I was working on an early draft of this script last year, when Superstorm Sandy flooded many of my neighbors and friends. I considered shelving the project. After all, who would want to watch a short film about a mermaid in Red Hook in light of everything that had happened?
That's when the idea struck me for the current story: what would it be like if someone who had lost everything in the storm had the opportunity to confront an emissary from the sea? This film is dedicated to the resilient people of Red Hook, and all of those who have a complicated, beautiful, and sometimes difficult relationship with the ocean.
When Hurricane Sandy flooded Pepper's Brooklyn apartment, it washed away her cameras, all her photographs, and her love for the ocean. A year later, she can't bring herself to take a single photograph. Until one night, when a mysterious, soaking wet young woman appears on the streets of Red Hook, Brooklyn. Pepper takes the young woman in, hoping to help her. But she soon realizes that there are supernatural forces at work -- Selene is a mermaid, and she has come to show Pepper the true nature of the sea.
Filmmaking is an expensive enterprise. My goal for this short film is honor Pepper and Selene's story by filming it in a beautiful, cinematic style. Pepper and the Salt Sea will look and sound like a movie you would pay to see at a theater. To achieve that, we are hiring professional crew, casting incredible actors, using cinema-grade cameras, sound, and lighting equipment, finding amazing locations, and taking the time we need to make this film right.
Don't get me wrong -- a Hollywood film would spend my entire budget in one day on folding chairs and granola. I have gotten really good over the past nine years at turning limited resources into high-quality films, and we have put together an amazing team for this one. My dedicated cast and crew are willing to work on my passion project for a fraction of what they get paid professionally. However, unlike most similar projects, I am determined to pay them.
To give you a sense of what the money will be used for, here is a breakdown of my budget, by category:
Don Downie - Director
Don is a self-taught filmmaker, who has spent the last 9 years creating media for film, television, interactive, and immersive audiences. Before that, he spent 10 years working as a director, actor, and puppeteer in the New York theater scene.
Recent directing credits include directing the award-winning pilot The Pickup Chicks; a 32 webisode sitcom called Caffeine & Crullers; and an interactive feature film experiment titled Blood Junkies. Other projects include a Moby music video, web commercials for Allstate Insurance and Leinenkugel's beer, and documentary shorts for the Partnership for Student Advocacy and Reuters. Don’s DP credits include the independent feature film Wedgerino, Food Network’s CHOPPED, and NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Commercial clients include Toyota, NFL, 21st Century Auto Insurance, and Band-Aid.
Kyle I. Kelley - Cinematographer
Kyle studied filmmaking at Ithaca College, New York. His work ranges from award-winning fiction films to music videos to feature documentaries. Kyle has worked under Emmy winning cinematographers Andrew Young and Buddy Squires on several PBS documentaries--seeing the beautiful images they were able to create inspired him to strive for the same, regardless of genre.
A verified gear head, Kyle combines a firm foundation in traditional cinematic techniques with a love for experimentation. He loves to use creative methodology and cutting-edge equipment to realize every crazy idea to its fullest potential.
Recent Films: Worlds We Created, Like A F%@k!ng Punk, MUTT, The Cocks of the Walk
Min Soo Elle Kim - Producer
Min Soo produces narrative, documentary and commercial films, promos and video projects. Most recently, she produced Wedgerino, a feature film now in post-production, Wednesday with Anna, a narrative short currently in festival circuits, and The Two-Minute Review, a web series for Kozak Films. Min Soo began her work in film while growing up in Hollywood, taking on production, art and wardrobe departments on many projects ranging from small independent films to studio movies. Her experience includes the set decoration for J.J. Abrams' Super 8, wardrobe for Stop Loss, costume design for an art film in Tel Aviv, Night Before the Morning Sun and co-production for the feature, Then There's the Afterlife. She is currently in New York City producing and production managing commercials and promos for the likes of Bunker, bobsyouruncle, RSA Films, Discovery Channel and FX Networks, to name a few. She continues to explore new and creative content.
Stacie Capone - Producer / Actress
Stacie's producing credits include the feature film Blood Junkies, the narrative pilot Exit Strategy for Teen Nick, and numerous commercials, short films, and web series. Stacie created and produced the narrative web pilot The Pickup Chicks, which won ZoomTilt Media's TV Reset Project competition. Stacie takes pride in producing projects that are not only efficient and on-budget, but also wonderful places to work and create.
In addition to her production credits, Stacie is an accomplished actress, with numerous film, and stage credits. Stacie has spoken at industry events on subjects such as producing independent film and on the intersection of food and social media. She is an acknowledged expert on social food media, and is a featured personality on mobile platforms such as forkly and recco.
Juliette Von Hess - Production Design
Juliette's recent film projects include the music video The Day, for Moby. She is an established home decorator, with a background in visual merchandising and fashion accessories design. Juliette is naturally drawn to bold colors, playful furniture arrangements and uncluttered aesthetics.