Assume no one at Film Threat has heard of you (which may be hard to do; we’ve been big fans of most of your films): who are you, how long have you been making films? What films have you made?
I’m starting to lose perspective on who I am, there is a new reality replacing the old one as we plunge further into (what I call) the dead zone. These strange memory gaps are growing stronger, it’s a bit like that Alex Proyas film “Dark City”. Well let’s see, (taking a moment to fill the pipe and light it)
I’ve made a string of films over the last 28 years, some may know “Reflections of Evil” after discovering a DVD on their car windshield in 2002, or at a local ATM in Malibu or Pacific Palisades, or stacked up outside the Bodhi Tree Bookstore or countless other places at the time. You could always find one stacked up outside Spielberg’s home on Amalfi Dr., the private security guards would hand out free copies to passing motorists. I don’t think Spielberg ever watched it though, actually nobody watched it at the time, they all thought it was a disc with a computer virus or something. But people loved to use the disc as a coaster, and I still hear about the disc laying on some celebrity’s table, glass rings pressed into it. There were other films like “Apple” (1992), “Dawn of an Evil Millennium” (1988), “Lost in the Thinking” (2004), “SpaceDisco One” (2007) and more recently a live-action adaptation of Miyazaki’s “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” (2009), which everyone thought I was out of my mind to attempt. I was sternly lectured intervention-style about this.
What is “Foxfur”? What is it about? What is a Pleadian?
(taking a puff from pipe) Actually “Pleiadian” is spelt with an “ei” but that’s ok I can never remember myself; it is also sometimes known as “Plejaren”. You know you can sometimes find Pleiadian women working at places like Whole Foods Market or Rainbow Acres.
“Foxfur” is about a disturbed young girl and her travails who is gradually transformed into a female Robin Hood. It’s about things like conflicting realities, belief systems and extraterrestrials but essentially I think it’s mostly about ‘The Dead Zone,’ which is the “proposed” period we’re in now. The strange time where everything has reached a brick wall and is recycling itself, turning in circles, desperately cannibalizing itself for even a modicum of inspiration. It’s an end of the world within the end of the world, a “schism” of reality that occurred after 1982, which on Dec 21, 1982 at 11;11am is when the world really came to end.
Since then we’ve been living on the residual fumes of the cosmos, diminishing more and more as the years pass. And now as reality collapses in on itself, it is being replaced. Which is why things are so polarized and convoluted; no-one knows what to think about anything and/or they are experiencing what seems like an ENTIRELY different reality. There are literally two realities now folding over each other in conflict and the new reality is a completely artificial construct.
Where did the idea for “Foxfur” come from?
It’s essentially an offspring of a fantasy film I made years ago called “Apple”. The original incarnation was more sword-and-sorcery fantasy; this is more contemporary spiritual new age. “Foxfur” has taken the place of “Apple.” However it’s also the fusion of another film I’ve wanted to make based on the Billy Meier UFO case and the “Message From the Plieades” contact notes published in the ’80s by Wendelle Stevens. A controversial case if there ever was one, seemingly ridiculously fraudulent on the surface. But there is always more past the surface which most never care to look beyond. In some ways this film is my “2001: A Space Odyssey’; it’s quite epic, if it were made properly it would cost $400 million and run 6 hours. I’d photograph it in 65mm and have roadshow engagements at what remaining opulent single house screens there are.
Hard to say, naturally that all depends on the financial situation. I hope to start this year but the way things have been in recent years it seems remote.
What format/type of camera are you hoping to use for this film?
Honestly have no idea yet, depends on how much I can raise (if anything). If I had the choice I’d shoot in 35mm but I’ll probably have to settle with the Panasonic HVX200 again.
Actually if I had the choice I might try out the new Red Epic (5k resolution)
What problems/concerns do you already have or potentially foresee for the film?
Naturally, not having the money to make it.
One can expect every problem, delay and complication in the book to smother them immediately. And it’s unfortunate when it stifles everything and puts life to a stop, months/years even decades pass and nothing gets accomplished. It becomes impossible to accomplish ANYTHING, even surviving. Life wastes away, the human body withers, the soul slowly loses its lifeforce, you lose sanity and became another cog in the giant insane asylum. Before you know it an entire LIFETIME has just wasted away, and then you die sick and broke. But it’s never an issue if you have enough money (and time). Money is ALWAYS the issue. When I made “Reflections” it took less than a year, and I was taking my time. Yes, every problem, complication and hurdle in the book came tumbling down full speed as always, but it didn’t matter, I had enough money to make the film… to “deliver the goods” (as Spielberg likes to say).
Every other film or video short I’ve made was made for virtually nothing and quite often (unnecessarily) took years to complete. Orson Welles said it, you spend 90% of your life trying to raise money, the rest making films… if you’re lucky.
Is this your first crowdfunded film?
Well if I raise enough to make the film, yes it would be.
Why did you decide to crowdfund your film?
Not many other avenues at present.
Do you have other financial resources or investors in place beyond the crowdfunding?
Not any more.
Why did you choose IndieGoGo over another crowdfunding solution?
Oh, I don’t know, they seemed a bit simpler than Kickstarter. I actually feel guilty using a crowdfunding solution. Many of the supporters and donators are people who are struggling themselves and it just makes me feel guilty. If the cup was fuller I would feel good about supporting a fellow artist and I think it’s a GREAT idea, people do it all the time and raise much larger sums. How, I don’t know, but it’s encouraging. I’m lousy at pitches and outlines and “selling” an idea, it’s not my strength, one just has to trust the final film will deliver and go beyond their expectations. It seems to me large volumes of small donations take MAJOR exposure and advertising, without that exposure one stands little chance. I think most of the money on these fundraisers are raised by a few large donations by deeper pockets; unfortunately the deeper pockets seem to keep a distance from me, or it’s off their attention/interest rada… I don’t know. And I certainly don’t seem to fit into the halls of mainstream Hollywood, but that’s not my reality-creating perception. IF there really IS a large enough audience or market for the kind of films I make (and I would urge those who have a preconceived notion of what that is to excise it) then I WOULD fit into it, but is there? 10-20 years ago I was much more idealistic. At this point, it seems to be completely hopeless, but I emphasize “seems.” All I can do is react to the external world as it is.
Bottom line is if I can’t reach the FULL goal it’s very unlikely I’ll be able to get this thing off the ground. I don’t have easy or free access to equipment/talent/locations/wardrobe/VFX/transportantion, etc and this isn’t the kind of film which can be made under those “go out and do it” conditions. Frankly, even the goal I set is too low.
Where is the crowdfunded money going: production budget, travel expenses, post-production, etc?
Post production is covered. Production will cost a fortune and there’s no getting around that this time. I’ve taken no-budget guerrilla filmmaking to certain limits and I don’t think anyone wants to see those kind of limitations again. Those familiar with my films and the non-linear narrative constructs might know what I’m speaking of. I have no interest in doing another “Star Wars Mockumentary,” “SpaceDisco” or “Lost in the Thinking.” Costs would go into hiring actors, securing permits to specific locations or finding/renting alternative locations, renting equipment, SFX and VFX, props, wardrobe, etc etc
If you do not hit your financial crowdfunding goal, what then? Do you still film the movie?
Very unlikely. If it wasn’t meant to be then it wasn’t meant to be, what can one do? I can only do as much as I know, one cannot FORCE things to happen. Reality bending is a delusory and tricky thing. Things will never make sense as long as they have to.
In a perfect scenario, where are you and your film a year from today?
Shooting a properly backed FEATURE version, 90 pounds lighter, hanging out with John Boorman in Ireland, shooting guns with Dale Dye and laughing about Ball-peen hammers smoking cigars with Sly Stallone and Schwarzenegger. Oh… and paying everyone back with 80% interest, spending secret night’s at Diane Lane’s house.
Why should someone give your production money?
This is a difficult question to answer because it comes back to the issue’s of “market” and “audience.” In the climate 30-40 years ago I would be quite confident of a guaranteed sale and audience, especially for the burgeoning video market. These days… hard to say. I don’t want to make films for a private audience or limited niche exposure, that’s not what I got into making movies for (though I do very much appreciate that ‘private audience’ support). I’d like them to break into a MUCH larger market and make HUGE sums of money and make OTHER people huge sums of money in the process. I’d like them to get a world-wide mass release and BRING BACK all the closed single house cinemas and all the out of work projectionists and bring back 70mm prints and a feeling of excitement and inspiration to the cinema experience and everything else. But is such a thing possible? Is that the world we live in now?
If you’d like to know more about “Foxfur,” or we didn’t ask all the questions you’ve got, go ahead and comment below or head over to the “Foxfur’s” IndieGoGo page and comment there. Next week we’ll be back with a new project for you to check out but, until then, we hope you enjoyed this closer look at Damon Packard’s “Foxfur.”
DISCLAIMER: Donating or investing in a film or film-related project is always a risky endeavor, so it is important to keep that in mind before deciding to get financially involved with any film project. Film Threat, FilmThreat.com and our parent company, Hamster Stampede, LLC hold no liability or responsibility regarding any of the projects showcased on our site, their content or performance or the content or performance of any of the sites linked to in this article. Our involvement with the featured project is strictly what you see here: we find a work-in-progress project that sounds interesting to us, we ask all the questions we’d like to know the answers to and then we share that information with you, the audience. This should not be considered as personalized investment advice. What happens after you read this is your decision, and, again, before parting with any money for any film, think it through and BE CAREFUL.
Posted on September 27, 2010 in Certified Film Threat in Progress, Features by Mark Bell
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