Over the past couple of years, I've been watching the British-based indie filmmaker Tony Sebastian Ukpo with great interest. Tony is a brave and extremely talented director, unafraid to experiment with different styles. He's tackled many subjects and genres, from the likes of Japanese-speaking black & white thrillers, to stylish sci-fi efforts, and always using little to no budget along with the goodwill of others who've helped Tony complete his vision. Once you see a finished film by Ukpo, you find it hard to believe the skilled helmer managed to complete the movie for next to nothing, yet this is a clear indication of just how passionate and determined a filmmaker Tony really is.
Like many filmmakers in his position (and even many A-listers, who I won't name here, who don't even need this kind of financial assistance), Tony has decided to turn to Kickstarter in a bid to raise enough capital to get his latest project off the ground. There are many perks to be had for even a small contribution, right on up to being on set with the cast and crew to even having your name in the movie credits! For full details of the many wonderful perks, please visit The Hades Pit Kickstarter campaign page here: http://kck.st/Z9QPQR and give what you can to this worthy cause.
Nav Qateel, Managing Editor
Play the video below as Tony explains the concept
The premise: A young woman embarks on a mission to rescue her abducted father from the strange forces that took him from their home.
THE BACK STORY
I was on set doing post work for a feature film, when I got this idea. I wanted to make a female led sci-fi fantasy film that was inspired by video games, specifically Nintendo's Metroid. An adaptation of a non-existent franchise if you will. One of the actors on the film, famous for being a student at a certain school of magic, encouraged me to write it. And I did... in 5 days! Not because writing is easy, but because I had a very very clear idea in my head for this particular film.
WHAT IS THE HADES PIT ABOUT?
The story starts with a young woman and her dog on their way to the countryside with her father, on a regular annual father/daughter retreat where he works as a Park Ranger. On this trip however, something is not right, signalled by the smoke coming from behind the abandoned factory on the way to their home. They pay no heed to it, and things slowly start to get stranger and stranger in a suspenseful build up to the fathers abduction from their home in broad daylight by large masked figures. With all the communication posts down, and the nearby service station now manned by a fresh corpse, the daughter emerging from where she was hidden away by her father during the carnage, eventually takes matters into her own hands, heading with her dog towards the one place they must have taken him. She finds an underground facility filled with weird sinister scientists, experimental creatures and an unlikely ally in one of the test subjects, and is forced to put a lot of her gaming instincts (She's a gamer) to use in a real world situation. With any luck, the little sizzle trailer below will go some way towards communicating that story, as well as giving you a good idea of the feel and look we are going for.
SO WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE SCRIPT WAS FINISHED?
I showed the script to a few people, who all liked it a lot, and then I put it aside as something I might do were I ever to have a suitable budget, as it couldn't be done justice to on a non existent or micro budget the way I envisioned. That was almost 6 years ago.
A TRUE INDIE KICKSTARTER, WITH AMBITIOUS CROWD FUND GOALS
There's been a lot of talk online and in the media about the celebrity kick starter campaigns which led to millions of dollars donated into certain projects, and how that was bad for the independents and bad for the site's ultimate purpose to empower those that really needed backing who couldn't get it otherwise for projects they were passionate about. And so I thought, "I'm an independent filmmaker, and I could really benefit from that kind of backing for something like this" knowing I would not have access to any sort of larger funding from elsewhere, being a relative unknown (Despite 5 feature films under my belt). If I had the right project, maybe I could finally give crowd funding a go... THIS is that project, and I hope to hopefully prove that even a nobody like me, can raise the kind of interest and consequent backing for a project that people are willing to see become a reality, without the kind of goodwill fan currency that more famous projects attract as standard.
SURE FILMS ARE EXPENSIVE, BUT WHY DOES THIS FILM NEED OR DESERVE OUR HELP?
With this backing, I hope to enlist the services of at least a few recognised industry actors, as well as a team of respected industry professionals I have not yet had access to on smaller budgets, alongside my regular collaborators, to bring to life something special that will appeal to lovers of the genre, while also being done to a high standard. I have previously made my last films on nothing but blood, sweat and elbow grease by pulling favours and writing with a non existent budget in mind. For something of this scale, I wouldn't dare to try and make it for anything less than a reasonable amount to really do justice to the idea, and make it something worth your money, and your 90-100mins of viewing time. It's not about a pay day, but about being able to realise a dream project that will hopefully lead to more stories along the line from the same universe, as there is a fascinating world to be built with these characters, and anything that happens as a result of this film getting made, will be a DIRECT by product of YOUR help.
If Bruce Campbell says YES? (Ash himself!! You KNOW it's a S-MART move!) If Samuel L Jackson says YES? (Yes it's Nick Fury, but we can dream, right?) If Sigourney Weaver says YES? (Ripley herself! How awesome would that be??) Give yourself a pat on the back, because YOU helped make it happen. There are a couple of people already attached (you may recognise them in the pitch video(, and one being circled, but we'll leave those surprises for down the line of the campaign, to give you something to look forward to.
WHERE WOULD IT BE FILMED?
The film is neutrally written as far as location is concerned, but it is being prepped with the US in mind, and with post-production in Europe. If we are able to make your donations go further in one location over another, then you can be sure we will go for that option, guaranteed.
HOW DO WE KNOW YOU'RE CAPABLE OF MAKING THIS FILM?
Well I'm glad you asked! Other than having had experience making many independent films before, all in different genres, I studied at film school in London, and went on to work on other sets of bigger productions in various capacities, and so have the technical experience and network to allow the kind of crew that will be skilled enough to pull off this sort of film, while also having the know how to deal with the industry professionals we will be hiring to work on the project.
Two of my features recently got distribution, and will be available in the US, as well as worldwide. What does this mean? That those projects of very little means but a lot of heart, were able to convince a distributor that they were worth putting out to the general public. I'm hoping that what this translates to is that with more means at our disposal, we will be able to do something that won't just sit on a shelf somewhere, or on youtube, as well as be pretty cool and entertaining as well.Share: