About Strangers

Los Angeles, California | Series

Experimental, Drama

Eric Michael Kochmer

1 Campaigns | California, United States

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This campaign raised $10,600 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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ABOUT STRANGERS hopes to bring a unique but simple vision to life. Through an experimental process, vintage lens and timeless, insightful characters, we hope to make something impactful.

About The Project

  • The Story
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The Story

I am setting out to create the first of three personal, introspective and candid films about drifters. By personal, I mean I'm creating a story centered around characters based on a lot of people I've come in contact with in the two major metropolitan cities I've lived in. These characters are simultaneously highly attuned to their dilemmas but not adept in managing their circumstances. 

 

ABOUT STRANGERS is a story of three drifters (Guy, Lexy and Lulu), who, while well into adulthood, have lost direction and are caught in a downward spiral fueled by regret, fallen dreams, estranged families and several bottles of liquor. They randomly meet one night on the Sunset Strip, and over s'mores, decide to journey out of the city and into the mountains to find a time machine from Guy’s past.

 

The term "drifter" has always facinated me, particularly in the context of the city of Los Angeles, and in how people relate to one another as drifters. Drifter, as defined in the dictionary, is a person who is continually moving from place to place, without any fixed home or job. Synonyms include wanderer, traveler, transient, roamer, itinerant, tramp, vagabond, vagrant, hobo and my personal favorite, bum.

 

  

In mass and media culture, drifters are either glorified/villified or portrayed as mysterious/ominous in some way. There is usually a manic or romanticized element to their personalities and lifestyle. These are base, archetypal and one-dimensional representations of what it means to be a drifter. In reality, anyone can find themselves drifting. Moving slowly from one place to another, like wood in the water. The state of being or even feeling lost, is simply a state of vulnerability and it is very universal. It takes courage to open oneself up to exploring other possibilities of what life has to offer, and surrender to allow oneself to be carried by the current.

 

While drifting is a seemingly passive activity, one in which the drifter is perceived as being lazy, unmotivated or unfocused, most drifters are actually actively in pursuit of something outside themsleves. Sometimes, their dreams are beyond the scope of what they can attain or achieve from where they are. Sometimes, they need to escape to discover who they are. Sometimes, they are running away from something or someone. Los Angeles is the premiere magnet for all of these people.

 

I've been a drifter. I've been lost. I've wanted to better understand who I am and what makes me tick. I've abondoned places and people I felt were toxic to me. I have been this person who moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of something bigger and better than the world I knew. I've been fearless. I've been in a cocoon. The highs and lows have been immeasurable. I also know I am not alone in this experience.

 

 

Part of what inspired me to make this film in this way, are the works of art coming out of the independent film scene over the past ten years or so. Joe Swanberg, Alex Ross Perry, Kentucker Audley and Nathan Silver (to name a few), are all making films unconventionally and without comprimise, despite the limitations of very low budgets. They are telling stories about what they know. These are not superhero stories or zombie films (which are fun to make too), but films saying something about who they are in the time that they are living in.

  

ABOUT STRANGERS is a film based on moments of my time here in Los Angeles, including snippets of people I have encountered, and places I have wandered through. 

  

 

This is the first part of a trilogy. I want to develop a process, a template, really, for making each of these films, and it starts with a simple outline and three characters. Instead of a traditionally written script, I am using a dense, fully fleshed outline along with detailed character sketches. We will shoot this narrative in the style of a documentary, or cinema verite, with the overall goal to capture a naturalistic and raw story. The entire filmmaking team is going to consist of just eight during the shooting; five crew members (including myself) and three actors. Simple, small and impactful.

The only bell and whistle throughout the whole film will be captured by Ethan Kogan, (Guy), who came up with the idea for his character to have a daily journal on an old camera, a LomoKino, which shoots 35mm motion picture film. We are going to be able to mix digital footage with classic film! (There is a small sample of what the LomoKino footage looks like in the teaser.)

 

 

My first feature film (WAY DOWN IN CHINATOWN) was a German Expressionist inspired, surreal, horror-comedy, made by the seat of my pants. In a lot of ways I didn't understand what I wanted until I started shooting. Once I knew what the film was, it made it that much easier to match the vision. This was an incredible learning experience.

 

Since then, I've produced several films, have directed a few shorts and series, and have worked as an editor and an AD. All of these experiences have laid out the track for me to embark on this project with full knowledge of what it will take to manage and round out the film.

 

The first feature was stylistic and bombastic and an expression of freedom. This series of films will be nothing of the sort. I think I've always avoided making this kind of film (ABOUT STRANGERS) because it struck so close to home, but whenever I stare down my fears, I always find the best results. (If you would like to read more about my fears, check out my blog about it.)


 Making a film is all about money that you don't have. ABOUT STRANGERS, and the entirety of the road series, was concieved with the idea of making something on a doable budget, focused on art rather than worrying about returns and names and everything else that can go into a bigger budgeted production.

 

Nothing is too small. By giving the smallest amount you are helping to join the supportive team giving us a shot to qualify for the Seed&Spark distribution program, which requires 500 followers. Everything is going to help and everything is going to build the series from the ground up. I am really looking forward to sharing my vision and showing you a glimse into the lives of these strangers.

 

Thank you so much for reading all of this! Let's make this happen!

 

Wishlist

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Cash Pledge

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Cast and Crew Stipends

Costs $3,500

We need to give our cast and crew something for their time and talent.

Equipment Rental

Costs $1,000

We are lucky enough to have a camera to work with but we will need to rent a lens mount, some basic lights and a car mount.

Production Insurance

Costs $500

We have to make sure our equipment (and people) are covered.

Location Costs

Costs $1,500

Good people are sharing their spaces with us... We still need to give them something.

Getting-on-the-road-scratch

Costs $1,000

We need to get out of town. Over many weekends. In case you missed it, this is a road movie.

Food

Costs $1,000

We would like to feed our cast and crew.

35 mm film for stop motion photography

Costs $500

Some of the photography is going to be done by one of the actors, and we need to buy the film and pay to get it processed.

Hard-drives

Costs $500

We love that we are making a movie! We need to back it up.

Perks

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We would love to deliver our goods, as promised.

About This Team

 

ERIC MICHAEL KOCHMER - Director - Writer - Producer

Kochmer is an actor/writer/director with a background in experimental theater, mentored under musical theater composer/playwright/director, Elizabeth Swados at LaMama Theatre after graduating from Marymount Manhattan College. His published plays from his time in New York can be found at Indie Theater Now and he has since shifted to writing screenplays. Since relocating to Los Angeles he has produced and starred in avant garde filmmaker, George Landow’s film DIALOGUES (2009), and has acted in over 30 feature and short films, including intense supporting roles in the films I’M NOT HERE (Hollyshorts Film Festival) and VIRGINITY (The Boston International Film Festival, The Las Vegas Film Festival, The New Wave Film Festival and The Other Venice Film Festival), as well as a starring role in the crime thriller WHITE RABBIT (Cinequest, Vision Award Winner at The Sacramento International Film Festival). Kochmer’s directorial feature film debut WAY DOWN IN CHINATOWN (WMMFest) found distribution through www.366WeirdMovies.com and Amazon in the fall of 2014. He subsequently directed a segment of the eye-opening dramatic series STRIPPING SHAKESPEARE and eight episodes of the innovative comedic micro-short series BROAD STROKES. Kochmer's has also produced a handful of series and films, including HARMFUL SENTATIONS (Screamfest LA).

 

SAPNA GANDHI - Actress / Producer

Sapna Gandhi is an actress, producer, and content creator who's played a slew of ethnically ambiguous characters on stage and in film and television. Favorite stage roles include Harper in "Angels In America", Prudence in "Beyond Therapy", and Susan in "Do You Want to Buy My Brain?" As a member of San Francisco’s Jump! Theatre she wrote, produced, and starred (as an actor/singer/dancer) in the moody, mixed-media production "Terminally Female: A Cabaret", before migrating to Los Angeles. Television credits include roles on the hit ABC show SCANDAL, and NBC’s comedy 1600 PENN (recurring) and drama AWAKE. Films she can be seen in include indie cult features, DUST UP and WAY DOWN IN CHINATOWN and festival circuit darlings, POSEY and JAM. In an effort to negate being typecast, Gandhi co-wrote/co-produced/co-starred in BROAD STROKES (5 Days. 5 Themes. 5 Directors. 40 Comedic Micro-shorts). She co-founded the production company Elegant Grotesque with Eric Michael Kochmer, serves as Editor-in-Chief of the L.A. based film collective We Make Movies, was born in England, raised all over The States, holds degrees in English and Women’s Studies, and trained at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. sapnagandhi.com.

 

 

ETHAN KOGAN - Actor

 A native Los Angeleno, Ethan's pursuit of acting led him to The Univ. of Michigan, then abroad to the famed Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Returning to LA, he joined The Actors' Gang theater company while appearing on television in: 'Southland' (TNT), 'Pushing Daisies' (ABC), 'Nip/Tuck' (FX) as well as the film, "Dr. Gutman's Eulogy,” in which he earned a Best Supporting Actor Award at LIIFE in 2013. In January of 2011, Ethan starred in and co-directed his first feature film, the critically acclaimed 'Problem Of Evil.' He is presently acting, writing, directing as well as editing multiple upcoming projects. 

 

JESSICA SILVETTI - Actress

 Originally from Mexico City, Jessica Silvetti has worked as an actor, writer, producer and director.  She attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she received a BFA in Theatre.  

To date Jessica has written, produced and directed several short films and co-directed a feature film.  Jessica continues performing in theatre and in film, and continues developing original content for theatre and the screen.

 

KIKO SUURA - CINEMATOGRAPHER
Kiko has always had a fascination with capturing powerful visuals that become imprinted in the mind much like a dynamic dream or a beloved memory.  Wanting to create this impact on the big screen, Kiko moved to Southern California to study cinematography at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.  After graduating, Kiko has worked on numerous types of projects, both across the country and internationally, ranging from shorts, web-series, features, music videos, and reality TV shows.  Some works include the award-winning, internationally popular web series Old Dogs & New Tricks, the award-winning short The Apple Tree, and the critically-acclaimed feature Way Down in Chinatown.  Kiko juggles this freelance cinematography work with teaching at a film school in L.A., hoping to inspire others to create beautiful stories through a highly visual medium.

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