THE Winnipeg-based film collective Astron-6 is trading up.
Instead of making one of their shlocky sex-and-violence feature epics (Father's Day, Manborg) for next to nothing, the filmmakers, led by Father's Day director Adam Brooks, are attempting to raise $16,500 through the crowd-sourcing network Indiegogo.
Their new production is The Editor, a bloody-sexy thriller about a film editor accidentally dismembered in an "editing accident." When his co-workers start to die one by one, the film cutter is the prime suspect in the elaborate murders.
Where Father's Day was made in the template of the psycho-slasher movie and Manborg took the form of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure, The Editor will be lensed this August in the style of a giallo thriller, a stylish, sadistic sub-genre perfected by Italian filmmakers such as Dario Argento (Deep Red, Suspiria) and Lucio Fulci (The House by the Cemetery).
"Giallo films are all about style and beauty," Brooks says. "The Editor is our homage to so many Italian films of the '70s."
The filmmakers had already begun production last fall when they received a micro-budget grant from Telefilm in January, Brooks says.
"We had to decide whether we were just going to finish the movie on DSLR (a relatively inexpensive digital single lens reflex camera) or start all over again and shoot it on a more professional format with more professional actors, effects, stunts and locations.
"So that's what we're doing, starting over from scratch," Brooks says. "We shoot in August and right now I'm in a hell-world of preproduction nightmares and budget constraints."
As incentive, Brooks and fellow Astron-6 member Matthew Kennedy are offering T-shirts, hand-drawn portraits and props to donors based on the size of their donations.
The Indiegogo crowd-sourcing campaign comes at a time of controversy, when millionaire filmmakers and actors such as Zach Braff and Kristen Bell are soliciting private donations from crowd-sourcing entities such as Kickstarter for their projects, a practice seen as siphoning money from filmmakers with far fewer resources.
Brooks acknowledges his $16,500 goal is comparatively modest, but it will have a big impact on the finished film.
"I want to do everything bigger and better," Brooks says.
"But just moving past DSLR cameras will cost us a fortune," he says. "When we were shooting DSLR we could shoot whenever we want, because I owned my camera, and we all operated it and lit for it. But now we'll have to rent our camera, which will likely cost well over $1,000 a day, and will require a camera operator, assistant, gaffer and key grip.
"So now we have to shoot the whole movie in one go, on a schedule.
"If all goes according to plan, we'll have one or two name-actors -- that is to say recognizable actors from 'real movies,' not just the Astron-6 regulars," he says.
"There will also be a lot of sex and violence and stunts, don't worry," Brooks says.
For more information, or to donate, go to www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-editor-a-feature-film-giallo-comedy (caution: mature content).