Shedding - a feature film
Shedding is a magical narrative feature film about a bored house cat…. and so much more. It explores the mind of a cat, the relationships they have with humans, and the way animals help us deal with loss and longing. Written and directed by Jake Thomas. Produced by Erin Brown Thomas.
Inclusion StatementThis project increases representation & inclusion both in front of & behind the camera. Women have all the onscreen speaking parts. Additionally the film was shot by a female DP. Shedding’s themes will resonate with animal-lovers of all kind. It's so much more than a cute-cat movie.
About The Project
Our film is about a cat who wishes to escape his life and go outside. After magically transforming into a human, he ventures into the world and helps a broken family heal from their emotional wounds.
WHAT MAKES THIS FILM UNIQUE?
Shedding is unique because it incorporates non-traditional filming methods. The project began as a storytelling experiment in which Jake captured footage of our animals on his iPhone with the intent of editing their actions into a story that could place the audience in the mindset of an animal protagonist with a singular objective. This process took a few years, and as the story grew more complex, we scripted pages and hired actors to flesh out the story. Our digital filming format also encouraged the actors to improvise within character. The end result is a truly collaborative story of transformation, loss, and renewal.
Jake’s approach to the material in Shedding has been to embrace simplicity and resourcefulness, and to reflect the point-of-view of a single character. The script has been stripped of expositional elements beyond the comprehension of an animal. Like a cat who spends all days in a monotonous home, the film paces itself with a hushed lingering. Nestled. Quiet. Unobtrusively spying the action from vantage points around a corner, across a hall, or atop a shelf. This style has maximized the emotional content and impact. Even with so much emphasis on simplicity, we need an intricately designed soundtrack. The effects and music will become the voice of a main character who cannot speak.
WHAT MAKES THIS FILM WORTHY OF SUPPORT?
This film makes several contributions to society. First, this is where cinema is going with technology. Both first-time directors and Academy Award-winning directors are pushing forward with digital filmmaking by using iOS and Android software — Stephen Soderbergh’s Unsane was released in theaters this spring, and as of now the director plans to work on iPhone again. Second, this is where cinema is going with diversity. Though Jake is a man, the majority of our cast and crew are women, which allows diverse perspectives to craft our production. Third, this film is a prime example of a do-it-yourself project that broadens the spectrum of stories on screen. In the twenty-first century, we have the tools to produce and distribute daring new films in our very pockets. The iPhone filming format of Shedding matches the primary theme: if we open our eyes to possibilities — no matter how small — we can progress.
HOW WILL WE USE THE MONEY?
Up to this point, the production has been self-funded by Erin and Jake. We are forever grateful to the many friends who have volunteered and held a boom pole or a bounce board during our skeleton crew shoots. It is because of their generosity, and recent advancements in Digital filmmaking technology that we have made it this far without outside investment or fundraising. Our post production budget is $45,000. This number will be raised through outside grants and crowdfunding. Our plan is to raise at least $20,000 now, in order to keep on track for upcoming festival submissions. Our goal is to raise much more. However, we realize that we have the option of submitting to festivals with our temp music (which is very strong) and aggressively raise money for scoring once we have a festival premiere in sight.
WHAT IS OUR MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION PLAN?
Who is our audience? What is their lifestyle? Our target audience has a MoviePass burning a hole in their purse or wallet. They watch independent cinema, attends film festivals, and subscribe to streaming digital platforms. They are between twenty-two to forty-five years old. They might live in a metropolitan city, and they like to explore new foods, new wines, and tour art museums. They have an interest in creative outlets — eclectic music, photography, apps, digital media — and celebrate artistic tastes. They own pets. They rate their favorite movies on IMDB. They watch YouTube movie review videos and listen to entertainment podcasts. They go to outdoor concert festivals. They compile Spotify playlists of ambient movie score music. To summarize, they not only appreciate experiencing new and unique art forms, they actively search for it and share it.
Our distribution plan starts with film festivals, in which we will work with a festival strategist to target our submissions first to the top-tier premiere festivals, disseminating to regional festivals, and building momentum for a streaming premiere. Our strategist is Thomas Ethan Harris, who co-founded the Los Angeles Film Festival, has strong relationships with all the top-tier festivals, and has consulted many filmmakers with their successful festival campaigns.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR - IN HIS OWN WORDS
To tell more about myself, I am a Midwest-born and raised filmmaker. I was first attracted to movies because I was interested in magic tricks, and movies are the ultimate magic trick. Making movies became my favorite story-telling medium and my favorite playtime activity. My friends graciously starred in my ten-minute movies about everything from football players to dinosaur hunters.
As I grew up, professional filmmaking technology became more accessible. Even now, the process that I follow for making movies has only slightly changed since I was a child, but the tools are more refined.
The first time I ever showed my work to a public audience was at my college film festival. Before then, I had always written and directed movies with myself as the audience — and I still do. But my first chance for recognition came from my peers. At my small Midwestern university, no official film program existed. Instead, there was the annual Open Frame Film Festival, moderated by a professor, and a small band of students and friends who collaborated on every project. I felt honored to be a part of that grassroots community. Our jobs were so varied on each other’s project that I might act in a friend’s film, operate the boom microphone on another, and direct and edit my own. Even though the film festival gave awards, the emphasis was not competition. It was collaboration. Eventually, I met my future wife in this community.
To say that moving to Los Angeles was an adjustment is an understatement, but I have lived and worked in the city for eleven years. I’ve continued making movies, even when the time and means to do traditional filmmaking eluded me. It was something that I had to do, no matter what. Even without money, or without actors, or without a large block time set aside for writing, filming, or editing, I made movies. Dramas. Adventures. Romances. Comedies. I’ve been finding my voice for eleven years. My stories contain heart, humor, and a unique point-of-view. That is the unifying thread.
Thank you for supporting me on my first feature film journey.
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About This Team
Jake Thomas (Writer/Director/editor) is the creator of many acclaimed short films. His fantasy short One on One received “Best Drama” at the Metropolis Fan Film Competition, was nominated for "Best Faith-Based Short” at the Burbank International Film Festival, and was twice selected for the Attic Showcase screenings during the SXSW Film Festival. It has since been invited to screen at both Academy Award-qualifying festivals and pop culture conventions around the country. His animated film Leaves won “Best Experimental Short” at the Open Frame Film Festival.
Erin Brown Thomas (Executive Producer/Producer/DP) is a director/writer/editor/producer whose directing credits include the award-winning comedy Rekindled (fourteen awards in over fifty festivals), the web series Adopted, the action flick Hotwire, the romantic drama Chasing Hayes, the Russian drama Семья, and a series of aerial silk films starring Chris Pine’s trainer Mark Wildman and Cirque du Soleil performer Selkie Hom. Her music video Courage Is was picked up by ABC Family for nationwide broadcast. Tokyo Project, an Elizabeth Moss-starring film she edited for executive producer Lena Dunham and Emmy-winning director Richard Shepard, premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. The film was picked up by HBO for nationwide broadcast. Erin and Lena continue to collaborate. Erin recently returned from an overseas scouting trip for her next narrative feature.
Lex Quarterman (Actor) has lived in both Portugal and the Ukraine during much of his life. He studied theatre at Belhaven University in Jackson, MI. His acting credits include Happy Endings, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and the Sundance selection Primate Cinema: Apes as Family. A collaborator with actor Doug Jones (The Shape of Water), Lex is trained in the arts of mime and circus trapeze.
Karla Droege (Actress) has performed in such films as Tim Burton’s Big Fish, Talledega Nights, and Praying the Hours. She has captivated audiences on television in Scorpion, Grey’s Anatomy, Drop Dead Diva, Pretty Little Liars and House. Karla has also starred in numerous stage productions over the years, including Leading Ladies and Baby Dance at the Actor’s Co-op in Hollywood.
Jacquelyn Zook Larson (Actress) is an actress, writer, and producer who has appeared in Scandal, Franklin & Bash, Criminal Minds, The Haunted Hathaways, and the award-winning Two Hours in the Dark. Her original pilot How to Get Featured on Deadline was featured on the front page of Deadline Hollywood, leading to a six-episode order.