UPDATE: The Indywood Kickstarter Campaign was a Success!

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Last week I wrote that the independent New Orleans cinema Indywood was looking to expand their programming through a Kickstarter campaign. The intimate theater has already been up and running at the edge of the French Quarter for just over a year now, but through a very reasonable requested donation they were looking to expand the scope of what services they could offer to the city’s cinephile community. At the time I wrote about their Kickstarter campaign it had two weeks to fund its project and just over half of its requested funds secured. I am happy to report that Indywood has since reached its goal and will now be able to expand its programming to include diverse offerings like Saturday morning cartoons, stand-up comedy, silent films with live musical accompaniment, “80’s VHS gems” and more.

In the last announcement I wrote that Indywood “occupies a strange, comfortable middle ground between watching a film in a traditional theater and popping in a DVD in a friend’s living room. Much like the experience of seeing a film at Zeitgeist or the outdoor Moonlight Movies screenings, there’s a communal aesthetic to Indywood that can’t be achieved at a larger, corporate-owned venue.” It’s awesome that the very community Indywood shares movies with stepped up to help them expand & grow. Personally, I very much look forward to watching to see what they bloom into and believe that, no matter what the scope of what they can accomplish, New Orleans will be all the richer for it.

Although the Kickstarter campaign has been fully funded, it’s still not too late to contribute if you haven’t already. They’ve secured the basic donation amount they’ve asked for, but more funding always helps. At this time there’s exactly one week left (until 8pm on March 5th to be exact) to contribute to the growth of New Orleans’ cinematic community & claim some truly cool rewards. There will also be a celebration for their backers (including a screening of The Big Lebowski) on March 5th to commemorate the success of the campaign. Hope to see you there!

-Brandon Ledet

Get Excited! Indywood is Looking to Expand their Programming through a Kickstarter Campaign

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I’ve heard tale of an ancient time when New Orleans was blessed with independent movie theaters, from legitimate single-screen cinemas to the overheated living rooms of shotgun houses where enterprising weirdos would sell you cheap beer & strange art films. By the time I was old enough to care, this cinematic paradise was gone. Up until a few years ago, the only independent theater holding on for dear life was The Prytania, a cultural institution that’s blessed our city with a hundred years of service. Most of our city’s independent cinemas had fallen to the crushing presence of AMC theaters in the suburbs and the convenience of home video.

Thankfully, things have changed. Just in the last few years, New Orleans’ independent movie scene has been veritably raised from the dead. In addition to the Prytania, we now have Chalmette Movies, Zeitgeist, Shotgun Cinema, The Theatres at Canal Place, outdoor Moonlight Movies screenings, the upcoming cinema on Broad Street and Indywood at the edge of the French Quarter. The city is buzzing with filmmaking & film watching activity. It’s a great time to be a cinephile in New Orleans.

One of the more exciting and more recent movie theaters in the city, Indywood, is looking to expand its scope & ambition through a crowd-funded Kickstarter campaign. A much cozier & laidback downtown option than the too-rich-for-my-blood Theatres at Canal Place, Indywood is an intimate single-screen cinema on Elysian Fields, a few blocks from the river. It occupies a strange, comfortable middle ground between watching a film in a traditional theater and popping in a DVD in a friend’s living room. Much like the experience of seeing a film at Zeitgeist or the outdoor Moonlight Movies screenings, there’s a communal aesthetic to Indywood that can’t be achieved at a larger, corporate-owned venue.

Asking the very community it serves for a very reasonable donation to fund an expanse in programming, Indywood is looking to be more than just an intimate place to watch movies. According to the Kickstarter page, they’re looking to serve food & wine, play Saturday morning cartoons, and host stand-up comedy & discussions of classic works. They’re also looking to expand the ranges of films they screen to include spotlights on local films, African American films, silent films with live musical accompaniment and (most exciting to me) “80’s VHS gems”. The campaign’s “rewards” are also pretty cool, including a nifty t-shirt, private screenings, and the right to buy a seat in the theater that you’ll have the right to claim “no matter who’s sitting there for a whole year. Even if it’s Beyoncé.”

If you have the time or a few bucks to spare, help support the revival of New Orleans’ independent cinema scene by donating to the Indywood Kickstarter page or at least spreading it on social media. It has about two weeks left to reach its reasonable goal, but just over half of its funding secured. We at Swampflix would love to see their project completed.

2/26/15 UPDATE: The campain was a success!

-Brandon Ledet

UPDATE: The What We Do in the Shadows Kickstarter was a Success!

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Last week I wrote that the upcoming Jemaine Clement/Taika Watiti vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows was looking to fund an American theatrical release through a Kickstarter campaign. The film had already secured digital & home media distribution, but was struggling to reach American cinemas outside a couple screenings in New York & Los Angeles. At the time I wrote about the campaign to fund a wider theatrical release, it was barely more than halfway funded with only a week left to go. I am happy to report that the project has since reached its goal and will be able to hit a lot more local cinemas as a result (hopefully with New Orleans on its itinerary).

Last week, I described What We Do in the Shadows thusly: “It promises to take the same ennui employed by Only Lovers Left Alive into the satiric comedy territory of Vamps. Posed as a Christopher Guest-style mockumentary, the film follows modern day vampires as they navigate mundane activities like nightlife, dealing with roommates, and searching for a bite to eat. They clash with the likes of witches, zombies, werewolves, and plain-old humans in a loosely-plotted slice of (undead) life comedy. From the looks of the trailer, it could be quite funny as well as a fresh take on a genre I once thought hopelessly stale.” Judging by early reports it indeed is a very funny film and I hope that we will get to see & review it ourselves soon enough. Maybe even in the theater, thanks to the Kickstarter!

-Brandon Ledet

Get Excited! What We Do in the Shadows is Looking to Fund an American Theatrical Release

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A few years ago I was ready to concede that the vampire & zombie genres had reached their saturation points. In the mad rush to capitalize off of the successes of viable commodities like Twilight & The Walking Dead, the market has just been flooded with untold piles of subpar schlock like Vampires Suck & Zombeavers. Every now & then, however, a movie proves me wrong. I found the zom-coms Life After Beth & Warm Bodies to be surprisingly sweet and compassionate. The unfairly ignored Vamps was a return to form for Clueless-guru Amy Heckerling’s particular brand of social satire. I have yet to see Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, but from the advertising it seems to bring the 80’s classic The Hunger’s vampiric ennui into the 21st Century, an aesthetic I hadn’t considered would return. The endless implications & metaphors swirling around the undead have proved the genres endlessly adaptable, even if the final product isn’t always solid.

That’s why I’m hopeful for the New Zealand horror comedy What We Do in the Shadows. It promises to take the same ennui employed by Only Lovers Left Alive into the satiric comedy territory of Vamps. Posed as a Christopher Guest-style mockumentary, the film follows modern day vampires as they navigate mundane activities like nightlife, dealing with roommates, and searching for a bite to eat. They clash with the likes of witches, zombies, werewolves, and plain-old humans in a loosely-plotted slice of (undead) life comedy. From the looks of the trailer, it could be quite funny as well as a fresh take on a genre I once thought hopelessly stale.

What We Do in the Shadows is currently looking to fund an American theatrical release through a Kickstarter campaign. The Kickstarter’s page is helmed by the filmmakers themselves, Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi, two of the creative minds behind the cult-classic comedy series Flight of the Conchords (as well as the films Boy & Eagle vs Shark). Clement is also a major player in one my favorite dumb comedies, Gentlemen Broncos. He’s a very funny & talented performer that I wish didn’t have to beg for funding like this, but the worst part is that the campaign is barely more than halfway funded with just a week left to go.

Even if you are not in a position to donate to the film’s American distribution, at least visit the Kickstarter page for a humorous promo featuring Clement & Waititi themselves or maybe help spread it elsewhere on the internet. It would be great if more people could see this promising, self-funded comedy and it was rewarded for bringing undead concepts into unexpectedly fresh territory.

2/14/15 UPDATE: The project was a success!

-Brandon Ledet