In the next Making It Big, I’m going from a sleek vision of the future to a feature film about the tough lives of three young Navajo struggling to find their success in a reservation border-town defined by bleak futures in the new film Drunktown’s Finest.
Director & writer Sydney Freeland alongside her production crew has spent 7 years converting her background and hometown life to create this potentially beautiful tale of a college-bound student, a father-to-be, and a promiscuous transsexual struggling to escape their Indian reservation.
Freeland’s inspiration could not be more poignant as her hometown in Gallup, New Mexico was famously dubbed by ABC’s 20/20 in the late 1980s of Drunktown, USA; a label that still remains and an honour no town wants to receive. However this project does not intend to simply highlight the misery of their homes – Freeland wanted to show that there is more to her hometown, or any other dire environment, than drunks, drugs and desolation. In particular, Drunktown’s Finest wants to prove to people that there is hope even in the darkest hours through rich cultures and friendships.
Many independent films today wish to highlight their culture, society and their unique story, yet there are only so many that can truly capture the imagination. Not every story will be as fascinating as their owners believe. Looking through Kickstarter & IndieGoGo, I’ve seen hundreds of projects that plan to revolutionize the world and cause the audience to soul search better than any film previously. They’re all noble projects that are (mostly) well thought out and honourable but when thinking about which one to promote, Drunktown’s Finest caught my eye for making something different and holding the potential to achieve a truly soul stirring story.
To find out more, I emailed producer Jasper Zweibel to ask further what made this project unique or an extra edge. To play the role of the lead transsexual, they managed to recruit transgendered, Native American porn star, Carmen Moore. As Zweibel adds “I asked Carmen, and she said that almost every one of her scenes is something she’s experienced in her life, so the emotion she brings to the screen is 100% real.”
You might’ve noticed that this has been written largely in the past tense and that’s because they’ve filmed it. It’s all there. It’s now waiting and ready to finish it post-production stage. Zweibel provided me this heart-warming little background story from the filming in Gallup about how there was a pack of starving dogs, one of whom had just given birth to a litter of puppies. The mom was skin and bones, and clearly unable to feed her new family. One of our grips adopted one of her pups, took it to the vet and got it all of its shots, then took it home and gave it to his little girl. He named it Yoda.
All adorableness aside, I asked him, in all seriousness, why Kickstarter? “When we started filming, we knew that we wouldn’t have enough money to do the post-production and maybe not even production. However, the cast/crew believed in the project so strongly that many of them actually spent thousands of their own dollars on various unforeseen expenses.”
That’s pretty impressive. Having worked on a few productions, costs do rack up at impressive rates and to see the cast and crew place their own (large) amounts of money into this project only highlights the positivity and good feeling you get from this project.
The movie itself completed production in August, but they require the sound, post production, music and composition to complete the picture. Their goal is to enter it for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival so their need for funds is clear and fair.
I feel this project does deserve your attention and it may seem to be a safer investment for a project that has already completed shooting with all new funds here going to place the proverbial production cherries on top and deliver a fascinating story to Sundance and audiences beyond.
If you’ve got a film that you wish to promote, get in touch via Twitter and if it’s awesome, I’ll give you some free press!