WE DID IT!!!
Our Indiegogo fundraiser was a HUGE success! We are so grateful to all our AMAZING supporters for joining us on this adventure, and we can't wait to start filming July 3, 2013 in NW Arkansas.
If you've just discovered the Valley Inn film project, please have a look at our videos and all the project details below. If you'd like to join the Valley Inn Team by making a tax deductible donation to the film (through our non-profit fiscal sponsor, Filmmakers Alliance) or for information on becoming a corporate sponsor or equity investor in the film, please visit our website: valleyinnfilm.com
Now...Let's go make this MOVIE!!!!!!!
This movie is all about friends, family and community coming together to create something special; and TOGETHER, with your help, we can make this charming, smart, funny and thought-provoking independent film.
Valley Inn is a romantic comedy that tells the story of Emily, a New Jersey college student, who finds herself in a dusty dying small southern town, a thousand miles from home, selling books door-to-door for the summer. Through a series of misadventures in “the Bookfield,” and her growing friendships with the colorful local residents, Emily begins to discover what is most valuable in life, at the Valley Inn.
More than a movie, Valley Inn is a love-letter to small town America. A tribute to a quickly vanishing way of life. And above all, as all movies should, Valley Inn will entertain and transport you. Just like Emily, we know that audiences will fall in love with the Valley Inn, the small town setting and all its quirky characters.
Hindsville, Arkansas (population 75) and the real Valley Inn Café, are not only the main locations for the film, they were the inspiration for this sweet story by NYC-based writer, producer, director and Arkansas native Kim Swink. Although fiction, many of the scenes in Valley Inn were inspired by events we attended while researching and scouting for the script. In fact, most of the location footage in our video above was shot during these scouting trips around NW Arkansas (and if our scouting shots look that good just think how good the actual movie is going to look!).
HOW YOU CAN HELP PRODUCE VALLEY INN
You can join our Valley Inn team and help this indie-film dream become a reality by purchasing one of our great "Perks" right here on Indiegogo. Just click on the "Perk" you want then pay with a credit card or Paypal. It’s that easy!
What is Indiegogo?
Indiegogo is an online fundraising platform for creative projects that represents an entirely new relationship between project creators and fans/supporters of the arts, such as independent film. Referred to as "crowdfunding," Indiegogo allows supporters to literally become part of the team that will make this movie; and there is nothing more exciting than watching your project come to life through public support.
Like all "crowdfunding" websites, Idiegogo deducts a percentage of the funds raised through their platform. Because the fee is much lower for projects that reach their goal than those that don't, we've set our goal lower than what we, ideally, would like to raise to better ensure that as much of your contribution as possible ends up on the screen.
Exceeding the goal would not only be truly amazing, it will allow us to shoot the movie we envision, and have additional funds available for important expenses like original music, marketing and the high cost of showcasing Valley Inn at film festivals around the country (e.g., Sundance in Park City, Utah, SXSW in Austin, Texas and The Little Rock Film Festival in Arkansas), which is crucial for the success of an independent film with our budget.
In order to qualify for the many benefits of the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) “Ultra Low Budget Agreement," our total production budget cannot exceed $200,000. We've already raised a substantial portion of our financing from private investors; enough to set a start date and begin locking down our cast. We’re using Indiegogo, as well as our non-profit fiscal sponsor, Filmmakers Alliance and corporate sponsorships, to make sure we cross the threshold we need to shoot the movie this summer as scheduled and give Valley Inn the production value it deserves and needs to succeed.
One of the reasons we're able to make Valley Inn for the lowest possible budget, is the generous support we have from the Arkansas community, including many local businesses who are generously sponsoring us with in-kind donations such as free locations, wardrobe, equipment, food and lodging. By shooting Valley Inn entirely in northwest Arkansas, with a very talented, dedicated and largely local cast and crew, we'll also be able to take advantage of generous tax incentives offered by the Arkansas State Film Commission; making our budget, and your contribution, go even further.
Other ways you can back this project
Aside from backing us financially, another way you can participate is to SPREAD THE WORD about the project and our Indiegogo campaign! Email your friends, Tweet it, post it to Instagram or an online forum, “Like” our Facebook page then share it with your friends, make smoke signals... any way you can get the word out is a HUGE help! There's a "Share This Campaign" section right below our video, that make spreading the word really easy.
Emily Mason, has been recruited to sell inspirational books door-to-door for the summer. The movie opens at the book company’s headquarters on the last frenzied day of “Booksellers’ Boot Camp,” where, for the past week the company’s manic sales tactics and promises of huge commissions have been drilled into the heads of the over-pumped college recruits.
Armed only with determination, enthusiasm and her 40-pound sample book-bag, Emily hits the road and arrives in her assigned territory, the rural towns of Madison County, Arkansas, intent on making big bucks and sharing all her knowledge with the locals.
She takes a room at the Valley Inn in Hindsville (pop. 75) where wise and witty owner, Penny (secretly fretting over the future of her beloved café since the new highway by-pass re-routed traffic right around "Downtown" Hindsville), and no-nonsense waitress, Althea, fill Emily in on all the local gossip about residents such as:
- “The Don Juan of Hindsville,” Gary Noble, a charming rodeo champ just a bit past his prime, who is determined to break his own bull-riding record (or his neck) in one last hoorah at the upcoming rodeo in an attempt to win the heart of Althea...
- Affable Ray Bebee, a retired farmer, who always seems to happen along on his tractor just in time to rescue Emily from some mishap or other...
- 17 year old barrel racer, Callie Anders, who’s gunning to be crowned Rodeo Queen...
- Callie's unscrupulous and over-bearing father, Paul, who owns half the county and will do anything to see his daughter wear that crown...
- Paul’s trophy-wife Olivia, an ex-rodeo queen and fading beauty, who eases life’s little disappointments with a little Jack Daniels…
- Then there's Lee Dickson, as good-natured as he is good-looking, he seems un-ambitious to the highly motivated Emily (but a good “Book Woman” should know…you can’t judge a book by its cover)
While peddling her books door-to-door Emily’s adventures take us through the rural towns and countryside of northwest Arkansas with it's local country music jamboree, cattle auction yards and dreams of rodeo glory. Her single-minded focus on big commissions is rattled when she finds herself stranded in a flooded fish-filled car on a low-water bridge, chased by dogs, thwarted by an over-competitive “Book Brother” and threatened by a shotgun wielding meth-head.
Despite all the adversity, Emily still buys into the company rhetoric and eventually her perseverance starts to pay off. But, just as she begins to make the big sales she's dreamed of, Lee begins to question her motives and the company’s ethics and sales tactics.
All the characters and plot-lines converge at the biggest event of the year, “Rodeo of the Ozarks,” where, in the exciting climax of Valley Inn, love is found, Rodeo Queens are crowned and Emily finally learns just how much she didn't know.
THE STORY OF THE STORY
Valley Inn was born out of 2 story ideas that Kim Swink has wanted to write for years. Emily’s door-to-door book-selling journey was inspired by the real-life tales – equally horrific and hysterical – that Kim heard from college friends returning after grueling summer jobs doing just that, selling Christian and inspirational books door-to-door, in towns hundreds of miles from home where they didn't know a soul.
The 'Hindsville story' took shape during many breakfasts shared by Kim and her sister (Executive Producer, Kerri Elder) at the real Valley Inn Café. Over countless plates of biscuits and gravy, Kerri told Kim about the area, it's rich history and some of the goings-on in town including the construction of the Highway 412 By-pass that, once opened, literally put the Valley Inn Cafe and much of the town of Hindsville out of business. This sad news and the spotlight it put on the dilemma of disappearing small town America, was the catalyst for this film project.
In order to view small town America through the eyes of an outsider, Kim added the fish-out-of water plot-line of Emily's book-selling adventures then invited her friends, novelist and screenwriter Nelsie Spencer, and producer Samara Yeshaiek, to play real life fish-out-water and come on down to northwest Arkansas for a little visit.
In Arkansas, the three New Yorkers witnessed calves being auctioned off (not as pets, much to vegetarian Nelsie’s dismay) at The Sale Barn; watched amazing local talent at the Little Ol’ Oprey; met some of Hindsville’s wonderful residents like A.T. Smith, owner of the local mercantile; attended the Rodeo of the Ozarks where they lunched with rodeo queens and rode on a wagon-train traveling 100 miles to join the rodeo's opening day parade. Just like Emily, Yankees Nelsie and Samara fell madly in love with the people, the places and the stories.
Kerri and Blake went to work pulling together local resources and the immense talents of the Arkansas film community, while back in NY Kim and Nelsie took to their laptops and the rest is -- well, the rest is now a script called Valley Inn, soon to be a movie, with your help... because Valley Inn is a true collaboration of friends, family and community!
THE REAL VALLEY INN CAFE
We’re so happy to announce...after years of being closed, the real Valley Inn Café is scheduled to re-open it's doors this spring just in time for the cast and crew to enjoy biscuits and gravy every morning during production of Valley Inn!
THE VALLEY INN TEAM
Collectively, the production team of “Valley Inn” has not only produced a variety of television programs as well as participated in 15 independent films as producers, production management and production support staff, but also have created more than ten successful businesses ranging from production entities to real estate development to computer technology while managing in excess of one hundred fifty people across the country.
In addition to the stated positions, the following team members will also be driving people to the set, making sandwiches for the crew and wearing the fifteen other hats required to bring a labor of love like Valley Inn to life.
KIM SWINK Writer, Producer, Director
and CHRIS SPENCER Co-Director
Kim and Chris have lived, raised their family and worked in television production in NYC for more than 20 years. Originally from Arkansas, Kim has been a freelance writer, producer and director for clients including HBO, The Independent Film Channel, Comedy Central, Bravo, and Sesame Workshop (a.k.a. Children’s Television Workshop) and directed such talent as comedians Chris Rock, Whoopie Goldberg, Sinbad, Bernie Mac, Andrew “Dice” Clay and The Kids In The Hall; musicians Erykah Badu, George Jones and Randy Travis; and actors Kyle McGloughlin, Lara Flynn Boyle and Virginia Madsen. She has written and directed several short films and also created and produced the Flywheel Film Festival in New York City, which produced and showcased 18 short films by 18 directors.
In addition to numerous industry awards, Chris is an Emmy Award-winning director who, since moving to New York from his native New Zealand, has produced and directed television shows for HBO, VH-1 and Comedy Central as well as numerous commercials, marketing campaigns and music videos. He has shot with an impressive list of talent including: Michael Jackson, Tom Hanks, Jamie Foxx, Robin Williams, Emma Thompson, Bill Maher, James Gandolfini, Sarah Jessica Parker, Queen Latifah and The Rolling Stones. Chris is currently an Executive Vice-President at HBO in New York City where he oversees the production and creation of promotional content and interstitial programming for all 15 HBO and Cinemax channels.
Valley Inn is their first collaboration on a feature film and they are very excited.
CHRIS and KERRI ELDER Executive Producers
Native Arkansans Kerri and Chris Elder have made Springdale their home for the past 20 years. Their entrepreneurial spirit and varied successful companies have established them as valuable members of the Northwest Arkansas business community. This is their first, but certainly won’t be their last, venture as independent film producers with a focus on positive, family-friendly films shot in Arkansas and employing Arkansans, for the mutual benefit of the local economy, film industry, and enrichment of the area.
SAMARA YESHAIEK Producer
Samara’s feature films include Into My Heart for Jean Doumanian Productions (Mighty Aphrodite, Bullets Over Broadway), Say You’ll Be Mine, Outside Providence, A Shot At Glory, Ciao America, and When Zachary Beaver Came To Town. In July of 2001, Samara helped to launch the New York based Revere Pictures where she not only worked on creating the company’s financial and developmental structure, but was responsible for the delivery, distribution and marketing of their films I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead starring Clive Owen and Charlotte Rampling and The Door In The Floor, starring Kim Basinger and Jeff Bridges. In 2002 Samara co-produced Corn, starring Jena Malone (Pride and Prejudice, Donnie Darko, Stepmom) and in 2003 she produced Approaching Heaven starring Mathew Carey (The Banger Sisters, Old School). Other films include Waltzing Anna and New Jersey Film Festival winner Second City’sBuzzKill. In 2009 she began producing award-winning promos for HBO’s Treme, In Treatment, True Blood, How to Make it In America, Life’s Too Short, Bored to Deathand Girls. While living in Brooklyn with her family, Samara continues to produce promotional and marketing work for television and online companies and is in development of a TV series and two feature films.
NELSIE SPENCER Writer
Nelsie's career as a writer began in 1987 when her two-character play, My Heart Belongs to Daddy (co-written with co-star Laury Marker) premiered at Lucille Lortel's White Barn Theatre in Westport, Ct.This was the first of many sold-out and critically acclaimed productions. As a writer and performer Nelsie has worked with super agent Ari Emanuel, Jane Fonda, Dorothy Lyman, Gloria Steinem, and Tony-Award Winning producer and director Dash Epstein and Morton De Costa respectively. Her sexy, comic novel, The Playgroup, was published in 2003 by St. Martins and her romantic comedy screenplay, A Girl's Best Friend, was recently optioned and is slated to shoot this year. Nelsie was also a stand-up comic and radio talk show host. She is currently ghostwriting two memoirs and rewriting her black comedy Day of the Dead Daddy.
BLAKE ELDER Director of Photography, Co-Producer
Blake has been making films in Northwest Arkansas since the ripe old age of ten. After completing studies at The New York Film Academy, Blake has worked on productions for HBO, A & E (Arts and Entertainment Network) and has been an Associate Producer, Director of Photography and Editor for Oktane Media Ventures in New York City. In the summer of 2011, he was the Director of Photography and a Producer for the feature film Five Dates. Blake has directed, produced, written, edited, and/or shot numerous short films, such as Lasting the After, and promotional videos for clients including J.B Hunt and the Nantucket Comedy Festival. He is currently the Founder and President of South State Productions.
KENN WOODARD Co-Producer
Kenn has twenty-five years of experience in theater, film and television in both national and international media markets. He recently produced the award winning short, The Sowers, which won the Audience Choice and Best Cinematographers Award at the 4320 Film Fest in Bentonville in 2012. Last year he worked on four feature films, three short films by Arkansas directors and two web series, as well as directed his first music video, December Rain, for local artist, Tracy Pruitt. Born in Arkansas, Kenn has returned and is currently a Board member and Creative Director of Seedling Film Association and he is also on the Board for Last Night Fayetteville.
We’re so happy to have the following actors attached and excited to be a part of this production:
Candyce Hinkle, Kenn Woodard, Jordan Scott, Mark Landon Smith, Mandy Fason, Jaclyn Marlan, Hugh Kincaid and Jocelyn Morelli are among the talented Arkansas actors who have been cast to date.
COLLEY BAILEY, Lee Dickson
Colley caught the acting bug while doing his best James Dean impersonation in a high school stage production of Rebel Without a Cause. After attending the University of Central Arkansas as a Theater major, he headed to LA where he studied with Ivana Chubbuck Studios and worked with Actor’s Advantage Showcase. His feature film career began in 2010 with leading roles in Donner Pass and Madison County. Once he began writing Worldline: The Story of Talon Evans and studying to become a producer of his own material, Colley decided to bring his film career back home and form Lone Rock Productions, in order to utilize the incredible talent pool of writers, directors, cinematographers and composers coming out of his home state, Arkansas.
LOOK WHO'S TALKING ABOUT VALLEY INN...
Celebrated columnist, Mike Masterson in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazzette (this wonderful Op-Ed about the real Valley Inn Cafe and our fictional Valley Inn was written prior to our move to Indiegogo from Kickstarter)
We just added a BONUS TO ALL PERKS and a NEW PERK level!
We are so grateful to all our Backers who have already joined Team Valley Inn that we want to officially and forever thank you all in the film credits. No matter the Perk level, your name will appear in the movie's credits under "Special Thanks" or "Valley Inn Team" (give us your opinion on which is cooler).
And, to make it possible for even more supporters to join our team we've added a new $10 Perk with great incentives (including the film credit)!