Two filmmakers have teamed to form Paper Moon Films, a Memphis production company preparing to launch three low-budget features, including one from buzz-generating local director Kentucker Audley and one co-starring Memphis songstress Amy LaVere and New York-based singer/actress Ann Magnuson.
"A lot of people talk about making movies, but we're not interested in talking about making movies, we're interested in getting these movies made," said Nick Case, partner in Paper Moon with Ryan Watt.
Memphis musician Amy LaVere will co-star with New York singer/actress Ann Magnuson in the Paper Moon film “Woman’s Picture.” Here she performs in Craig Brewer's "$5 Cover".
To make this happen, "Producers are having to figure out really creative ways to get their films made," Case said. For example, the first "Paper Moon" production, Audley's "Open Five," will make use of "crowd funding" -- which means the filmmakers are soliciting donations from fans and patrons through a Web site, openfivefilm.chipin.com, in much the same way that politicians ask for money from supporters.
In addition, a "Love Letter to Memphis" fundraising party and concert for the film will be held July 30 at Minglewood Hall, 1555 Madison Ave.
Case, 29, was a producer on "Wild Tigers I Have Known," which debuted at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. The movie's executive producer was Gus Van Sant, director of "Milk" and "Good Will Hunting." Case, an Ole Miss graduate, also worked on the production of "The 11th Hour," the Leonardo DiCaprio-narrated eco-documentary, and the made-in-Memphis "21 Grams" with Sean Penn and Naomi Watts.
Watt, also 29, is executive producer of "Daylight Fades," now in post-production, a vampire movie from local filmmaking collective Old School Pictures. Watt earned a marketing degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Both Watt and Case are graduates of Briarcrest Christian School.
"Open Five" is scheduled to begin shooting in early August, with a cast that includes Audley and Jake Rabinbach of the local band Jump Back Jake. The director of photography will be Chicago-based Joe Swanberg, a respected filmmaker in his own right as the writer-director of "Hannah Takes the Stairs."
Audley earned favorable attention on the film-festival circuit with his 2007 debut, "Team Picture," a no-budget odyssey of inertia that was viewed as a Memphis addition to the indie genre dubbed "mumblecore" for its emphasis on the lives of smart but noncommittal and sometimes emotionally inarticulate urban young people.
"Open Five" will be followed in late September by writer-director Brian Pera's more expensive "Woman's Picture," an homage to the Hollywood "women's films" of the 1930s through the 1950s, which showcased such powerhouse actresses as Joan Crawford and Susan Hayward. The movie will co-star LaVere and Magnuson, a fixture of the Manhattan club/art scene in the 1980s whose film credits include "Desperately Seeking Susan" and "Clear and Present Danger." Pera's insightful and surprising first feature, "The Way I See Things," screened at the 2008 Indie Memphis Film Festival.
The third film on the Paper Moon slate is "The Romance of Loneliness," the first feature from Sarah Ledbetter of Memphis and Matteo Servente of Torino, Italy, who previously teamed on the award-winning short, "Dammi Il La."