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Home Burial

Spurred by the sight of their child's months old grave, a husband and wife confront their child's death and question each other's grieving.

Home Burial is a short film based on Robert Frost's stark and striking poem.

"This poem has tugged at me since I first read it in high school, right through my early-college Frost-disavowal, and my late college Frost-re-embracement (due in large part to the Frost-centeredness of my esteemed professor Christian Wiman). It’s a simple scene: a husband and a wife fight. They fight because they have not grieved their terrible mutual loss together; they blame one another for the way each has chosen to grieve (or not) alone. They don’t know how to fight with one another. This is the scene of what I suppose is their first real semblance of a fight, and, I presume, their last. It doesn’t go well.

I think the attraction for me has always been the humanity of their fight. They blame each other, hate each other, for words, words that were spoken they wish hadn’t been, words they feel they needed and didn’t get. I’ve never had a relationship without such resentments. As a husband, and now, a father (I swear that second part came after I had written this; I’m not so morose as to write such material when I’ve just had my first child), I’m looking forward to this particular exploration of marriage, life and grief."

-Jeff Newburg, Writer of Home Burial

Home Burial will be a blend of impressionistic exteriors and grounded interiors, modestly accenting an earnest period film. Inserts of nature, the mans’ hands working in the out-of-doors, the dirt, the walk back to the house will all play a key role in setting the stage. Once inside, the interior imagery will be rooted in the couple’s struggle, void of bright colors, but rich in contrast. The costume and design will be true to the time, but seamlessly integrated, keeping attention directed to the performances. In all, the visuals will play into a meditative tone, centering on a couple’s severe pain.

Led by a dynamic original score by Arcade Fire’s Will Butler, the music and sound design will feed into Home Burial’s meditative aesthetic. Sound design will be sparse, but gratifying. The exteriors will be filled with the rich sounds of nature while the interiors will be left bare, occupied with the sounds of a tragically empty house. When married with the visuals, Home Burial will be a powerful and beautiful experience for a serious audience.

"The music for the short film will hopefully evoke Robert Frost--formal but conversational; embedded in the early 20th century but still relevant. Darker than you might expect. Bartok meets John Carpenter."

-Will Butler, Composer for Home Burial

The cast and crew is comprised of both established and up-and-coming artists who have come to know each other as friends and professionals. Members of the  crew have worked together in the past to create visual art, music, short films, poetry and fiction, music videos, and documentaries. They share a passion for telling impactful stories with skill and artistry. Please click on them below to see their past work.

 

 

 

"I've worked with Jeff Newburg on various art projects since our college days. I'm excited to contribute to a film of his, and to collaborate with the rest of the folks assembled around this piece."

-Will Butler, Composer

 

 

 

 

Jeff Newburg - Writer, Director, Actor

Jeff Newburg is an actor, writer and filmmaker who lives in LA with his wife Kelly and newborn daughter Winifred. You might know him from his guest and recurring roles on the television your mother watches—Criminal Minds, Days of Our Lives—or perhaps you’ve seen him yourself on Weeds. Some of his work can be viewed at jeffnewburg.tumblr.com.

 

 

Matt Litwiller - Director

Matt Litwiller is a director and producer based in Los Angeles.  He started his career at the Walt Disney Studios, working in marketing and production technology.  While there, he had the opportunity to make the short film, Telescope, a visual sci-fi that implemented a series of brand new production technologies. Matt quickly realized his desire to pursue filmmaking full time and left the mouse for a life of uncertainty and instability (but he thinks it's worth it). Prior to Telescope, Matt co-directed the documentary short film Language of the Unheard, which screened around the world including the Cannes Short Film Corner. 

Jessica Collins - Actress

Jessica Collins most recently wrapped production on Zero Dark Thirty opposite Jessica Chastain and directed by Kathryn Bigelow. In 2010, Collins starred in the AMC series Rubicon and previously starred on the ABC series The Nine. Other television credits include House, Blue Bloods, Law and Order: Los Angeles, The Good Wife, CSI, Law and Order: Criminal Intent and Ghost Whisperer.  Collins made her feature debut in the 2009 film, Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, opposite Bryce Dallas Howard and Ellen Burstyn.  She made her Broadway debut in the 2009 production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses and also starred in the world premiere of Manic Flight Reaction at Playwrights Horizons, as well as We Live Here for Manhattan Theatre Club and A Month in the Country at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Collins is a graduate of The Juilliard School.

 

 

Producer - William Trowbridge

Art Director - Molly Burgess

Director of Photograpy - Travis LaBella

Costume Designer - Ashlie Kodsy

Production Manager - Jac Reyno

 

Translating a poem into a short film is an ambitious task. And not just any poem--a poem by one of our most beloved American writers, a poem to which we feel a heavy respnsibility. It will take a dedicated group of collaborative storytellers to pull this off. And that’s where our team comes in. What began as an idea by our writer and co-director Jeff Newburg has blossomed into existence, made possible by a cast and crew comprised of like-minded artists. We have come from all parts of the country, having moved to LA with hopes of making impactful films with visual appeal. A story with this emotional weight has the potential to do just that.

All of the money we raise will go towards

  • equipment rentals

  • location fees

  • insurance

  • costumes and props

  • food and travel

  • post production costs

  • festival fees

 

We understand that not everyone is in a position to donate to our campaign, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help and be a part of this film.

Please do what you can to get the word out and make some noise about this campaign!

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