Ever wanted to have a hand in helping a film get made? Now you have your chance with a new film by the director of the acclaimed gay films Absent and Plan B, which was on our recent list of the Top 100 Greatest Gay Movies.
Director Marco Berger has a new project underway called Hawaii, but there’s one thing standing in the way of actually shooting the film: funds. It’s a common problem for filmmakers trying to find financial backers, but Berger has turned to Kickstarter, a funding platform that helps artists raise money for everything from production to finishing costs of a project. Since its inception in 2009, Kickstarter, according to the website, has raised over $359 million and helped fun over 350 projects.
AfterElton checked in with Berger to find out more about Hawaii and, with just a few days left in his fundraising window (and still shy of the $40,000 he needs to shoot the film), how Kickstarter could help make his new gay film a reality.
AfterElton: What is the story we see in Hawaii and what is the significance of the title? Is it set in Hawaii??
Marco Berger: Hawaii is a story about two men that are reunited by fate after a long time. Their tender view of the world when they were children develops in a story about power, desire & love. One of them has everything in life and nothing to lose and the other one could lose the only thing he got from the other one, an opportunity to get on track.
The film is not set in Hawaii, it is set in the countryside of Argentina. I would love to tell the reason of the name, but it’s actually a very important key on the plot. So I prefer to keep it a secret until the film is released – if we are actually able to shoot it.
AE: You seem to like unconventional love stories. What is the appeal in that kind of love story?
MB: I think it is always attractive to see unconventional love stories because even if you don’t identify with the characters, in a way, you can be reflected in those stories when everything seems against love. Hawaii is a kind of a Jane Austen contemporary story. Even if her novels are about rich and aristocratic people and I can’t really relate personally with that situation, I can relate with the characters on a human level, and that’s where I like to get.
AE: How did you go about casting the film? Of course, you’ve worked with Manuel Vignau before but you call Mateo Chiarino a raw diamond on the movie’s website. Tell me about casting and the chemistry between the two men.
MB: In Manuel’s case, I wanted to work with him again and I had the feeling that Plan B became more important than the characters portrayed on the movie. It’s like the film ‘ate them.’ So I wanted to give Manuel the opportunity to show other acting colors and break the feeling that Manuel IS actually Bruno from Plan B.
When I said that Mateo is a raw diamond it’s because I think he is a brilliant actor with an exquisite and rare face. I believe it’s very strange that he hasn’t got more exposure by now, and it’s a great opportunity for me to discover new actors as I did with Javier De Pietro in Absent.
AE: How important is music to the film? You’re collaborating again with Pedro Irusta, who did such a great job with the score of Plan B.
MB: In the way I have been working so far, music is more than important because the work relationship with Pedro became really a collaborative thing, a team. In Plan B we made something that called some attention but in Absent we went further, and Pedro’s music added a fundamental layer of my work as an author. This team we are making as producers might throw good results or not, but the artistic team is something that I can’t imagine in any other way.
AE: Your films fall into the gay film genre, but do you mind that label? Do you think it’s limiting?
MB: I don’t actually care about genre. I want to tell stories and as a gay man it is logical that my movies are about my own desires and fantasies. I make movies for everyone, not for any specific audience. I am gay and I love millions of straight stories, maybe it’s time for straight people to see gay stories just as stories.
AE: Where are you at with the making of Hawaii?
MB: We have the script, the actors, crew and location. There is only one thing we are missing: funds. It depends on how this Kickstarter project ends if the film is shot now or if we have to find other ways to make it possible.
AE: Tell me about the Kickstarter program. Is this your first time using it to raise funds?
MB: I think the idea of crowd funding is brilliant. It is the first time we have tried this type of platform. We are aware that it is harder for us, not being in USA, to promote it and to reach the large amount of people that have expressed that they liked Plan B & Absent. But we are hoping that news about the campaign will reach a large part of them and that will make the difference.
That’s why we emphasize that it is really important to spread the word about it. I heard an expression in Friends – “Say it, don’t spray it”. I say “Say it, spread it and even spray it”
Berger’s previous films
AE: How important is Kickstarter becoming to filmmakers like yourself?
MB: Now it seems like a great promise for filmmakers like me who want to keep the authorship of their work and feel really free to tell their stories in their own personal way. It could be a platform to create something like how the production company “El Deseo” was to Almodovar, and made him one of the freest directors in the world.
AE: What is your hope for Hawaii in terms of getting it to Festivals and theaters so everyone can see it?
MB: As a Director I always hope the best for the films, so I actually want Hawaii to be featured in as many festivals as possible and to reach a market as wide as possible. Movies are made to be seen so the greater exposure the movie gets, the more chances for the movie to find its audience. And also for audiences to find their movies.
AE: What is the time frame for your part of the Kickstarter program?
MB: The Kickstarter campaign ends on October 19th. So “Correveidile!”, which means “Run Go And Tell!”
To find out more about Hawaii and to help make the film a reality via Kickstarter, go to the website.