Maine Noir

Waldoboro, Maine | Film Feature


Lucas McNelly

1 Campaigns | Maine, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $46,025 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

453 supporters | followers

Enter the amount you would like to pledge


A modern noir about a woman who finds $3M hidden in the walls of the house she inherited and -- SPOILER -- someone wants it back.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

MAINE NOIR is a female-centric ode to classic film noirs, only now she controls the story (and no one calls her "dame"). This will be the first film ever set in my hometown of Waldoboro, Maine.

The Story


When Lisa inherits her Aunt's house on the beautiful coast of Maine, she sees it as an opportunity for a fresh start thousands of miles from her old drama. She moves in with her reluctant teen daughter and before long meets a handsome local fisherman.

Things are looking up!

Then one night, she catches an intruder trying to break in and in the aftermath, discovers there's over $3M hidden in the walls of the house. 

Things go badly from there.



MAINE NOIR is inspired by the lean, low-budget film noirs of the 40's and 50's, films like DETOUR, THE HITCH-HIKER, and WOMAN ON THE RUN. These were the indie filmmakers of their day, not just stretching every available dollar, but writing scripts that turned budget limitations into a strength. 

And we want to embrace that. 

Because that's the spirit we're trying to emulate. The script was written to take advantage of the existing resources in my hometown, things I either already have access to or can easily find, with a self-contained story that can be shot quickly.  

A film noir should be rough around the edges. It's a perfect genre for micro-budget film. 

Beyond the noir angle, we've been conceptualizing it as BLUE RUIN meets IN THE BEDROOM.



Movies, even no-budget movies, get expensive quickly.

The bulk of the money we're raising will be used to get the cast and crew to Maine, where the community will take excellent care of them and feed them more lobster than they can handle. Still, travel to Maine isn't cheap and we need to pay the cast and crew a nominal rate for all their hard work.

Thanks to the pandemic, we'll also need to follow SAG's COVID protocalls, which isn't cheap, even for a film this small.

I have a stong track record of stretching budgets and we'll be getting a lot of in-kind donations from the community, so you can rest assured that every dollar we raise (and then some) will be up on screen.



This is my third feature film.

I like to call my style of filmmaking "genre-adjacent". I start in a genre and take the story elsewhere. In this film, it'll go in reverse, finding its way to noir.

My first feature, BLANC DE BLANC, was shot and edited in 2 weeks as part of a #2wkfilm challenge between filmmakers frustrated with all the false starts of trying to get a film made. So we forced ourselves to make one.

It had a small theatrical run and is currently available on Amazon Prime.

My second feature, UP COUNTRY, is a film about 3 guys who hire a Guide to take them fishing in the northern Maine woods. Except, the Guide leads them into the middle of nowhere and steals all their stuff.

We shot that in 7 days.

It is just starting a festival run, but here's a teaser trailer.

But what I'm best known for is A YEAR WITHOUT RENT, a travel project where I spent a year living out of my car and volunteering on indie films. I was everything from a PA on a film directed by a big movie star to the gaffer on a film shot in the UK. I documented the project for Film Courage, Film Threat, and Filmmaker Magazine. Most of the people working on this project are people I met in that year.



We're currently casting the film and anticipate being able to announce some of the cast soon.

Lisa (Leonora Pitts)

Lisa has made some mistakes in life. She got pregnant young and has put too much trust in shitty men who took advantage of her. So when her aunt leaves her a house on the coast of Maine, she jumps at the opportunity to leave all her problems behind. At first, Maine represents a fresh start. She starts to get romantically involved. But when she finds the money, things get complicated.

Ava (Emily Robinson)

Ava wants no part of this. A high school senior getting ready for college, Ava is here because her mother dragged her here. She's just killing time until she starts college in the fall, binge-watching true crime shows on Netflix. But it turns out that information is suddenly very helpful.


Tony has spent his entire life in Midcoast Maine. Sure, he goes to Portland every so often, but that's pretty much it. He's still mad about Mookie Betts. He was a pretty good high school basketball player who didn't see the point in going to college. He digs clams and plows driveways and wouldn't be caught dead at Red's Eats. He's a complicated version of the love interest in a Lifetime movie.


█████ ██ █ █████ ███ ███ ████ ██████████ ███████ ████ ██ ███ ███████ █████ █████ ███ ████ ██ █████ ██ █ ████ ███████ ███ ███████ ███ █ ██████ ███ █████ ███ ██ █████ ███ ███ █████ ██ ███ █████ ███ ███ █████ ██ ████


███ █████████ █████████ ██ ███ ████████ ██ █████ ████ ██ ███ █████████ ██ ██████ ████ █████ ███ ██████ ██████ ██ █████ ████ ███ ████ ███ ██████ ███████ ███ ████ ███ ████ ███ ████ ████ ███ █ ████████ ██ ██████ ████████ ██ █████ ███ ███



█████ ████ ██ ███ █████████ ██ ██████ ████ █████ ███ ██████ ██████ ██ █████ ████ ███ ████ ███ ██████ ███████ ███ ████ ███ ████ ███ ████ ████ ███ █ ████████ ██ ██████ ███



Maybe you've seen something in the news about this pandemic? There's always a chance that we have a COVID outbreak and have to shut down or the Delta variant puts us back into lockdown. *sigh*

There's a thousand things that can go wrong. But as I like to say, the only thing indie filmmakers know how to quit is a day job. 

I have a lot of experience getting things made despite impossible odds. I made a feature in 2 weeks. I made a film in the middle of the woods during bear hunting season. I did A YEAR WITHOUT RENT. This is film is way easier. Things will go wrong. But we'll figure it out. We always do.



It's no secret that things are bad for indie filmmakers these days. 

In a landscape overstuffed with "content", it's harder and harder for us to break even. Payouts are down. Sales are down. Algorithms are skewed against us. Everything is bad.

But I have a good day job.

I strongly believe crowdfunding is more essential than ever. 

Imagine a world where it wasn't rare for filmmakers to raise $100K+ for a feature, make the entire film for that amount, and then gross $200K self-distributing it. Only, there's no middle men ripping them off. There's no investors to pay back. That money is all going back to the cast and crew. You know, the creators.

This is a future that's still possible. It truly is.

I even think it's doable.

Let's keep working toward that goal.


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


Costs $12,000

Without actors, we'd have to make a very long cat video.


Costs $3,000

Do we have lobster? Yes. Can you eat lobster for every meal? No. Have we tried? Yes.


Costs $4,000

Turns out there aren't a lot of people already in Maine


Costs $4,000

Is this on?


Costs $4,000

Can't create interesting shadows without some lights.


Costs $15,000

An indie film is only as good as the crew.


Costs $3,000

Essential for preventing community spread and knocking off the local bank.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team


Lucas McNelly is a writer, filmmaker, and crowdfunding expert best known for the indie film travel project A YEAR WITHOUT RENT. His second feature, UP COUNTRY, will premiere on the festival circuit this fall. He has written for Filmmaker Magazine, Film Threat, Film Courage, and the Huffington Post, and was the first crowdfunding consultant to be profiled in multiple national news outlets. His short film GRAVIDA has over 235 million views on YouTube. When not making films, he helps his wife make soap, organizes road races, and watches far too much high school basketball.

At one point, he held the record for most money raised on Seed & Spark. 



Victoria Westcott is a producer with two features under her belt: ELLIOT: THE LITTLEST REINDEER (starring Josh Hutcherson, Samantha Bee, Morena Baccarin, Martin Short and John Cleese) and LOCKED IN A GARAGE BAND which was the first Canadian feature crowdfunded on kickstarter. She has a TEDx talk on crowdfunding with other 50K views and is a teacher and wine lover. She met Lucas McNelly on his Year Without Rent campaign and traveled to LA with him to speak on film panels. They became fast friends and collaborators and she's excited to return to her super indie roots.



Marty Lang is an Assistant Professor of Film at the University of Memphis. His first feature as writer/director/producer, RISING STAR, is streaming on Amazon Prime, and he's currently in post-production on his second, STAY WITH ME. His producing credits include TAKE TWO, currently crowdfunding on Seed&Spark, CHOMPY AND THE GIRLS, featuring Udo Kier, OUT OF MY HAND, a 2016 Independent Spirit Award nominee, and BEING MICHAEL MADSEN, starring Michael Madsen, Virginia Madsen, David Carradine and Lacey Chabert. He's taught film at the University of Central Arkansas and Quinnipiac University, and created the Connecticut Film Industry Training Program, a nationally-recognized film workforce development initiative.



Sean Hackett is no Marty Lang. 



Alonso Mejia is a cinematographer that decided to set a production company, so we could make his own projects, which he has been doing for the last 13 years. Then he decided to start buying his own toys, so he could shoot however he liked. His company, Contenido Neto is now a powerhouse both in small commercial productions in Mexico, and the go-to rental company for vintage lenses, small cameras and smart filming solutions. His music videos for top latin artists, have over 1 billion (yes, with a b) views on YouTube, his first feature premiered in 2 local festivals and he has worked for a ton of major brands in Mexico. The few occasions he’s not working, he tends to his wife, two daughters and dog.



Leonora was most recently seen on Apple TV+'s FOR ALL MANKIND, where she played the first female flight director of the US Space Program. She has experience in indie film, notably in MANSON FAMILY VACATION and THE FREEBIE and has made guest appearances on IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, TOGETHERNESS, ROOM 104, and THE GRINDER.

Leonora also has extensive experience behind the camera and has directed 5 short films that have won awards all over the festival circuit. 

She is the co-founder and leader of the 1500-women strong Los Angeles Women’s Film Collective and founded both the Atwater Village Moms’ Group and the NELA Mamas, representing and serving thousands of mothers in Los Angeles, and is proud to serve as one of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s City Commissioners, working on habitability issues surrounding the rent-stablized properties of the City of Los Angeles.

She has served for eight years on the board of directors for the Independent Shakespeare Company, which brings free Shakespeare every summer to tens of thousands of Angelenos, and is a member of the advisory council for the Vidiots Foundation. 



Emily started acting at the age of 7 and 6 months later, she was already on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, despite it being way past her bedtime. She moved over to theatre, winning a special Drama Desk Award for her work in the off-Broadway production of Horton Foote's "The Orphan's Home Cycle"

But you probably know her from her film and TV work. She was one of the breakouts of TRANSPARENT on Amazon and flat-out stole the second act of Bo Burnham's EIGHTH GRADE. Most recently, she was the lead in Kate Hackett's directorial debut OLEANDER, which you can watch here

She has also directed 3 shorts, including HEARSAY and VIRGIN TERRITORY, which she crowdfunded on Kickstarter. 

Current Team