Project: Death to Prom
Deadline: Thursday, May 10
Why it’s good: Death to Prom wears its John Hughes influences on its pink satin sleeve, but shakes up the central love triangle and celebrates “fabulousness” in a way that’s tailor-made for the 2010s. It tells of fashion-obsessed Rene and photographer Frankie, whose best-friendship is threatened when both Sasha (dreamboat jock) and Rene (who has a crush on Sasha) want to take Frankie to prom. Screenwriter Matt Stenerson has been submitting Death to Prom to script competitions for years; cinematographer Jeremy Wilker says he “instantly fell in love” when Stenerson let him read it. The producer/director duo are sponsored through independent media organization IFP Minnesota and have filmed and edited a slick teaser trailer, but need more money for production costs like equipment rental, location fees, and paying the cast and crew. While a pro-diversity, anti-discrimination message is evident in the film’s promotional material, the colorful, bubbly teaser is anything but preachy.
Rewards: Besides copies of the finished product and invitations to the premiere, Kickstarter rewards for the project include souvenirs from the film: props, a signed copy of the shooting script, and original artwork by the storyboard artist. One of the most intriguing offerings, a walk-on role in the movie, has already been snatched up by two lucky donors.
Why Kickstarter: Wilker had previously used the site in 2009 to raise money for his feature TRIUMPH67, which premiered with a sold-out screening at last year’s Minneapolis-St. Paul Film Festival. ”Kickstarter is NOT a ‘build it and they will come’ solution,” he cautions. “It is much more like a second job that requires you to be attentive and work hard when you are already tired out from your main career/life/kids. If you don’t already have a decent social network and if you try to do it alone, it’ll be extremely difficult.”
Last word: Stenerson was just selected as a finalist for the McKnight Screenwriting Fellowship for his latest version of Death to Prom, giving it particular cred as a movie worth making.