Mission StatementTwisted Heaven was inspired by the writer’s experience of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It will explore mental illness, heightened creativity, and the places they intersect, increasing representation for neurodivergent individuals. In addition, our team is female-fronted, and aims to empower women.
About The Project
***IMPORTANT NOTE: Thank you so much to everyone for your generous contributions! We couldn't possibly be more grateful or ecstatic about the response this campaign has received. Although we are extremely close to reaching our initial goal of $5000, please continue to pledge if you feel called to do so. $5000 will cover the majority of the first half of production, but we still need to raise for the second half, as well as for post production. There is still a ton of time left in this campaign, and we will be accepting pledges for its entire duration. We appreciate you more than words can express!
Our additional needs include:
1) Approximately $1000 more for the first half of production. After creating a preliminary shooting schedule and a more in-depth budget, we realized it would be necessary to plan for more shoot days than we had initially anticipated. More days will give us more time to travel between locations and get the shots we need - without the stress caused by cramming too many scenes into too short a time period. We also plan to bring an additional camera assistant on board to aid in the technical aspects of shooting.
2) Approximately $8000 for the second half of production, which will feature elaborate costumes and set design.
3) Funds for post-production, which we have not yet begun to calculate. We will update this page ASAP with more information.
All funds raised in the remainder of this campaign will be used for these purposes.***
Hello and thank you for your interest in this project. My name is Emi Electra. I am a writer, director, producer, visual artist, and recent graduate of the MFA Film program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the campaign for my first feature-length film, Twisted Heaven.
Twisted Heaven is an experimental/ arthouse film about the ways fear, mental illness, and trauma can keep people trapped in unhealthy situations. The film tells the story of two vulnerable people who are exploited after being taken in by an eccentric egomaniac. They are entirely at his mercy for their survival, which he is able to provide - at enormous cost to them. As they are faced with ultimate terror, the characters undergo an alchemical journey from torture to transcendence.
Twisted Heaven will investigate dark subject matter, including suicide, human trafficking, abuse, manipulation, and consent.
It is important that this film be made, because it is willing to go places other pieces won't.
It is important that we are free to tell it through an artful lens that can capture the nuance and emotional depth of experiences that deviate signficantly from the norm.
It will give a voice to the voiceless - whether that be individuals, or states of being that have yet to be fully articulated.
It is my hope that the film will be both healing and inspiring to others.
JACK - 50, dark hair and a little stubble, sad but kind eyes. A depressed alcoholic. He is jaded from years of reckless living. He believes he has seen and experienced it all, and now there is nothing left that matters. His face is weathered. He moves slowly and speaks with a deep voice, calculating his words.
Jack is plagued by the grief he feels at having lost his closest friend PRESTON, who has recently gone missing. He has no other meaningful relationships.
BUNNY - 19 and pallid, with poorly-managed schizophrenia and a tendency towards obsession. She never feels anything halfway; everything inside her is amplified to its logical extreme. A kleptomaniac. Fixated on the idea of twin flames.
JONATHAN SAINT - 30, tall and skinny, with white-blond hair that sticks up straight as if he was electrocuted. Jonathan is a narcissistic sociopath who has fabricated an entire history and larger-than-life personality to gain influence and clout in hopes of lifting himself out of the gutter of obscurity. He sleeps until 2pm every day. If he’s woken up earlier for any reason he flies into a blind rage. He hates vegetables. He believes he is special.
We are currently in the late stages of pre-production for the film. We have assembled the majority of our cast and crew, as well as visual references and an estimated budget. The screenplay is complete and has been distributed to our talent. In the coming weeks, we will develop a shotlist and comprehensive production schedule.
The funds listed in the WishList section of this campaign will cover about half of our production process - they will enable us to shoot all the scenes that take place before Jack and Bunny take shelter in the basement. Because projects on Seed & Spark only receive funding if they raise 80% or more of their goal, we wanted to be certain our goal was achievable. We are, of course, hoping to raise more; if this happens, we will put the funds towards filming the second half of the movie. No matter our timetable, the health and safety of everyone involved with our production is our highest priority. We will adhere to all guidelines for filming safely amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
The good news is that my team and I are used to working with financial limitations. We have always been independent, and take pride in our DIY attitude. If you choose to contribute to our campaign, I can personally promise that your pledge will be used to its maximum capacity. Every dollar means the world to us, we will see to it that every dollar is efficiently spent, and we will keep you updated every step of the way.
Once the project is complete, we plan to submit to film festivals, focusing on local (WNY region) and niche festivals (experimental, thriller, etc). We will host release parties both in-person and online. We will also actively seek distribution, submitting the film to major platforms, and/ or offering it for purchase online.
OUR PREVIOUS WORK:
Here are some stills from our most recent film Somatika, an experimental horror short written and directed by Emi Electra, and starring Amber Anne. The film also features Guy Balotine and Jonah Paolucci, actors who will be playing the roles of Jack and Jonathan in Twisted Heaven.
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:
EMI ELECTRA makes surreal films that bend the mind with twisted plotlines and explosive imagery. Having studied sculpture and painting, she employs a signature visual style that is trademarked by atmospheric lighting and unearthly settings constructed by hand. Her work is occult in the sense that it reveals that which is hidden. It speaks to the unconscious via symbol and metaphor, color and sound.
Watch Emily's most recent film Somatika here.
Emi Electra developed the screenplay for Twisted Heaven under the mentorship of GUY MADDIN, a Canadian filmmaker known for his surreal, dreamlike works, which are often cited for their striking visuals and obscure sensibilities. Since completing his first film in 1985, Maddin has become one of Canada's most well-known and celebrated filmmakers.
GUY BALOTINE, who will be playing the role of Jack, is a classically-trained actor born and raised in Surrey, England. He attended Escher College and The Arts Educational Schools, and was a recipient of The Lilian Bayliss Award. Guy presently resides in Buffalo, NY, where he works as an actor in film, theatre, voiceover, and commercials.
AMBER ANNE, who will be playing Bunny, is an actress based in Buffalo, NY. She is known for the experimental horror film Somatika, in which she took on the role of protagonist Nera while assisting in production and set design. Amber is heavily active in the Western New York film community. She has frequently collaborated with students at the RIT School of Film and Animation, and has appeared in a multitude of local films and commercials.
JONAH PAOLUCCI is a writer and actor based in Buffalo, NY. He will be playing Jonathan Saint. Jonah is known for his work as the lead character Cyrus in the short film Palace of Us. He also contributed to the screenplay for Somatika, in which he also acted.
ZEPHYR AMETHYST will be creating an original score for Twisted Heaven. She is a producer, vocalist, and seasoned composer. Her unique style is influenced by a wide variety of sources, including gothic rock, trap, hip-hop, cloud rap, and more.
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