Mission StatementThe Manufactured Luck team consists of predominately East Tennessee based creatives. Our goal with this project is to blend traditional Appalachian culture and storytelling with film in a constructive yet realistic way that has widespread appeal.
About The Project
An Introduction to the Story
Manufactured Luck follows Ash and her grandfather Jim as the two introverts from vastly different generations try to bond. A semi-successful local "sweeper", Jim spends most of his retired life entering local grocery store sweepstakes, radio contests, and the occasional church raffle.
To Ash, Jim is ancient. Someone who she doesn't really understand, and someone who she has little in common with. The two are able to bridge the gap between their generations when Ash notices a sweepstakes display with a new bike at a local supermarket. Jim, seeing this as possibly his last chance to connect with his granddaughter, works diligently to win the bike.
However, what they both learn, is that the connection they've made in the last days of Jim's life is far more valuable than any bike or contest could ever be.
In the Fall of 2019, I had recently been traveling to different festivals in the US with another film of mine, American Letters. On many of these trips, I was accompanied by a dear friend of mine. Often our conversations would turn to talk about our families, his in Singapore, mine in East Tennessee. Although we were from completely different cultures, we both bonded over the fact that we loved to talk about our grandfathers: who they were, how much we missed them, and the impact they had on our lives.
It was after one of those conversations in an AirBNB in Fort Worth, Texas, that Manufactured Luck came to life.
Jim's character is a careful blend of my two biological grandfathers: Glen Keck and Jim Henry.
Glen, or Grandaddy as I called him, owned a restaurant with my grandmother and shared the same passion for contests as the main character. I remember as a kid showing up to car dealerships and radio station giveaways to try our luck at winning whatever they had to offer. Sometimes it was knick-knacks, other times it was cars. But it didn't really matter about the prize, he still gave it his all.
I was used to people saying he was the luckiest person they had ever met. The truth was, I was the lucky one. What most people didn't see was how hard my grandfather tried and how much fun he had winning prizes, not for just himself, but for the people he loved.
As I got older and before he passed, I learned that it was never about luck. It was about relentless love, stuffing in as many entries as the box could hold for as many people as he could think of who might want the prize. I'll never forget the looks on the faces of the people he won stuff for. And I won't forget the feeling I got when he won something for me. To an adult, it's just simple math. More entries mean a bigger chance of winning. But to a kid, it's magic. So naturally, I wanted to capture that magic, that "luck", in a story dedicated to ordinary people and the small things they do that have an extraordinary impact.
Jim, was someone I, unfortunately, did not get the pleasure to meet. By the time I came along, he was already gone. But I've learned the most about him from the stories that have been passed down to me by those who knew him.
When I sat down to write this script, I thought about those stories, the person I had crafted in my mind, that I thought he must have been like. He was a tobacco farmer in rural Tennessee, I knew that. I knew what he looked like from home videos. But more importantly, I think he gave me the inspiration to write a character who stood out enough in life to live on in his family's memory and to have an impact on their lives even if they never got to really know each other.
I think these are the things that make Manufactured Luck so special. It's rare for me that a project gets this personal. But, it's become personal not just for me, but for the entire creative team. Each person is putting a little bit of themselves into this film. We would love for you to be a part of that and to join us on this journey.
We believe that Manufactured Luck has the ability to bring positivity and optimism by telling a relatable story about the difficulties and complexities of human connection. I think it's especially potent now as we all struggle to maintain and re-establish connections during a pandemic that has universally altered the way we live. Sure, the film allows us to reflect on our own past relationships with our grandparents and family. But, it's more modern message is about our connection with the future and the legacy we are leaving behind.
Although Manufactured Luck has no superheroes, no grand battles, and no high-intensity action sequences, I believe that it still has the power to inspire. Because there is something special about finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. That's what our team does best.
Since the threat of Covid-19 is still high in some areas, we will be taking any and all precautions we can to keep our cast and crew safe. This means working with a designated health and safety supervisor to sanitize surfaces, minimize crew, enforce the use of masks, and provide on-site temperature checking.
Our goal is to shoot the film this October as the leaves in Tennessee begin to reveal their fall coloring. After, our post-production crew will work tirelessly to edit and craft the film's picture, sound, score, and color. When that is complete, we hope to either have a virtual or in-person cast, crew, and patron screening in the Spring of 2021 before taking the film on its festival run. Although one of our primary festival targets are festivals highlighting films in the rural parts of America, I think that this story can reach a wide array of audiences all across the world.
Our team is so excited to bring this story to life. But, the truth is, we need support from contributors like you to make this film a reality. A small contribution or even a social media share makes a huge difference.
The Manufactured Luck team thanks you in advance for your time and consideration. I hope you'll follow our adventures as we try to bring a little hope and positivity to the world.
- Kevin Keck, Writer and Director of Manufactured Luck
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About This Team
I was born north of Knoxville, Tennessee in a little town in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains. After making homemade short films throughout high school I moved to Orange, California where I attended Chapman University and graduated with a BFA in Film Production in 2018.
For nearly a decade I have had the pleasure to screen films at multiple national and international film festivals on four continents. For an East Tennessee boy, it has been a truly humbling experience to see these stories and films enjoyed and honored with awards. But I am ever-conscious of the responsibilities of a storyteller. My hope is that I can use my content to break down stereotypes and misunderstandings. I want to portray underrepresented and diverse cultures, like the Appalachian region I call home, in an honest and intimate way.
My most recent film, American Letters, was just featured on the Omeleto platform.
Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tYYym0c2dM&t=197s
I’ve been blessed to travel the world searching for unheard voices. Voices that I can provide an outlet: to give life from their words – their experiences. That wanderlust has impacted how I handle commercial and narrative projects – taking every opportunity to pour a creative heart into each project.
I love collaborating with directors who are exploring the heart of story through a mixture of grounded and abstract visuals. Traverse into a different mindset of how to appoach problems. I am not okay with being adequate, and I want to be surrounded by others who feel the same: to be around those who, together, can achieve great things.
Born and raised in Nashville, TN, I am an emerging stage designer excited to tell the stories that matter. I am passionate about clean, evocative design and storytelling that pushes audiences to expand their perception. I love creative problem solving, collaborating with teams that share my passion, and believe that from broad strokes to minute details, every part of a design should have meaning. New challenges excite me, so I am always looking to develop new skills and expand into new genres and fields; I am not afraid to take a risk.
I am currently receiving my MFA in Scene Design at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville after spending my undergraduate years in South Carolina at the College of Charleston. Recent credits include People Where They Are, The Real Inspector Hound (Clarence Brown Theater), The Unusual Tale of Mary and Joseph’s Baby (River and Rail), Feathers and Teeth (What If? Productions), and the production design for the latest music video for local Knoxville band The Appetites. As an assistant, I have worked on productions in theaters across the country including Pure Theater, Olney Theatre Centre, Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, and most recently with Tony award winning scenic designer Donyale Werle at New York City Center. Upcoming projects include Scenic and Projection design for Airness at the Clarence Brown Theater, projection design for the operas The Old Maid and the Thief and Amelia Goes to the Ball at The Bijou, and my international debut, Cove Creek Boys and Summer Girls at Dublin’s Scene and Heard festival.
When I'm not designing, I am improving my Italian, perfecting my cold brew recipe, and being far too invested in Formula 1 Racing.
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