It’s a tale as old as time: aspiring filmmakers move to Los Angeles in hopes of fulfilling their starry-eyed Hollywood dreams; aspiring filmmakers watch as their starry-eyed Hollywood dreams get kicked, punched, and beaten down by the cruel reality of Los Angeles; aspiring filmmakers decide to make a film about people watching their starry-eyed Hollywood dreams getting kicked, punched, and beaten down by the cruel reality of Los Angeles. Ah, but how many of those tough-luck projects involve Milwaukee’s own Mark Borchardt? Now we’re talking!
Enter Shangri-L.A., an upcoming online comedy series from Milwaukee natives Drew Rosas and Nick Sommer. According to a press release, the series “follows a cast of characters struggling to find their own slice of paradise while surviving in the concrete jungle of urban Los Angeles.” It’s a subject familiar to Rosas and Sommer, both of whom moved to L.A. nearly a decade ago and have since produced a handful of award-winning low-budget horror films (including 2010’s Blood Junkie, which was picked up by Troma Entertainment). But after barely surviving the “gauntlet of film festivals, sales agents, contracts, and distribution deals,” the duo decided to turn to popular crowdfunding platform Kickstarter for their latest project.
“The feature filmmaking experience has devolved into a medium held hostage by business-minded middle men entrenched as defacto toll collectors in an industry that is rapidly reinventing itself,” says Rosas in the press release. “For the first time in the history of cinema, creative and ambition content creators can crowd fund their projects, capture breathtaking images that rival professionals for a fraction of the cost, edit them on a home computer and distribute their stories to millions of people across the globe for free online. It’s time to get excited!”
Oh, and did we mention Mark Borchardt is in it? The American Movie subject (along with Xav Leplae) recently shot a scene at Riverwest Film & Video while Rosas was in town. Borchardt will play the tarot-card-reading Dr. Marvin Nestor, which sounds perfect.
Rosas and Sommer are looking to raise $12,000 by August 31 to help cover the costs of the project; as of this writing, they’ve already drummed up more than half that amount. Rewards for backers include early access to every episode and a personalized postcard from the filmmakers ($25 or more); and co-executive producer credit, a signed poster, and, um, original artwork created from Sommer’s beard ($2,000 or more). So head over to Shangri-L.A.’s Kickstarter page and consider donating a few bucks. It sure beats sucking down peppermint schnapps and trying to call Morocco at two in the morning, man.