Paradox Lost

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Comedy, Drama

Daniel Hart Donoghue

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A pair of gangsters capture the bookie that betrayed their mentor, but a case of mistaken identity turns thugs into philosophers and takes their interrogation down a rabbit hole to catastrophic enlightenment.

About The Project

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

The Story

Daniel Hart Donoghue (Writer & Actor):

Why do we tell stories? What is it about storytelling that makes it such an integral part of the human experience? In many ways, this question has shaped my journey into filmmaking and sits at the heart of Paradox Lost. The question has been with me since childhood. As a kid, I lived with my grandparents and spent a tremendous amount of time around my grandfather and that generation – this little crew of old Irishmen that would sit around at night and tell stories in an animated, almost competitive way. I’d sneak down at night and listen - in the summer I didn’t even have to, I slept on this little sofa bed right near the kitchen so I’d just stay awake listening. My grandmother called them “Seanchaithe” which roughly translates to “Storytellers” from Irish Gaelic. I fell in love with the sounds and rhythms of the language and at a very early age knew I wanted to be a writer. But it was more than simply the sounds; it was the intent. I never heard any of the men from that generation say “here’s what I think you should do,” it was always “let me tell you a story about a guy I know.” There is not only something infinitely beautiful about that concept but it also is at the center of our humanity, what our stories have always done. But are now struggling to do.


More than any other time in our history, we live in the absence of the sacred. The old stories we have told to provide meaning in this life have all but dissolved in a sea of technological advancement, scientific understanding, and the complexity of a unified global society. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we all feel its weight. Some have turned fanatical in the attempt to hold on to the old stories while the rest of us import our confusion and hopes in some vague notion of being “spiritual but not religious, at least I don’t think religious, but I’d like to believe in something…” Paradox Lost is an expression of that weight.


Milan Kundera once said, in an attempt to define the art of the novel, that the novel “must express the complexity of life in the modern world, the dilemma of living now.” As a filmmaker, I am passionate about applying that same metric to this art form. By placing the seed of our shared modern existential dilemma into a character and situation where we don’t expect it, a film noir gangster in an interrogation, we are able to draw out the absurdity of the situation and examine it in a way that allows for both humor and intellectual contemplation. If we can create a situation, where we can make people laugh and think, then we’re onto something. After much effort in the writer’s room and at the pre-production table, that’s what we are prepared to do. With your help, together we can give people an experience where they are entertained and also incited to dialogue, where they leave the theatre a little bit lighter with a smile and on their face and just a tiny bit smarter with a question in their heart. That’s our goal. That’s our dream. That’s Paradox Lost.


Luca Ceccarelli (Director):


The paradox is finding meaning in the most unexpected of places. The riddle is pushing forward when the answer contradicts the question. The rush is finding the next question.


“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


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


Costs $3,000

This pays our producers a small stipend so they can devote their time to Paradox Lost.


Costs $1,500

This gives our co-directors a small paycheck so they have time to prep and shoot a great film.

First Assistant Director

Costs $810

A 1st AD will help us stay on schedule and make sure the directors get what they need.

Script Supervisor

Costs $630

Scripty will make sure the actors are on script and we don't have continuity errors.

Key Grip

Costs $765

Our Key Grip sets up all the equipment on set and solves all kinds of problems.

Dolly Grip

Costs $210

We need a dolly grip for two days to make our shots look dynamic and beautiful.

Car mount ("hostess tray")

Costs $350

We have some driving shots and this is the most cost-effective way of shooting them.

Expendables KIT (Large): Gels

Costs $30

Colored gels help us get the look we want by changing light temperature.

Expendables KIT (Small): Gaffer Tape

Costs $30

Gaffer tape holds things down and keeps things safe.

Special Effects Supervisor

Costs $750

We have lots of bullet hits and wounds and need them to be really well done.

Squib Rig

Costs $350

Squibs are for filming bullet hits and other things that squirt blood.

Special Effects Supplies

Costs $300

This includes things like fake blood, blank ammunition, fog machine supplies, etc.


Costs $350

Prosthetic effects are for things like dead bodies, heads blown off and ears shot off.

Prop Package

Costs $150

We need lots of props, such as guns, boxes of dynamite, breakaway glasses, tools of torture , etc.

Weapons Master

Costs $810

We will be shooting blanks so we need a weapons master for safety & to take care of other props.

Wardrobe package

Costs $300

We have some special costume needs like uniforms and also doubles for clothes that get shot.


Costs $645

We need to buy gas for the cars in the movie and also for production equipment to get to & from set.

Makeup Kit

Costs $275

This is for makeup supplies to produce things like black eyes, swollen faces, gunshot wounds, etc.


Costs $765

The Gaffer is responsible for lighting the set and is absolutely indispensable.

Lighting Expendables

Costs $300

This includes bulbs, globes and other things that burn out or get used up in the electrical dept.


Costs $1,485

Our amazing, award-winning cinematographer will make our film look professional and beautiful.

First Camera Assistant

Costs $750

The 1st AC is the Cinematographer's right hand and makes sure the shots are in focus.

Lenses - Cooke S4 Prime Set

Costs $600

The lenses can really be even more important than the camera for getting beautiful pictures.

Production Sound Mixer

Costs $630

Audiences forgive bad picture before they'll forgive bad sound. We want great sound.

Walkie Talkies

Costs $120

Walkies keep lines of communication open on set and help make operations smooth and efficient.

Location Rental Fee

Costs $1,600

We will need locations for 5 days of shooting plus prep and wrap days.


Costs $1,600

Many of our crew will be volunteers and it's really important that we feed them.

Craft Services Food

Costs $220

Craft services food keeps the crew's energy going between meals.


Costs $375

This will cover one of the several permits we have to obtain in order to shoot in Los Angeles.

Backup Hard Drive

Costs $350

Hard drives will store backups of our media so we don't lose any of our work or your donations.

Digital Imaging Technician

Costs $450

The D.I.T. keeps his eyes on the picture to make sure the Cinematographer is getting what he wants.

Monitors - Wireless Monitors w/ transmitter & receivers

Costs $300

These monitors and other equipment let the D.I.T., Cinematographer & Co-Directors see the picture.


Costs $1,575

The editor cuts the media into a film and will be on board for six weeks of post production.

Editing Work Station

Costs $1,100

This will let us rent equipment and/or space for our Editor and Co-Directors to work.

Music Licensing

Costs $300

This will help us license music to use for the film, which is essential.

Sound Designer

Costs $600

This will give us a good sound design and mix, which can be key to a film's success.

Digital Masters & Deliverables

Costs $600

This will allow us to master our film and deliver it to film festivals and theatres.

Visual Effects

Costs $1,800

We have a few visual effects, such as an explosion, slow motion effects, etc.

Legal Services

Costs $300

This will hopefully keep us out of any trouble with contracts or copyrights.


Costs $600

A publicist will help us get the word out about the short & the feature & help us get distribution.

Marketing Expenses

Costs $1,200

Marketing expenses cover things like festival submission fees, posters, advertising, etc.

Sound Equipment Package

Costs $450

This includes microphones, recorders, slates, batteries, boom poles, etc.

Stock Footage

Costs $600

This will allow us to purchase footage that will be more cost effective than shooting it ourselves.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Executive Producer

Luke Bishop

Originally from the midwest, Luke received a BFA from the Acting and Directing program at the University of Arizona. In 2003, he founded Satyr Entertainment, a live production company servicing all of the southwest. Since its inception, Luke and his team have produced numerous live events and have seen gross sales rise on average of 25% each year, with sales in 2014 grossing over $1,000,000. His team at Satyr Entertainment  has helped produce many independent films including A Boy’s Life, Phase Two, and Legend of the High Desert. Luke is also a member of SAG-AFTRA.


Director, Producer

Luca Ceccarelli

Originally from England and raised in Rome, Italy, Luca received a BA in Moving Image Arts (with honors) from College of Santa Fe. He is a director and producer, as well as a director’s coach. Luca directed the multiple award-winning proof-of-concept short, Eve Angelic and the award-winning reality-tv pilot  Planet Snowkite – Episode 1, Ushuaia/Argentina. He has produced and line-produced film and television features, including Triggerman (Lionsgate 2009) and Doc West (Lionsgate 2009), Shoot First & Pray You Live (Lionsgate 2008), and Naked Fear (Cinetel Films 2007).


Writer, Producer

Daniel Hart Donoghue

Hailing from Lowell, Massachusetts, Daniel received a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University Of Massachusetts, Amherst, along with a Masters Degree in Education. After several years as an English teacher, Daniel began working as a stage actor. He is a member of AEA, SAG and AFTRA and has performed in over twenty stage productions throughout the country, along with a handful of appearances in television and film. Paradox Lost marks Daniel’s debut as a Writer & Director and he is thrilled to be stepping into the space that is closest to his heart as an artist.



Gabriel Fonseca

A Brooklyn native, Gabe attended the BFA Acting and Directing program at the University of Arizona. He has worked with various theatre companies, such as Arizona Theatre Company, Arizona Repertory Theatre, Teatro Bravo, Southwest Shakespeare, Shakespeare Sedona,  and the Production Company. He can be seen in the Indie films Above the Line, The Elephant Clan, Wrongly Accused and the History Channel series Triggers: Weapons that Changed the World. He currently studies at the Ivana Chubbuck Studio.



Associate Producer

Peter A. Holland, ACS

Peter is a freelance cinematographer, based in Los Angeles. He is originally from London, U.K. & was schooled in Sydney, Australia. Peter has a raft of international feature films, TV series, commercials, music videos and documentaries under his belt. He has received many wonderful awards and acclaim for his cinematography, including the Gerald Hirschfeld A.S.C. Cinematography Award presented by the Ashland Independent Film Festival for Drunktown’s Finest, which premiered at Sundance in 2014. Pete says, "The greatest reward is working with truly inspirational people.”


Producer, Line Producer

Eileen Street

Eileen received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (with honors) from the University of New Mexico. She retired from her first career as CFO of a mutual fund company to begin her second as a film producer. She produced the multiple award-winning proof-of-concept short, Eve Angelic and the award-winning reality-tv pilot  Planet Snowkite – Episode 1, Ushuaia/Argentina. Prior to that, she was Unit Manager/Controller of Triggerman (Lionsgate 2009) and Doc West (Lionsgate 2009), and Accountant for Shoot First & Pray You Live (Lionsgate 2008) and Naked Fear (Cinetel Films 2007).

Current Team