Braxton Pope

The staff here at FSR have been tracking the development of The Canyons pretty closely. The reportedly microbudgeted film directed by Paul Schrader from a script by American Psycho/Less Than Zero novelist Bret Easton Ellis and guided by indie producer Braxton Pope, The Canyons has gained notice for utilizing social media outlets like Kickstarter to help finance it and Facebook to cast as-yet-undiscovered talent. Now, it appears that legendary acting veterans James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor porn star James Deen and postmodern performance art project Lindsay Lohan will star in the film, which ComingSoon describes as a “contemporary thriller that documents five twenty-somethings’ quest for power, love, sex and success in 2012 Hollywood.” Lohan is best-known for her starring roles in The Parent Trap, Mean Girls, and the Los Angeles district court. James Deen is best known for his roles at Jimmy Olsen in Superman XXX: A Porn Parody, Moe in Simpsons: The XXX Parody, and Egon Spengler in This Ain’t Ghostbusters XXX.

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A money clip autographed by Robert De Niro and given to Paul Schrader on the set of Taxi Driver. A pitch meeting with the producer currently making a Schrader feature penned by Bret Easton Ellis. An autographed hardcover copy of every Ellis book. I’m sorry, are you some Hollyhood hot shot? No? Just a Kickstarter backer? Sure. We’ve written plenty about the Schrader-directed and Ellis-penned The Canyons, thanks to its inventive use of participatory cinema (including casting for roles on Facebook) and our exclusive debut of the film’s poster, but now the team behind the film (including producer Braxton Pope) have gone one step further when it comes to making a crowd-influenced film: they’re going for crowd-funding. Per the film’s new Kickstarter page, “Pope, Ellis and Schrader are partly financing the film themselves through Pope’s new company Sodium Fox in order to maintain complete creative control of the distinct source material…The Canyons team has realized the Kickstarter is indeed a part of this new independent change, and is seeking to connect with our fan base even further with this campaign.” The Canyons team is currently looking to raise $100,000, and to meet that end, they’re offering some of the most jaw-dropping backer rewards that I’ve ever seen for this type of campaign (you know, like those I listed up top). After the break, check out twelve unbelievable items currently available as backer rewards on The Canyons‘ Kickstarter page. If financing indie films means that Bret Easton Ellis will review your novel or Paul Schrader […]

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Yesterday, our own Landon Palmer dedicated this week’s always-astute Culture Warrior to emerging participatory cinema, films that hinge on the involvement of outside audiences to not only finance them, but actually cast them and get them to the screen. Landon paid particular attention to director Paul Schrader and screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis‘s The Canyons, one of the most tantalizing and high-profile projects out there that is relying on participation from others to get made. The pair, along with producer Braxton Pope, are relying on submitted auditions from all interested parties to form their cast, using their Facebook page and their LetItCast page to choose possible rising stars to fill out the  five major roles in the film. While we don’t know much about the film, we do know that it’s “about youth, glamour, sex and Los Angeles, circa 2012″ and that the five main roles include “Christian, a trust fund kid, power player and major manipulator, who is a film producer that enjoys filming his own three-way sex sessions; Tara, his girlfriend and former model; Ryan, a bartender and young actor who is angling for a role in Christian’s horror movie; Gina, who works for Ryan and is in love with him and is also looking for a role in the horror pic and finally, Lindsay, a former actress turned yoga instructor who is sleeping with Christian, and falling in love with him.” (Thanks to The Playlist for those descriptions.) Both Schrader and Ellis have distinctly dark worldviews, so it’s […]

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Culture Warrior

Veteran filmmaker Paul Schrader, notorious author Bret Easton Ellis, and indie producer Braxton Pope want you to audition for their new film. They’re assembling a microbudget feature for the digital distribution market called The Canyons, and they’re looking for some fresh new faces to star in it. Is your lack of an agent or non-Los Angeles residence preventing you from getting a fair chance at auditioning for legit films? There’s no need to worry, for we live in the 21st century my friend. The Canyons is holding its audition process through Facebook. On the one hand, The Canyons‘s unique production process makes complete sense. We are no longer, after all, in 2006 when studio producers had an overinvested, experimental Snakes on a Plane-level-interest in Internet culture. In this case, even on a small-budget independent film, the visible gatekeepers still possess power over the participants within the supposedly “democratized” framework of social networking. For a while it seemed that cinema – largely an object particular to 20th century logic – could not adapt to the boundary-destroying, power-shifting implications of the 21st century. Now this seems to no longer be the case. Web distribution (which was little more than a fantasy or an overblown threat to theatrical cinema’s hegemony just over a decade ago) is now seen as a conceivable and potentially profitable alternative to traditional film exhibition.

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