In the summer of 1966, world famous monk and peace activist Thomas Merton falls in love with a nursing student half his age, plunging him into the most agonizing predicament of his life. As he endeavors to prevent his secret romance from being discovered by his abbot, James Fox, Merton realizes he must finally choose between serving himself or serving the world.
Why Are We Making This Film?
Like millions of people before me [Ben], I first encountered Thomas Merton through his autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain. Merton invited me on a soul searching journey where I started to ask myself the tough questions about what Merton called the "true self": the place of freedom within all of us that is unscathed by fear, insecurity and hurt we've accumulated from our past. Over the next seven years as I delved further into Merton’s life and writings, I became convinced his story must be told on the big screen.
Merton is the most relatable person I have ever read. He lived his life openly and honestly. Even though he died over 40 years ago, his writings on peace, social justice, and spirituality are more relevant than ever. My ultimate hope is that this film will introduce Thomas Merton to an entirely new audience who might have never heard his name or picked up one of his books. I'm excited to think how this homage to Merton's legacy could potentially inspire millions of people from all generations, faiths and cultures to love the world in a deeper way.
If you've been impacted by Merton as I have, or if you would like to learn more about his brief but incredible life, I invite you to contribute to this project and help us share Merton's vision to inspire a world in desperate need of unselfish love and indiscriminate compassion. For a deeper look at my heart and vision for the film, visit this link: https://vimeo.com/66840378
What We Need & What You Get
Period pieces are notoriously expensive to film. But with the help of line producer Stephen Marinaccio (The Stoning of Soraya M., The Darkest Hour), we have created a modest budget of $8.3 million that will enable us to tell this beautifully redemptive story at a fraction of the typical cost without compromising quality. This is going to be a top notch production with big name actors and high production values.
With this campaign, we are seeking to raise $2,231,968, which will cover all of our development and pre-production costs (the money spent prior to the actual shoot). This means locking in a casting director, getting actors to commit to the project, securing locations, sets, wardrobe--virtually everything we need to unlock the rest of the budget. Stephen has worked out all of the details for us, right down to birthday cakes for anyone potentially celebrating a birthday on set!
All of this money will be held in escrow until we have succeeded in raising our entire film budget. Our accountants, Locatelli & Company, S.C. (http://www.locatellicpa.com), will control dispersement requests from the Production Accountant hired by Divine Comedy Entertainment, LLC. No money will be spent until the entire budget is raised. So you don't have to worry about us absconding to a tax haven in a warm country without an extradition treaty to the US or Canada.
Our ability to raise these funds on IndieGoGo will also help establish "proof of concept" for other potential investors and distributors. They'll see an army of people who aren't just planning to watch the film once it's made, they're willing to play a key role in making the film as well.
As if bragging rights were not enough, we've also included all sorts of tantalizing perks to reward your commitment to this project, including exclusive gifts, screen credits and a chance to play a walk-on role.
Other Ways You Can Help
Even if you can't spare any cold, hard currency, perhaps you can dig deep into the list of people you know who might see value in this story and want to help it become a reality. Please help us spread the word about this campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit and anywhere else Mertonites tend to congregate. We can't make this film without you. In fact, we don't want to make this film without you! So please join our team and help us make this movie happen.