Probably the best thing about Kickstarter is that it’s given weird people a platform to support the artistic endeavors of other weird people who never would have had the chance to make their weird art under the iron fists of the economic models of the past. No longer do questionable eccentrics have to pitch their strange visions to uptight men in suits whose only concern is to maximize profit. Now they can just be like, “Hey, fellow freaks, check out this completely dumb thing I thought of that would make the world a sillier place if it existed. Why don’t you all give me a couple of bucks and then we can enjoy it together?”
The latest project to catch everyone’s attention [via The Verge] for being too weird to live and too rare to die is a film called Kung Fury that a guy named David Sandberg has been trying to cobble together using his background in visual effects, a whole lot of gumption, a good chunk of money out of his own pocket, and a little help from his friends. So far his efforts have resulted in an absolutely bonkers 80s-inspired kung-fu movie teaser that involves time travel, Nazis, dinosaurs, and vikings, and it turns out that with a little bit more help from you, the guy can turn the already insane teaser that he’s created into a full-fledged 30 minute short that will tell a complete story and make the world a slightly more juvenile place to live in. Click through to watch the impressive-looking work he’s done so far.
Normally a short that tried to cram as much nostalgia garbage as possible into its runtime and that shot entirely on green screen wouldn’t be the sort of Kickstarter film project that would catch my eye and make me think it was worth contributing to, but Kung Fury has a couple of things going for it that seem to separate it from the pack. Ever since these so-bad-it’s-good throwback to B-cinema movies have become popular (think Grindhouse, Snakes on a Plane, etc…) it’s slowly become clear that watching a movie that’s purposely trying to be bad or purposely trying to be low budget-looking just isn’t the same as watching a movie that inadvertently turned out bad and couldn’t help but be low budget-looking. There’s a charm that comes from actual effort that just can’t be replicated, and while all of these B-movie tributes usually have a moment or two that make you laugh or cheer, ultimately they don’t become favorites that you constantly re-watch and have a great time with like legitimate, failed but sincere cinema does (think The Room, Troll 2, or Miami Connection).
Kung Fury seems like it has a leg up on the competition in one respect though. While it’s clearly making an effort to be as over the top and outlandish a tribute to 80s genre crap as it can possibly be, at no point during this trailer is it winking at the audience. There’s never an effect that looks intentionally bad, or a moment where a performance purposefully shoots for camp. No, instead there is an absolute conviction in its assertion that a man getting out of his car while it ramps through the air in order to stand on its roof and fire a gun is awesome. And here real concern is projected when it’s revealed that a glitch in the time travel system has caused the story’s hero to hack too much time, sending him back to the Viking age instead of Nazi-era Germany.
Something should be said about those visual effects too. When you hear that a project like this was shot entirely in front of green screen, you expect it to look like absolute garbage. What Sandberg has been able to create here actually looks fairly impressive though, especially considering the minuscule budget he was working with. Considering that all of the money he’s looking to raise through Kickstarter would go to hiring a full effects team and giving them the time and resources necessary to buckle down and do some real work finishing this thing, there’s no telling how impressive Kung Fury could eventually look. Even if cheesy genre action isn’t your thing, you might want to think about contributing to this project just because it could help launch the career of the next great visual effects guy—which is a thing that Hollywood sorely needs, considering how many effects-heavy studio films we get that still look like crap.
What exactly is Sandberg’s campaign looking for as far as funding goes? $200,000, and seeing as most of the shooting has been completed already, almost all of that would go towards completing the film’s digital backdrops and whatnot. The Kickstarter page for the project explains, “Apart from creating all the environments digitally, there’s a lot of CG animated characters such as dinosaurs and robots that requires talented people and lots of time. To hire these artists we need to be able to pay them a decent salary. Money will also go to hire an exceptional artist to create the artwork for the movie poster. It will have that classic, illustrated 80s style that you rarely see anymore.”
Also, if you happen to be an artistic type who’s looking to get your break in the industry, it’s possible that you could be among the team Sandberg hires to get this thing completed. The Kickstarter page goes on to explain that, “We’re open to all the help we can get, so if you’re a 3D artist, 3D animator, visual effects artist, compositor, or if you feel like contribute to this movie in any way not mentioned here, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org”
The $200,000 isn’t the end of the Kung Fury story though. The Kickstarter campaign is ticking along well, and with 28 days left for it to receive its funding, it doesn’t seem like there’s any question that it’s going to reach the finish line (as a matter of fact, it could get there in the next few hours). There is a secondary goal in place though, where if they’re somehow able to raise $1,000,000 they’ve got an established producer who will talk to a potential distributor about expanding the project out to becoming a full-length feature film. Do you really like what you saw in the trailer above? Have a couple hundred grand lying around collecting dust? Then maybe you’d like to do your part to help make a real life stupid movie about dinosaurs and gunfights happen. It would be better than just handing it all over to your bookie again like you did the last time your cash hoard started to pile up.