I am always amazed at the creativity of people around here. It seems like everyday I’m reading about a cool new project or better yet, seeing the fruits of someone’s labor and passion blossoming on stage, screen, page, or canvas. The latest to come along and get me excited is Prism, a (hopefully) forthcoming anthology film by six local filmmakers. I say “hopefully” because there is an Indiegogo campaign underway to raise funds. I also had the chance to speak with the project’s producer Anna Dale-Meunier. You’re going to want to learn more about this one, believe me.
A crowdfunded anthology film is an excellent way for aspiring filmmakers to make a feature for two reasons. First, it provides funding they wouldn’t have otherwise. And second, the narrative structure of multiple stories or chapters allows more than one filmmaker to contribute to the project, making it easier to accomplish than it would be for any on their own. I dig these sort of collaborative approaches, and thematically looking at love from a variety of perspectives (hence the name “Prism”), seals the deal for me on why this worth funding. I encourage you to read over the campaign page, the webpage, andcheck out the three updates released thus far (one, two, three). There are some good rewards for contributors and also, this group has a proven track record. I believe they will use the money well.
Producer Anna Dale-Meunier had some fascinating things to say about Prism, the creative team, and filmmaking in Brooklyn in general. I encourage you to read it and give funding the project some strong consideration. Here’s the campaign page again and here’s the film page. If you are going to give, please do so by April 8th.
GP: What inspired this project – both in regard to the choosing the theme of love and doing an anthology film?
Anna Dale-Meunier: An amazingly talented group of filmmakers decided to pull their resources together to create one feature. These guys, for the most part, have been working on short format projects for years. But for quite a few reasons, budgetary included, they haven’t been able to create as many features as they’d like. So the idea of doing an anthology came by wanting to make a feature we can all work on.
Choosing the theme and dealing with the idea of love came from us wanting to show the many facets of love in one platform. This time around, our approach is darker, and much different than the typical love story. We explore the other side of love, the scary side.
There are over 400 anthology films to date. More films than we realize use the anthology format. Whether it’s done by one director combining several stories like Tarantino in “Pulp Fiction” or multiple directors using a common location like “Paris, Je T’aime” and “New York I Love You”. The horror genre has also been using the anthology format with films like “VHS”. So it’s an interesting format for filmmakers as well as for the audience, who gets to experience several different styles, genres and emotions in one sitting.
GP: What, if any, connections exist between these filmmakers? I read that each film is independent of the rest, but I was curious if any of the filmmakers discussed their ideas with each other and helped develop them, or if everyone is offering their own thing and each will come in fresh for the others like a viewer would.
Anna: All seven of us met at different times, some dating back to 2005 and myself only 2 years ago. But we have all been working closely with each other on many different projects. Not only do we all work incredibly well together, but we’re also all very close friends. Whether it’s a project done under Dashford Media, started by Nick Snow; Trêo Pictures, started by Lee Peterkin; or a sketch for The Shorts Show, started by Corey S. Rutledge, we bring each other on to work on these shoots. It was easy to see from the start, that this group would be great together to embark on such a film.
Each film is indeed independent from the rest, but like most creative situations, we also all have an input into the stories. Ideas were discussed, all scripts were read by everyone, and opinions were shared. But ultimately, each writer/director has free reign on his own film. We have also been helping each other out in terms of being crew on each others shoots.
GP: It seems that all of the filmmakers have prior films made. Does this campaign to raise money allow anyone the ability to do things beyond what they may have already accomplished? What do you think of crowdfunding’s place in the future of filmmaking in general?
Anna: This is new territory in the sense that it’s all our first time using crowdfunding to finance a project. Previous films were self-financed or had investors give a small amount, or a combination of the two. We have all been working with micro-budgets in the past, which makes us very good at making high quality with little to no money. But for this project, we don’t want to struggle to get equipment and rely solely on favors. And along with crowdfunding, there will be an effort to find investors. Our aim might seem quite high on Indiegogo, but it’s important to remember that even with that amount, it is a minuscule budget to make a feature film. Especially since the average budget for a movie begins in the millions.
Crowdfunding is an amazing tool because the idea that someone can raise a large amount of money by asking for small contributions from many individuals. It is a lot of work though, and a campaign’s success can depend on a variety of factors. You can have the best idea in the world, but you need to get the word out there, with the right exposure, to actually get people to see it and be interested enough to donate money to it.
GP: As a producer, what is your role in making this project happen? Can you comment on any general details about the films, perhaps which genres may be represented or if any look at atypical relationships?
Anna: As the producer, I make sure to be the combining link between all the guys, and making sure things are getting done on time. They take care of the creative side of things and I’m here to put the logistical pieces together.
All of the story synopsis are posted on our website at prismanthology.com. 2 of the 6 chapters have already been shot. One of them is a sci-fi with robots and the other is a classic film noir. The other genres range from comedy to drama, but they all have a dark undertone of how love can be an irrational human behavior.
GP: What do you love about Greenpoint? What is the GP or, North Brooklyn in general, film community like?
Anna: Greenpoint really is my favorite neighborhood for several reasons. It’s location is perfect where you get the most perfect view of the city, Transmitter Park is awesome for that! It’s quiet yet full of life with it’s restaurants, bars, cafés, and such. The people in Greenpoint are overwhelmingly creative. As a filmmaker, you thrive being surrounded by musicians, visual artists and anyone who works in the creative field, not only to pull inspiration from but also for collaboration.
North Brooklyn is very interesting for film because there is a large indie community where people produce their own projects ranging from film to web series. But it’s also a popular area for large productions to come film in studios or on the streets, so you have a meeting of the two worlds.