Let me start off this latest edition of Fund This Film with full disclosure: I don’t know Ryland Aldrich from Adam, unlike some of the writers and editors at Film School Rejects and our colleagues elsewhere. He follows me on Twitter, and I’m aware that he writes for Twitch, but that’s as close as we get. His email asking for his new project, Folk Hero & Funny Guy, to be spotlighted in this column received the same skepticism as every other email pitching a crowdfunding project that I get on a daily basis. Fortunately it turned out to be a campaign I could be excited about, because otherwise it might have been awkward. Not because of the relationship Aldrich has with others here at FSR so much as because the campaign video directly mentions FSR as the best, most important place for movie criticism on the web.
That last bit is a tad exaggerated. But we are mentioned and our logo is even featured on screen. Turns out someone here (Luke Mullen) positively reviewed (A-) another movie Aldrich produced called Snaps, which was at SXSW this year. I haven’t seen it. I also haven’t seen It’s a Disaster, which is another movie someone else here (Kate Erbland) even more positively reviewed (A). With a grade like that, I should get to it, especially since it’s on Netflix Instant and would have been good to be familiar with since one of its producers and stars is Jeff Grace, the writer and director of Folk Hero & Funny Guy. At least I found time to check out some previous films he co-wrote, specifically the 2-minute Google Maps (watch here) and the 3-minute Excuse Me (watch here), both of which are really amusing.
Before doing that five minutes of hard research, two things appealed to me about this movie. One is that it has cast Alex Karpovsky. Not as a ladder, but as a struggling stand-up comedian who goes on tour with an old friend, a successful singer-songwriter. It’s a perfect get since Karpovsky continues to be on the rise as an indie darling (those can be men, right?) and also because he both was previously a struggling stand-up comedian for real and previously played a stand-up comedian in Sleepwalk With Me. He also made a movie of his own called Red Flag where he’s on tour, but with a film, so he has the road trip thing down, too. Oh and he’s in the upcoming folk singer movie Inside Llewyn Davis! Basically it seems like he was born to play this role.
The second thing that appealed to me is the campaign video itself, which is pretty funny. A lot of crowdfund campaign videos are all comedic and meta lately to attract pledgers, but this one is possibly the funniest I’ve seen yet. I’m still laughing a little inside about the “Inside Daniel Day-Lewis” line. Honestly, I wish that was the movie being made here, but if Folk Hero & Funny Guy is at least as consistently amusing as the video, I’m on board for this as well. And by on board I mean willing to promote the Kickstarter campaign in this column. I might also be interested in the pledge incentive to have a character in the film named after me, but only if they can get James Franco to play him (see Whatever It Takes).
There’s a whole month left for the campaign to raise its $48,500 goal, which is only for the pre-production so don’t think this is going to be that cheap of a movie. But it seems at least one of the pledge perks is to see Grace tape a stand-up special on November 12, so there’s a little urgency if that’s your choice (given that the perk delivery date is December 2014, I’m hoping the event date is listed wrong). If you miss the cutoff, there’s always the still-available watercolor portrait of you (or presumably anyone of your choosing) painted by Karpovsky, which will be the best investment given that he’s going to be as famous as Woody Allen one day (according to someone in something read in the campaign video). According to other info on the Kickstarter page, Folk Hero & Funny Guy will be shooting next winter and premiere around July 2015, which is crazy since the summer movie season of 2015 is already super ridiculously exciting.
Watch the funny Kickstarter video starring Grace, Aldrich, female lead Liza Oppenheimer and singer-songwriter Adam Ezra below.