Itchy Fingers is a film that satirizes the way our buzz culture feeds on national tragedies like school shootings and reckons with the ways the internet shapes our engagement with violence, trauma, comedy and each other.
Inclusion StatementTo make a film about abuse of power, gun violence, comedy, and the feeling of being miscast, it's imperative for us to include voices with different lived experiences from our own. Our team represents a diversity of gender, class, race, and body type—just like the city it's shot in.
About The Project
Ernie Burroughs cares about one thing: being funny. His dad was in the humor business before hanging up the mic to become a teacher. His grandparents had storied careers as clowns. And his mom—who died the day he was born—still “visits” occasionally to offer encouragement in the aggressively loving and persistent way only the ghost of a mother can.
After graduating high school, Ernie devotes his days to recording videos of his act, posting them online and waiting to get discovered. When Dad insists he either go to college or get a job, Ernie offers a compromise: he’ll join a youth theatre group. Dad agrees under one condition: he cannot quit.
Ms. Reddy, the theatre’s charismatic director, instantly senses something special about Ernie and casts him as the lead of her upcoming “group-devised” production. Ernie is thrilled until he realizes the play will be about a school shooting and he will be playing the shooter. He tries to give up the role, but Ms. Reddy assures him he was chosen for a reason. Emboldened by her confidence he agrees to stay, aiming to turn the play into a comedy.
Throughout the rehearsal process, Ms. Reddy and the group push Ernie through demanding psychodramatic exercises designed to help him connect with his character. Gradually, the play infects his life, his mind and his relationships. He grows suspicious of the world around him, believing that something sinister behind the scenes is manipulating him toward an inevitably violent end.
Itchy Fingers is a film that satirizes the way our buzz culture feeds on national tragedies like school shootings. It examines how the internet shapes the ways we engage with violence and collective trauma and each other. In our current media landscape, where everything is sensationalized and doubtful and hyperbolic and absurd, art needs to call bullshit on all the fear-fueling lunacy.
We want to make a movie that stares right between the eyes of an American darkness we are very much afraid of and baffled by and don’t know what to do about. So we are going to do the one thing we feel most called and able to do which is tell the truest story we can with moving images and sounds and painfully human characters and hope that anyone who sees it will feel a little less afraid and baffled and alone.
This is our second feature together. Our first movie Bark was made with a micro-budget and a monumental amount of community support. Bark went on a healthy festival run and now lives on Nobudge.com.
"I lucked out first time with Bark, a poised, perceptive, drily funny debut feature... Nilles and Jake’s narrative voice is comfortably, confidently odd, while still rooted in what’s real and recognisable."
"All told, it’s an impressive first feature from Nilles and Jake that taps perfectly into the attitudes and personalities of its young characters, never overselling the drama but finding plenty of emotion in unlikely places."
We know how to stretch a dollar — that’s the fun part!
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Our campaign is participating in the Hometown Heroes Crowdfunding Rally in partnership with Seed & Spark and Duplass Brothers Productions.
Which means: sharing our campaign with your friends and family goes a long way. If we get enough Seed & Spark followers during the next 30 days, we'll have the chance to pitch our project to modern day indie film folk heroes Mark and Jay Duplass, in addition to receiving a ton of financial perks!
We are super exicted to make Itchy Fingers and for you to be a part of it! Thank you for reading and thank you for your support.
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About This Team
ANNA & MARCO have been watching movies and hatching plans together since they were in high school. Itchy Fingers is their 2nd feature.
ZACK is a young comedian based all over the middle west. He took a Megabus from Southern Indiana all the way to Chicago to audition for Itchy Fingers and if that's not commitment we don't know what is!
ELSA got her MFA in acting at DePaul University. She is also a certified yoga instructuer. She is arguably the kindest person you'll ever meet which makes her perfect for the role of our monomaniacal villain.
MICHAEL was 16 when he got a job at a pizza parlor. By the end of his first week he was promoted to manager. He thinks so many steps ahead he’s already up the stairs and around the corner. People like him are how independent movies like Itchy Fingers get made.
CAITRIN starred in Nilles & Jake’s first film, Bark. It was her first time acting in a movie. While her chops on-screen are undeniable, for Itchy Fingers she’s decided to switch over to the dark side. We’re luckier than lucky to have her with us on either side of the camera.
DAN is an award-winning filmmaker and professor based in the western suburbs of Chicago. He’s a fount of filmic knowledge who lives and loves all things movies. We’re long time friends and fans of Dan's and are super excited to now be creating together.