Appendectomy - Visual Effects Filming and Post Production

New York City, New York | Film Short

Experimental, Drama

Siewert James

1 Campaigns |

40 days :21 hrs :55 mins

Until Deadline

30 supporters | followers

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$5,220

Goal: $20,000 for production

While on hold with a loan collector Cassandra Quinlan’s consciousness becomes untethered from her body and reemerges in another part of her life - where she helps a man recover his memories from a postsurgical amnesic haze.

About The Project

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Mission Statement

Many of us exist in a twilight state between past and present - powerful memories threaten to engulf us and we must fight our way back. By rendering this interior voyage in its true cosmic vastness I hope to reawaken the audience's appreciation for the beauty and terror hidden in the everyday.

The Story


In ordinary life we are often pulled into memories so vivid and emotionally real that they threaten the supremacy of the present. The experience of losing yourself in a memory is simultaneously completely banal and yet profoundly psychedelic. 


I want to take the framework of social realism and split it down the middle - revealing in the cross section the in-bending fractal of memory, ecstasy and loneliness that we all carry with us as we move through the day.


The result will be a live-action-animated hybrid film that moves fluidly between the quietly observational mode of Elephant, Panic at Needle Park, and Wendy and Lucy, and the mind-bending experimentation in the tradition of Enter the Void, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Lost Highway.



The idea for the film came in 2018 when I moved from New York City to a town upstate.


The town wasn’t small but I lived alone and for the first time in my life I would occasionally go for weeks at a time without having a real conversation with anyone. In this empty space memory surfaced as my “real” life - to maintain a daily routine I would walk the length of the town and reflect circularly on brief moments of the past, which seemed to be physically embedded in my body. One of these memories was of watching someone awaken from an appendectomy. I remembered (or thought I remembered) how when she woke up it was like she was seeing the world for the first time and the newness of her gaze made me feel like I was seeing her for the first time. I began to think of the connection between the way I felt and appendicitis - how the pain caused by a vestigial part of the body could come to dominate experience.


I want to make a film that expresses the volatility of present experience: fragile enough to collapse at any moment from the gravity of memory, and yet insistent enough in its banal trivialities of bills and phone calls, to never really let you stay there.



When making my last film The Past Inside the Present, we shot all the live action elements and began the visual effects process before turning to crowdfunding to fund post production. I think it's important to get as far as you can with your own resources before turning to others for help. The film went on to open at Slamdance in 2016 before playing 25 other film festivals worldwide.


We are doing the same thing with Appendectomy: we’ve finished the majority of shooting but need to raise funds to shoot Cassie’s transformation sequence at the heart of the film. To shoot it we need a studio space where we have complete control of the lighting - that way it can match our apartment location and slowly transition as layers of reality are peeled away in visual effects.


The money we raise on Seed and Spark will go to renting a studio, as well as allowing me to continue working on the film's extensive visual effects in the coming months.



Wishlist

Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

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LED Studio Day

Costs $10,000

We need to project reality disintegrating around Cassie during her transition between worlds.

Post Production working time

Costs $10,000

I need a few months away from work to be able to focus on completing the visual effects for the film.

About This Team

James Siewert is a filmmaker who has worked as cinematographer, visual effects artist and animator. His cinematography work can be seen in feature films Like Me, The Ranger, and Depraved as well as over a dozen short films and music videosHe has animated music videos for Panda Bear, Lewis Del Mar and Sonic Boom and his animation work has also been featured in campaigns for Marshall, Red Bull, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Adidas. He is a three time Vimeo staff pick recipient and his first film The Past Inside the Present played at over 25 film festivals.


Elliot Frances Flynn is an actress. In 2023, she shines in a number of releases: Linoleum, opposite Emmy-nominee Rhea Seehorn, crime thriller Confession, starring Clark Backo and Michael Ironside, and indie darling Unidentified Objects. Prior credits include HBO's acclaimed "Mare of Easttown", the Smiths-inspired comedy Shoplifters of the World, and short film "Memories of Rain." The short showed in over a dozen festivals, shedding a light on mental health in the queer community, and earning Flynn a Best Actress award. 


Rigo Garay is an actor, writer & director. He works for NYC film production company Glass Eye Pix, founded by filmmaker auteur Larry Fessenden. He’s cast in Fessenden’s BLACKOUT, as well as the leading role in CRUMB CATCHER, with supporting role in THE LEECH and network television episodes of LAW & ORDER, BLUE BLOODS & more. His directorial feature debut PULL: A DARK COMEDY heads into production in 2025.


Sam Cutler-Kreutz is an award winning commercial, music video and narrative director. His work was shortlisted for the Cannes - Young Directors Award 2023 & 1.4, won Silver at Berlin Commercial & Music Video & has had multiple Nowness Premieres, Vimeo Staff picks & Short of the week. His short film TRAPPED won the SXSW Special Jury Award and his other narrative shorts have played at SXSW, Clermont-Ferrand, SIFF, Austin, Vancouver, Rhode Island & Brooklyn Film Festivals, among others.


Chris Skotchdopole is a writer, director and producer living in New York City. He works with Glass Eye Pix, an independent production outfit led by horror auteur Larry Fessenden. A 2010 graduate of SVA, his most recent short, THE EGG AND THE HATCHET was nominated for Oldenburg Film Festival's Independence Award for Best Short and played at Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, Marfa Film Festival, and HollyShorts Film Festival. He was cinematographer for Larry Fessenden's DEPRAVED (IFC Midnight). Skotchdopole served as co-producer on Jenn Wexler's punk thriller, THE RANGER (SXSW). He worked as associate producer on Mickey Keating’s DARLING (SXSW) and Rob Mockler’s film LIKE ME (SXSW). He has produced several music videos and shorts for Glass Eye, including James Siewert’s THE PAST INSIDE THE PRESENT (Slamdance, Florida Film Festival, Fantastic Fest). He served as producer and editor on Rigo Garay's SIZE UP (Woodstock Film Festival).


Lu Robinson is a producer at Gigantic Pictures in Manhattan. She previously worked at Vespucci, a podcast and film production company based in Brooklyn where she was involved with the post production of Ramin Barahni’s film 2ND CHANCE (Sundance 2022). Most recently she was a fellow at the Gotham Marcie Bloom Fellowship in Film.

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