By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist March 10, 2011 at 4:32AM
Here's a bit of trivia we bet you didn't know: Jon Heder ("Napolean Dynamite," "Blades Of Glory") recently earned his BFA in Animation. Yep, it's true he recently completed the last credits he needed, and now he's putting that degree to good use, putting his producing powers into play and teaming with writer and director Nick Petersen on an ambitious short film that will mix live-action and animation. Adding to the unique nature of the project, the duo are looking to finance the project through the crowd-sourcing site Kickstarter.
Currently developing under the working title "Drained," the short will center around a woman covered in white, who meets a man covered in mud. When they touch hands, the mud leaps off the man and covers the woman. The woman leaves with mud coming off her into a pile. The man returns covered in rocks and when he again meets the woman the same thing happens -- she gets covered in it and transfers the rocks to pile. As the film goes on, the woman is inundated with an array of filth including beer cans, liquor bottles, pornographic magazines, drug paraphernalia all of which is playing part in the film that has a distinct message. But the roots of the film go back to a pitch for a music video that was rejected at the time.
"I wrote this treatment for this band -- I won't say who it was -- and they passed on it but I really, really liked the idea, I really loved the story and I really wanted to tell the story and make this thing as a short film," Petersen explained about the how the film originated. Inspired by animated filmmakers like Jan Svankmajer and The Quay Brothers, the film will have have an "eerie, fantasy like look" and will serve as a cautionary tale about the danger of abusive relationships.
"[The film] tells the story of these two people in a one-sided abusive relationship, where the man just dumps everything onto her," Peterson elaborated about the story. "All of his issues, all of his addictions and diseases and instead of her rejecting it, she takes it and it consumes her. It's not just a man/woman relationship but [a film] for anyone who's got a friend or relative of any type of relationship that's so one-sided like that, they can see this film and say, 'Hey listen it shouldn't be this one-sided. A relationship is a two-way street.' And if it's a bad situation they should get out of there before they get consumed."
Together with Heder, the two decided to take an approach as individual as their film in raising money for the movie. "We met through mutual friends and have just been hanging out for the past couple of years," Heder said. "He's in the industry but working as a commercial director [and on other projects]. He also graduated in animation as well, we've always had that similar love. We've always talked about working together. And we've always talked about going bigger. But I think we just finally said, 'Let's do something animated, let's do a short animated film.' And he brought the whole Kickstarter concept to me and we thought, 'This could be cool. Experimental animation, experimental funding.'"
And for those who decide to send a few dollars their way, you'll get a part of the film to call your own ranging from a credit in the film to a prop in the movie, a signed DVD or even a private screening with Jon and Nick. It all depends on how much you kick in. But this just won't be a vanity project that lives on the web and then is pressed onto DVD. The filmmakers have big goals, including a festival run with visions of Oscar dancing in the distance.
"If it gets funded in the Kickstarter time frame, we'll be able to finish it and submit it for [TIFF or Sundance]. And we're hoping to get a Toronto or Sundance premiere. And once we get into one of those, especially as a short film, the doors just open up for all the other festivals," Peterson explained. "Like any short filmmaker, you hope you get on the Oscar shortlist. I think this a film where the story is strong enough, and the technique is unique enough that we can get -- if not nominated -- but definitely considered somwhere in that realm." Bold plans for a bold film, indeed.
The funding drive for the film is now on and will be ending in a couple of weeks. Head over to the "Drained" Kickstarter page to learn more about the project, and how you can help Heder and Petersen get their film moving.