-Patricia Quinn, Founder
Julie Morgenstern steps into a funeral home for what appears to be just another photography job and quickly learns she won’t get paid unless she takes photographs of every single person in attendance – and she must be done before the service starts.
But why? And who are the suspicious looking late-comers to the funeral?
The answers to these and other questions reveal the the shocking truth behind why Julie was hired to be... THE FUNERAL PHOTOGRAPHER.
A photographer turned filmmaker, Ashley Thompson has worked as an editor and cinematographer in Chicago’s independent film scene since graduating from UIC in 2013.
Ashley has edited many of Chicago’s premier, award-winning web series including BROWN GIRLS, YOU'RE SO TALENTED, and KAPPA FORCE.
Her short film I MISS JAMIE WHEN SHE'S GONE recently premiered at Chicagoland Shorts, a nationally touring festival.
Since "crowd" is as important as "funding” in crowdfunding, there are three great ways you can help make this project a success:
- Follow - Following the project is a major help as it opens up our campaign to additional exposure opportunities here on Seed & Spark, as well as the possibility of additional financial rewards. It will also allow you to see the progress toward our funding goal and follow what's happening before, during, and after production.
- Share - It goes without saying that sharing a film project like this with people you know – especially on social media – is the life-blood of success for an independent film. Sharing your excitement about being involved in any way will be a tremendous help to us.
- Fund - Your contribution supports everything from pre-production, talent, and filming to post-production, visual effects, sound design, and music. Regardless of the amount you're able to give, just your decision to provide any level of financial support adds to the soul of this film and we are eternally grateful for any and all contributions!
Can I contribute to a specific aspect of the project?
Yes. You’ll find a complete breakdown of fund allocation categories under the “Wishlist” tab where you also have the option to donate to a specific aspect of the project.
When and where are you scheduled to shoot the film?
We’re scheduled to shoot the weekend of Dec. 6th, 2019 at the amazing Wagner Funeral Home (Pobocik Chapel) in Three Oaks, MI. Be sure to "Follow" the project to stay up to date on the schedule and other news.
I'm an EXTRA! How many days should I block out to be in the film?
Yay, we're so glad you can join us to be part of the project! For the funeral scenes that require extras, plan to be available Dec. 6th, 7th, and 8th, 2019 just to be safe even though we may not need you all three days.
Can I contribute to receive the EXTRA! incentive and gift it to someone else?
Absolutely! This rare opportunity will make a great gift, especially this close to the holidays. After you submit your contribution, please send us the contact info for the person you're gifting this incentive to and ask them to "Follow" us here to stay up to date on all production and scheduling news.
Sounds great... what should we wear?
Come to the shoot wearing what you would typically wear to a funeral – darker colors preferred. MEN: suits or dress pants and a tie. WOMEN: dresses, pant suits, etc.
Where will I be able to see THE FUNERAL PHOTOGRAPHER?
There are lots of ways you will be able to see the film after it's completed:
- All of the pledge incentives (except for the $10 level) include digital access to the film after the festival run.
- Some of our incentives include attendance at our first private screening event which will take place at the Vickers Theater in Three Oaks, MI (date TBD). NOTE: Since a film can't be released before showing at film festivals, this event will be one of the only early opportunities to see THE FUNERAL PHOTOGRAPHER before public release.
- There will be an additonal private screening event to raise funds for Final Farewell, which we plan to hold in Chicago.
- We will also be applying to film festivals all over the country and the world. So look for us at a festival near you!
What happens if you raise more than your original goal?
We love your optimism! Since our plan is to cover as much of production and post-production as possible in one funding campaign, if/when we exceed our original funding goal it will allow us to put even more time and resources into various aspects of the project, including special effects.
Can I be the person in the casket?
You'd be surprised how often we get asked this question! Here's a spoiler-free answer: Why would you assume there is someone in the casket? (That should keep you guessing for awhile)
Okay... then can you tell us anything about the multiple twists?
Whether you simply follow the campaign, share us on social media, or donate to the project, our entire team thanks you for supporting THE FUNERAL PHOTOGRAPHER in any way you can!
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
More cast coming soon, so be sure to "Follow" the project for news on upcoming auditions in both Chicago and SW Michigan!
Peter Carey is a seasoned stage, screen, and voiceover actor and who brings his talent and professionalism to a variety of projects. He is known for films such as REAL STEEL, SCREAM 4, and MACHINE GUN PREACHER. Please take a moment to view his Actor Reel to see why we're so excited to have Peter involved in our project.
Paul Mow is a professional opera tenor, stage director, and all-around creative. He was on the roster of the New York City Opera for five years, performing both leading and secondary roles. In addition to his time with the NYCO, Paul has performed domestically with The Opera Orchestra of New York, Glimmerglass Opera, Summer Opera of Washington, D.C. to name a few.
Along with his ongoing activity as a professional singer and director, Paul is also one of the founders and the driving force behind The Ghostlight Theatre, a versatile performance venue in Southwest Michigan whose mission is to "illuminate the arts and culture of the area.”
We look forward to hearing Paul's signature tenor voice sing a haunting piece in the film.
Brigid Duffy is simply amazing! Her active career includes film roles, stage productions at the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, and Drury Lane, and has been seen on TV shows like SIRENS, UNSOLVED MYSTERIES, CHICAGO PD, and CHICAGO FIRE. Her glowing presence reminds us how lucky we are to have Brigid join us on this project.
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