ABOUT THE PROJECT
Daniel Hart Donoghue:
Why do we tell stories? What is it about storytelling that makes it such an integral part of the human experience? In many ways, this question has shaped my journey into filmmaking and sits at the heart of Paradox Lost. The question has been with me since childhood. As a kid, I lived with my grandparents and spent a tremendous amount of time around my grandfather and that generation – this little crew of old Irishmen that would sit around at night and tell stories in an animated, almost competitive way. I’d sneak down at night and listen – in the summer I didn’t even have to, I slept on this little sofa bed right near the kitchen so I’d just stay awake listening. My grandmother called them “Seanchaithe” which roughly translates to “Storytellers” from Irish Gaelic. I fell in love with the sounds and rhythms of the language and at a very early age knew I wanted to be a writer. But it was more than simply the sounds; it was the intent. I never heard any of the men from that generation say “here’s what I think you should do,” it was always “let me tell you a story about a guy I know.” There is not only something infinitely beautiful about that concept but it also is at the center of our humanity, what our stories have always done. But are now struggling to do.
More than any other time in our history, we live in the absence of the sacred. The old stories we have told to provide meaning in this life have all but dissolved in a sea of technological advancement, scientific understanding, and the complexity of a unified global society. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we all feel its weight. Some have turned fanatical in the attempt to hold on to the old stories while the rest of us import our confusion and hopes in some vague notion of being “spiritual but not religious, at least I don’t think religious, but I’d like to believe in something…” Paradox Lost is an expression of that weight.
Milan Kundera once said, in an attempt to define the art of the novel, that the novel “must express the complexity of life in the modern world, the dilemma of living now.” As a filmmaker, I am passionate about applying that same metric to this art form. By placing the seed of our shared modern existential dilemma into a character and situation where we don’t expect it, a film noir gangster in an interrogation, we are able to draw out the absurdity of the situation and examine it in a way that allows for both humor and intellectual contemplation. If we can create a situation, where we can make people laugh and think, then we’re onto something. After much effort in the writer’s room and at the pre-production table, that’s what we are prepared to do. With your help, together we can give people an experience where they are entertained and also incited to dialogue, where they leave the theatre a little bit lighter with a smile and on their face and just a tiny bit smarter with a question in their heart. That’s our goal. That’s our dream. That’s Paradox Lost.
The paradox is finding meaning in the most unexpected of places. The riddle is pushing forward when the answer contradicts the question. The rush is finding the next question.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Paradox Lost is a hip, edgy dark comedy about a pair of gangsters who live by the code of the film-noir gangster. When they capture the Bookie who betrayed their mentor, Mickey knows just what to do with the traitor, but Jimmy is conflicted because he’s just had a religious experience when he met a Buddhist at a yard sale. Mickey’s interrogation of the surprisingly flippant Bookie keeps getting side-tracked by Jimmy’s desperation to tell Mickey the story of his enlightenment. When it turns out that the guy they caught may not even be the Bookie, Mickey’s interrogation spirals down a rabbit hole to catastrophic enlightenment.
Our distribution plan is interwoven with our financing plan, which is innovative and we believe, unique. Paradox Lost is ultimately a feature film, but we will be shooting the film in segments, each of which is a complete short. Imagine, for example, if Pulp Fiction were split into its separate stories and shot one story at a time, then edited together for the feature. That’s the basic plan for Paradox Lost.
This piece of the trilogy of short films that will eventually be cut into the feature is the first because it’s the most cost-effective to shoot, which allows us to involve you, our audience in financing the film. As we raise funds, we also begin to build our audience, through Seed & Spark, on social media and by word of mouth.
Once this short is finished, we will submit it to top film festivals such as SXSW and Tribeca. Beyond that, we will offer limited-time streaming to certain-level backers of our campaign, but will not seek further distribution of the short in order to preserve distribution rights for the feature.
We will leverage the completed short film, publicity generated by any festival screenings and/or wins, as well as our accumulated fan-base numbers to interest marquee-name cast in the next two pieces. The filmmakers have relationships with various such actors. We will work with foreign sales agents and distributors, with whom we also have relationships, to ensure that these cast members will enhance our prospects for foreign sales and/or pre-sales.
We will follow steps similar to those outlined above for each of the shorts and we expect to film the second and third pieces in December and April, respectively, depending on actor availability.
As this process unfolds, we will also be taking meetings with distributors and sales agents to pursue a theatrical distribution deal for the feature. We will work with both domestic and foreign sales agents to sell our theatrical, television and digital rights. We anticipate a release of the feature as early as summer or fall, 2016.
If we do not obtain theatrical distribution, we will pursue digital self-distribution on platforms such as Vimeo, Netflix, Amazon and iTunes.