Nelson Algren: The End Is Nothing, The Road Is All

A documentary film focusing on the struggles against marginalization of one of America's greatest and least understood authors, Nelson Algren.
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Denis Mueller
Film
Chicago, Illinois
United States
4 Team Members

Nelson Algren: The End is Nothing, the Road is All is an in-depth feature length documentary of one of America's greatest and least understood authors, Nelson Algren. This never before told compelling life story reveals a unique literary voice through rare interviews, historic archival footage and the gritty noirish voice of Algren on Algren. Kurt Vonnegut and Studs Terkel, literary giants in their own right, sing songs of praise along with many of his old friends, which makes this film seem like a hymn from the grave. Algren’s touching love affair with Simone de Beauvoir weaves it’s way through his life and helps to buffer the damaging impact of FBI and CIA surveillance, blacklisting and the rejection of his work by certain academics. 

This stylishly produced film embeds us in the 1950’s cold war world when Algren worked. While we anticipate it’s appeal to cinephiles and general audiences; appearances and interviews with Algren scholars Bettina Drew (Nelson Algren: A Life on the Wild Side) , Brooke Horvath (Understanding Algren), Paul Buhle, Meghan Emory and James Giles provide concise literary, social, and historic perspectives.

Nelson Algren wrote five novels, two collections of short stories, several road books, and countless other stories, reviews, and essays along with the prose poem Chicago: City on the Make. His work spanned six decades and speaks to generations of readers. While his best writing took place over 50 years ago his focus on the fears and disenchantment with our consumer culture were prophetic and still hit the mark today. Our experienced production team has been working intensely for over a decade on this project, it is nearly finished and NOW we need your support. Your contribution will make our film a reality and we promise a highly charged biography of one of America’s most important and almost forgotten writers.

Our crowdfunding campaign needs you to help us build a community and from this outreach we will create awareness in a new generation to celebrate the work of Nelson Algren. This younger generation of readers and thinkers will join with those post war babyboomers who knew of Algren and will provide a base of support for screenings around the country.

With your help we can finish the film and prepare for a release date in 2014. There will be no long wait for completion. Your support will be rewarded with fun gifts and the knowledge that you were instrumental in bringing this project to fruition. We will be premiering in Chicago in 2014. With your support we are mounting an innovative distribution plan that includes traditional venues such as festivals, campus screenings, television, book and literary club screenings and direct to consumer digital streaming.


We need $12,000 to help us complete the post-production of Nelson Algren: The End is Nothing, the Road is All. It is you we are turning to and your contribution will make this film possible. This money will go toward paying for the licensing of archival photographs and historic stock footage that are fundamental to illustrating and illuminating our story. Here is what we need:

HOW WE INTEND TO USE THE FUNDS

Making a film is expensive! We want to make the best one possible and with your support we will. Below are the areas of post-production to which we will be directing campaign funds. With your support for post-production, we are done  

  • Composer & Original Soundtrack
  • Film Graphics & Animations
  • Color Correction & Picture Work
  • Audio Mix & Sound Sweetening
  • Music Licensing
  • Archival Film Licensing
  • Archival Photographic Licensing

WHY DONATE?

Nelson Algren: The End is Nothing, the Road is All has been a labor of love for twenty-five years. First, Mark Blottner caught lightning in a bottle by video taping literary luminaries like Studs Terkel and Kurt Vonnegut along with old Algren friends while their memories were still fresh. He invested time, energy, and thousands of dollars to the project. Next, Denis Mueller came in and created a narrative - working nearly pro bono. Finally, Ilko Davidov brought his expertise as producer/editor of an award winning film on another cultural icon, William S. Burroughs. Nelson Algren’s story about the past hovers over the present like an eerie ghost, but you can help us bring it to fruition by donating now.

Ed Asner reveals Nelson Algren's impact on his life and work.

Television legend, winner of 7 Emmy's for acting, Ed Asner is a convincing voice in support of our film: Nelson Algren; The End is Nothing, The Road is All. The momentum is building. Join us now so we can celebrate together at the 2014 premiere!

Please spread the word about our film and make sure you share the news on Facebook and Twitter using the tools below to help.

The Team:

Denis Mueller (co-producer/director) has been making documentaries since 1986. His most popular film Howard Zinn: You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving was short-listed for an Academy Award nomination in 2005, the film was theatrically released in over sixty cities across North America. It also appeared in film festivals across the world and won Audience Awards at the Provincetown Film Festival, among others. You Can’t Be Neutral has been aired on the Sundance Channel, Link TV, Alberta Public Television and Free Speech TV. It is distributed by First Run Features in North America. He produced many films for MPI Home Video from 1987 until 2001. Including, The FBI’s War on Black America, 1990, 48 min. (distributed widely, winner Best Documentary Athens Independent Film and Video Festival). It is considered the definitive account of the FBI program COINTELPRO. The film enjoys a widespread underground following twenty-five years after it was produced.

Ilko Davidov (co-producer/director/editor) Ilko has produced and edited many award-winning documentaries, such as: Sacred Sounds (2000), a feature documentary about sacred world music; About Face (2005), a feature documentary about German and Austrian Jewish refugees who fought in the Second World War; producer and director of Unauthorized and Proud of It shown on Free Speech Television (2005), a documentary on Todd Loren, the publisher of Rock ’N’ Roll Comics; and Children in Exile (2007), a film on the children exiled to the Soviet Gulag prison camps. Davidov’s most recent film, the documentary William S. Burroughs: A Man Within, a biography of the beat writer, which Davidov co-produced and edited has been distributed theatrically and broadcast on Independent Lens and European television.

In 2008, Davidov co-founded the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest), an annual 4-day, multi-venue event highlighting the crossover of film and song.

Mark Blottner (co-producer/director) has worked on independent video productions ranging from community-organized documentaries to the 1997 BBC TV documentary A Walk on the Wild Side as a researcher/fixer. Mark has an extensive history in corporate interactive design and development for a variety of distribution channels including mobile, web, and desktop digital media.

Find This Campaign On
$12,552USD
raised by 105 people in 2 months
105% funded
No time left
$12,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on April 20, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    SOCIAL MEDIA SHOUTOUT

    Every little bit counts! Supporters will receive a shout-out on Facebook and Twitter.

    1 claimed
  • $20USD
    THANK YOU on website

    You will receive a heartfelt thank you email from us, plus your name listed on a special "Thank You" page on the official film website, and a social media shoutout.

    15 claimed
  • $30USD
    3 DAY DIGITAL LINK

    3 DAY digital link to “Nelson Algren: The End is Nothing, the Road is All” and you will be credited on the website and social media.

    6 claimed
  • $50USD
    DIGITAL LINK - limited time

    You will be one of the first people to have a limited time digital link to “Nelson Algren: The End is Nothing, the Road is All” and you will be credited on the website and social media.

    8 claimed
  • $75USD
    SIGNED ALGREN DVD

    An autographed copy of the Nelson Algren DVD, signed by co-directors Denis Mueller, Ilko Davidov, and Mark Blottner; plus your name in the "Special Thanks" in the end credits of the film, and you will be credited on the website and social media.

    25 claimed
  • $125USD
    SIGNED ZINN OR BURROUGHS DVD

    A signed DVD of “Howard Zinn: You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train” or “William S. Burroughs: A Man Within”, a limited time free digital link to our Nelson Algren film, your name in the "Special Thanks" end credits, and you will be credited on the website and social media.

    6 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2014
  • $250USD
    CHICAGO/NY/LA PREMIERE

    Two (2) Chicago, New York City, or Los Angeles premiere tickets, lunch with one of the directors of the film, the signed Algren DVD, plus a "Benefactor" credit on a separate card (this credit may be shared with others) in the end credits of the film, and credit on the website and social media. Travel expenses not included.

    3 out of 10 claimed
  • $300USD
    PRIVATE CHICAGO SCREENING

    A special screening and reception will be provided to you and a guest at a luxurious location in Chicago overlooking Lake Michigan. Limited to 10 people (directors will be present for the event) and you will get a free DVD copy of “Howard Zinn: You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train” and “William S. Burroughs: A Man Within”, plus a "Benefactor" credit on a separate card (this credit may be shared with others) in the end credits of the film, and credit on the website and social media.

    1 out of 6 claimed
  • $500USD
    PRIVATE DINNER WITH DIRECTORS

    A private dinner and conversation in Chicago with the directors, two (2) Chicago premiere tickets, the signed Algren DVD, plus a credit on a separate card in the end credits of the film (this credit may be shared with others), and credit on the website and social media.

    0 out of 8 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    NELSON ALGREN WALKING TOUR

    Congratulations! You are now a very special supporter and you will receive a guided walking tour of Nelson Algren’s Wicker Park, a private dinner and conversation in Chicago with one of the directors, two (2) premiere tickets, signed Algren DVD, and a "Benefactor" credit in the end credits of the film (this credit may be shared with others); plus, you will get a free copy of the Zinn and Burroughs DVDs, and credit on the website and social media.

    2 out of 8 claimed
  • $2,000USD
    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER

    You will be an Associate Producer of this movie. In addition, you will receive five (5) Algren books signed by the directors, a guided walking tour of Nelson Algren’s Wicker Park, two (2) premiere tickets, plus a private dinner and conversation in Chicago with all of the directors, and the signed Algren, Zinn and Burroughs DVDs, and credit on the website and social media.

    0 out of 6 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    PRIVATE SCREENING PARTY

    Private screening with catering at a venue in Chicago with you and 9 of YOUR guests + the directors! You will be an Associate Producer of this movie. In addition, you will receive five (5) Algren books signed by the directors, a guided walking tour of Nelson Algren’s Wicker Park, the signed Algren, Zinn and Burroughs DVDs, and credit on the website and social media. We will try to please you.

    0 out of 2 claimed
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