Strange Kindness

Brewster, Massachusetts | Film Feature

Drama, Thriller

Like Leaves, Like Seeds Productions LLC

1 Campaigns | Massachusetts, United States

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This campaign raised $33,000 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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“Strange Kindness” is a film about isolation, the shocking acts of violence that have come to punctuate our American dream, and what empathy might look like at its further limits. While the film's content is political its treatment of themes is far more mythological in nature.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

"Strange Kindness" is about being present with those that need it regardless if they deserve it. It's about the conversations that happen at the end of the day between people who only have each other. It's about not looking away. It's about the guns coming home.

The Story

The Story

Wounded and disoriented the young man flees through a dense wood. He carries a long gun from the scene of a heinous crime. He comes to a lone house deep in the forest. He gambles it’s empty. He collapses in the kitchen.


Chris rushes to the bathroom before she is awake, overcome by nausea. Today is treatment day. A terrible day, but she will get to see a friend. She goes downstairs to make tea and watch the morning sipping in breath to steady herself. She stands at the sink and feels a presence. ‘Please don’t run’, goes the young man. ‘This is my house’, goes Chris.


It's late or it's early and James has traveled a long way finally arriving at his childhood home where his sister Rose lives. He’s anxious as he enters the house, unsure of his sister’s reaction to seeing him but this is where he needs to be now- home with Rose and close to Chris.

He has no idea how terrible this day already is. He has no idea what he’s walking into. He waits. Upstairs, Rose wakes with a start. There is a draft in her bedroom coming in from the hall. The front door is ajar. She gets up from bed and moves to close the thing, lolling on its hinges in predawn breeze. The sound of engines, red and blue lights in the trees from two passing police cruisers. Lights on, sirens off.

She feels a presence and turns. “I came in early, I didn’t want to wake you” goes her brother, James. “Were those for you?”, goes Rose.

There’s police at Chris’ door. Rose is on her way there to administer chemo. James comes across the scene the young man fled. The young man continues to bleed. Chris will handle the young man. The young man will not leave.

 

The Characters

Chris played by Deirdre Madigan

Chris is possessed of an abiding confidence bordering on arrogance. Distant and aloof, she is nauseous every morning and exhausted at night. She has traded a garden in the yard for a mushroom bed in the basement. She has seen everything and is unafraid. It is her house the young man unwittingly breaks into.

Rose played by Leanne McLaughlin

Rose is doggedly pursuing her own mental and physical health after a long stint of addiction and madness in another city. She is caretaker to Chris and their intimacy is ballast for them both. Her Brother James arrives on a bus overnight as the story begins. Rose lives in the house she and her brother inherited from their father when he died a few years earlier. There are still a few boxes unpacked and bleaching in the sun of the carpetless living room.

 

The Young Man played by Michal Vondel

The young man is bleeding. He is in a state of shock after committing an atrocity. He moves as if controlled from afar. He breaks into Chris’ house fleeing the scene of the crime thinking the house empty.

James played by...

James is five year tired. He has fled another city pursued by a bear. This will be his first day clean and clear what madness he left behind. The home he returns to is grief stricken and in shock in the wake of the young man’s crime. On a long walk he surveys the new old land scape as he makes his way to Chris’ house- his childhood home with his sister Rose.

 

The Setting

The description was written with a dozen places in mind because although this location sounds mystical and a bit exaggerated, it’s in fact understated. It is exactly the kind of place you’d stumble upon while driving down backroads or taking a wrong turn on the Cape. And this day, while we were trying to find one of these locations, our best boy shouted out, “left here”, and we began driving down this narrow, sandy road that led us to this cliff that overlooked the Atlantic. Even for a car full of kids who grew up on Cape Cod, we were blown away and began giggling because, well, how lucky are we? 


This is why we couldn’t dream of filming anywhere but on the Cape. Anyone reading the script and knowing where Joseph grew up, would see Cape Cod as the setting. And a perfect setting it is. Not only for its beauty, but also for its remoteness (even post Covid where the population has grown), for its community and for its unusual architecture and landscape. 


Chris’ house has always been a rambling old Captain’s house. Rose has always driven up to that ledge. James has always been walking down Route 6. And the Young Man has always come crashing through woods and marsh. 


The setting has always been here.

A History

 

2018

When Joseph and I re-met during the Summer of 2018, he had been working on a screenplay. That entire summer, he was never without his legal pad or notebook or laptop or all of the above, always writing, always working. By the end of the summer, he had completed it and shared it with me.

2019

In 2019, we shot a trailer/short with a small crew and the four main characters for Strange Kindness. We shot this as an experiment, to see what was required to tell our story and to see how much we needed, which turned out to not be much, just a talented cast and crew and a setting that does a lot of the heavy lifting.

"Strange Kindness" Trailer 2019

*A few years having passed, the cast is not the same for our feature, but continue to be a layer in this project. 

2020

Joseph and I accidentally moved back to Cape Cod during the pandemic, having left Brooklyn on what we thought would be a weekend trip. 6 months later...

It was during that year, while being unemployed and unsettled, that we turned a huge portion of our attention to the film. We needed something to work on and Strange Kindness was waiting. We began watching a lot of films, specifically horror and thrilled films. We were constantly location scouting. We began reaching out to other filmmakers. Joseph did a lot of rewrites. Storyboards. Mood boards. Before we knew it, we had entered into full blown pre-production. 

During that time, we also painted a lot of D&D models, watched a lot of Great British Baking Show and made a pretty cool music video for an Armand Hammer song, called "Charms". 

"Charms"

Making of- "Charms"

2021

Winter was heavy that year and our hopes to make the film that year didn't pan out. A huge part of that was a lot of houses we found that were unavailable. 

A huge part of Strange Kindness is the main character, Chris' house. We had a pretty clear idea about what it should look like and where it should be, but any time we found something, it wasn't available for us to film in. So we waited...hoping we'd stumble upon the house to shoot our film. 

2022

And then...Joseph called me one day. He was on a job site, working with a local carpenter, and he said, "Leanne, I found the house." 

It turns out, we had been walking past the house for years. Literally. I had begun running the first year of the pandemic while we were living with Joseph's parents. It's beautiful conservation land and I'd run through the woods before anyone had woken up. And I had been running by this house every morning. And Joseph grew up in those woods, so it seems like we knew it all along. 

An inquiry was made and all of the sudden, we were given dates the house was available for us to film in. 

So here we are, many years later, ready to make this film. We have an incredible team put together. Mostly Cape Codder's and a few other Massachussettes filmmakers who are all traveling to the Cape for the last few weeks of September to help us tell this story. We cast a couple of actors who will be coming from New York. 

We'd love to expand our team and have you be a part of it as well. Check out all of the photos and videos we have on this page and please contribute if you can so we can ensure this film gets made.

Who are we? 

Joseph Mault

Writer / Director / Director of Photography

Joseph Mault is an interdisciplinary artist whose work largely revolves around the moving image. He has been directing and shooting music videos with billy woods and Armand Hammer for some time. Recent projects they have collaborated on have included a 3-channel video installation at Atonal Berlin in Germany as well as a video installation at Knockdown Center in Brooklyn. 


In 2020, Joseph released a short film which documented the making of the music video for ‘Charms’ by Armand Hammer, for which he built a 1:24th scale derelict version of Brooklyn out of cereal boxes. 

In 2022, the music video for 'Charms' by Armand Hammer won BEST MUSIC VIDEO at the Independent Filmmakers Showcase - LA Film Festival.


Joseph also directed and shot a feature length documentary, MAKE OUT, which follows an Illinois based rock band, The Funs, as they transform an old death parlour into their home and recording studio.

Directed by Joseph

Leanne McLaughlin

Producer / Actor playing "Rose"

McLaughlin has grown up surrounded by the business and has been taking notes the whole time. One of
her first experiences being on set was when she was 3 years old and by the age of 17, had close to 50 stage credits. 

After graduating from High School a little early, she moved out to Salt Lake City and began working as a Stand in for a handful of made for TV movies. After a year, she moved back east to go to school at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC. Then off to LA she went, where she continued working as a Stand in as well as studying with Deb Aquila, Donna Morong and John Hindman. While in LA, Leanne starred in and produced a production of *Tiger's Be Still' by Kim Rosenstock at The Lounge Theatre. 

In addition to her experience as a Stand In for film and TV, Leanne has also worked in the Art Department. And in restaurants. And for a Jewelry Designer. For a fabrication company. As a nanny. As a dog walker. She's really done a little bit of a lot of different things. She has found that all of her outside world experiences have helped her tremendously as an actor, an artist and a producer.

She has an intense interest in what parts of the whole are doing and finds that helpful when it comes to thinking about a film production.

Post Production Plan

Once the film has been completed at the end of 2022 our plan is to enter Strange Kindness into a circuit of film festivals specifically those who award independent film makers. We have a target list of 20 or so, a few of which we are particularly interested in submitting to due to awards considerations for new directors, micro budget film making, and excellence in screen writing.

After the initial festival circuit wed hope to have an offer from one of a number of studios currently releasing
films that Strange Kindness would make good company of. A24, Killer Films, NEON, and Annapurna have all released films similar in tone and budget to wide critical acclaim in the past several years.

Budget

The film budget has been a constant work in progress over the last couple of years. In our most ideal version, we are paying everyone a living wage and making sure any favors recieved don't go uncompensated. However, that ideal version meant our budget was coming in at around $239,000 so we kept working to come up with our absolute bare bones budget that you see broken down below. 

Joseph and Leanne are covering the costs of food and art/wardrobe. If we are able to exceed our $30,000 goal, we will make sure some of those favors we have gotten are compensated. 

 

 

Wishlist

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

Cast

Costs $15,000

Union minimum wages. Per Diem. Travel. Housing. 3 lead actors and 5 day players.

Crew

Costs $10,000

Union minimum wages. Per Diem. Travel. Housing. 1st AD, 1st AC, Sound, and PA.

Location

Costs $3,500

The house. The main character. 3-week rental. One week build out/prep and two weeks shooting.

Production Insurance

Costs $1,500

Production Insurance. Necessary.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

WE ARE MAKING A FILM!!!

When Joseph and I re-met during the Summer of 2018, he had been working on a screenplay. That entire summer, he was never without his legal pad or notebook or laptop or all of the above, always writing, always working. By the end of the summer, he had completed it and shared it with me.

Now here we are in 2022, having spent the better part of the past 4 years thinking about this film. We shot a short version in 2019. We have storyboarded. We have rewritten. We have talked lots of people's ears off. We have known the entire time we would make this movie.

We have also been continuously working together on other projects, most notably at the beginning of the pandemic when we ended up in our parents houses on Cape Cod, and began working on a music video for "Charms" by Armand Hammer which just won Best Music Video at the Los Angeles Independent Filmmakers Fest. 

Below are some other things to know about our team. 

Joseph Mault (writer, director, director of photography) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work largely revolves around the moving image. He has been directing and shooting music videos with billy woods and Armand Hammer for some time. Recent projects they have collaborated on have included a 3-channel video installation at Atonal Berlin in Germany as well as a video installation at Knockdown Center in Brooklyn.

In 2020, Joseph released a short film which documented the making of the music video for ‘Charms’ by Armand Hammer, for which he built a 1:24th scale derelict version of Brooklyn out of cereal boxes. 

In 2022, the music video for 'Charms' by Armand Hammer won BEST MUSIC VIDEO at the Independent Filmmakers Showcase - LA Film Festival.

https://www.ifsfilm.com/

https://youtu.be/_yPZwezd-w8

Joseph also directed and shot a feature length documentary, MAKE OUT, which follows an Illinois based rock band, The Funs, as they transform an old death parlour into their home and recording studio.

https://www.josephmault.com/

 

Leanne McLaughlin (producer, "Rose") has grown up surrounded by the business and has been taking notes the whole time. One of her first experiences being on set was when she was 3 years old and by the age of 17, had close to 50 stage credits. 

After graduating from High School a little early, she moved out to Salt Lake City and began working as a Stand In for a handful of made for TV movies. After a year, she moved back east to go to school at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC. Then off to LA she went, where she continued working as a Stand In as well as studying with Deb Aquila, Donna Morong and John Hindman.

While in LA, Leanne produced a production that she also starred in at The Lounge Theatre. 

In addition to her experience as a Stand In for film and TV, Leanne has also worked in the Art Department. And in restaurants. And for a Jewelry Designer. For a fabrication company. As a nanny. As a dog walker. She’s really done a little bit of a lot of different things.

She has found that all of her outside world experiences have helped her tremendously as an actor, an artist and a producer.  She has an intense interest in what parts of the whole are doing and finds that helpful when it comes to thinking about a film production.

https://www.leannemclaughlin.com/

 

Dan Levasseur (SPFX Lead / 3D print master / Task Completer) is a life long friend who, by way of that, has become an integral part of this production. He has dedicated many hours problem solving with Joseph and we are lucky to have him as a part of the team. 

 

Current Team

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