FUNDED! This project was successfully funded on 31 October, 2012. Find other projects
Set during a summer of forest fires in a small Montana town, FIRE SEASON is a short dramatic film that details a young girl’s first love with a charismatic boy who hides a dark secret.
The film stars talented newcomers Nicole Halverson, Ella Steinberg and Derrick Mychaylo. Film and television actress Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Friday Night Lights, Winter in the Blood) stars as Genevieve.
FIRE SEASON is a film by Courtney Saunders
It is the time of forest fires. Days are hot and dry and layers of smoke hover in the sky, the sun is red, and flames fill the television screen. Living at the edge of the woods, there is the chance the forest will consume its foolhardy inhabitants.
ANNE, 11, and her sister TRUDIE, 15, live an isolated existence in a modern house rising out of the pines like a spaceship. Their father is gone; their mother, GENEVIEVE, is charming, glamorous, oft drunken—and unavailable.
The sisters’ lives are altered by the appearance of WILL, 16. He is a soulful, vulnerable boy who works on their lawn and transfixes Trudie and Anne. A band of ‘orphans,’ the three create a makeshift family. As fires move closer, Genevieve plans an “apocalypse party.” Will shows up, uninvited, and reveals to Trudie his deep feelings for her. But too late—his own fires have been tragically unleashed back home. The question is, will Trudie and Anne be swept up in the flames, or will they get away?
NEED FOR PROJECT:
By telling a lush, darkly romantic story set at the edge of a wooded wilderness, seen through the eyes of a young girl, FIRE SEASON portrays the West as a kind of fierce wonderland— where the threat of living in fire’s path creates a heightened sense of danger, but also casts life in an almost enchanted glow.
This is a folktale, a story about survivors, about survival, about magical thinking and the safety of home. It provides a new reading on the history and genre of "homesteader accounts", but in an unexpected and off-kilter way— filtered through the sensibility of writer/director Courtney Saunders, a Southern woman crafting an honest love letter to a land she never thought she’d call home. The goal of the film is to present, and expose to as wide of an audience as possible, a searing and elegant revision to our expectations of living on the edges of the wilderness.
As a Southerner, and a recent transplant to Montana, I found myself searching for clues to this place. I was transfixed by the tragic hints of survival stories that lie beneath every headline-- the planks of forgotten sawmills lying directly beneath the terraces of vacation homes. The landscape is beautiful, wild, mysterious. The history of extraction, the defiant landscape where wilderness has not yet been obliterated, the novelty of grizzly bear reports on the morning radio—all were intriguing patterns I felt compelled to explore.
Simon Schama’s Landscape and Memory, exploring the relationship between physical environment and folk memory, was my guide. The visual lexicon of the film borrows from the lyrical, color-saturated imagery of 1970's & 80's film and photography, particularly the work of JoAnn Verburg and William Eggleston.
WHAT WE NEED:
We shot the film in mid-August in Missoula, Montana-- during an actual Fire Season, which continues right now, a torpor-inducing haze of smoke surrounds us. We secured an arts grant for our production budget, and as the trailer above shows, we found some amazing young actors (and non-actors) to play our leads, and put together a marvelously talented crew to get the images+sound.
Now we are looking for financing for our post-production. The money raised via USA PROJECTS will pay for all editing, sound editing, sound mixing, score and music editing, titles, VFX, color correction, as well as all "deliverable" costs--e.g., everything necessary to make FIRE SEASON festival & audience ready. We expect these costs to be at the very minimum, $10,000.
We have relied upon the great good will and talents of many extraordinary artists to help us get this far, and to keep our costs at a minimum. But now we need a little help getting us out of the woods.... and into the fire. Thank you for your interest and consideration, and thanks in advance for your participation.
WHY USA PROJECTS:
USA Projects is a non-profit crowd-funding platform.
Your participation in this campaign is 100% tax deductible (minus the actual cost of your reward).
USA Projects does take a percentage of the money we raise, but uses it for operating costs and staff. It feels more like a collective, a curated clearing-house for interesting art projects of all varieties, rather than a brokerage. Money raised here-- minus the service fee and the hard cost of the rewards-- comes to us in the form of a grant. We like that. It's just a little more "hand-made" than some of the other platforms.
Because of the service fee & the cost of the rewards ("swag" is such a indelicate term), we need to raise $13,000 in order to put $10,000 "on the screen." Any money we raise above our goal will be used to enhance the film, better pay our creative collaborators, and help us with publicity and marketing.
Andrew Smith, Gita Saedi & Emily Lundin--Producers