A pyramid schemer’s dark night of the soul in lonely Atlantic City, starring David Warshofsky.
About this project
Thanks for checking out our Kickstarter for TRUE BLUE!
This film will truly be a labor of love by some of my very best friends in the whole world, and I’m happy to invite you to join us on this journey.
On behalf of my crew and my actors, thank you for supporting TRUE BLUE.
— Chris Osborn, Writer/Director/Producer
Set against the desolate backdrop of Atlantic City, TRUE BLUE follows Larry, a multi-level marketer peddling a dubious natural supplement to low-income residents as a strategy to get rich quick.
After an unexpectedly violent seminar one night, Larry questions his complicity in this predatory pyramid scheme and wanders the city desperately seeking attention from anyone within earshot.
No one looks his way until, at a karaoke bar, he sees Patrice, a charismatic bodybuilder, sashaying and singing an Al Green-like ballad. They strike up an easy friendship and spend the rest of the night drinking and getting closer. But before long, Patrice’s ulterior motives are revealed and Larry crosses a line that causes them both to retreat.
TRUE BLUE will be shot on Super 16mm: all the better to capture those smoky, neon casino textures. Within the frenzied charm of Atlantic City, the film will nevertheless find a quiet, poetic tone. Many of the reference points have been Taiwanese films, especially those by Tsai Ming-Liang, as well as work by American directors who are fascinated by life at the margins, like Bob Rafelson, Kelly Reichardt, and Paul Thomas Anderson.
For my money, some of the most interesting work is being created by shorts filmmakers. The form’s lower barrier of entry and lack of external pressures have allowed creators to fully embody their visions, paving the way for daring and creative work to emerge both through film festivals and online platforms.
I’ve worked at Vimeo for the past three years, where I’ve helped forge and galvanize communities of shorts filmmakers through my D E E P V I M E O channel, which highlights experimental content on the site, and my monthly D E E P screenings at Videology in Brooklyn. I care deeply about creators using short films to toy with form and expand our understanding of what’s possible with cinema. The short is no longer a calling card or a stepping stone, but a world that lives on its own. It is in this world that I choose to play.
With my previous short, SISTERS, I often received questions from audiences probing at its length. “Is this a preview for a longer feature?” And the answer is always “no.” This is the story I wanted to tell in the way I wanted to. Even though it alludes to a larger world, I think that the short form has allowed me to gesture toward a grander idea by deeply exploring a smaller slice.
TRUE BLUE is no different. Not all stories need to fit a feature length structure and we as filmmakers should not feel limited by what the market tells us we need to create to be financially viable and successful. I’m all for challenging that. There is so much room for creative expression and exploration through this medium.
As a filmmaker, I tell stories of people left adrift by the systems that dictate their lives. I explore how impersonal institutions leave their residue on our most intimate situations, how the political becomes personal. TRUE BLUE is no exception.
TRUE BLUE began as a meditation on my friend Mark, a raw-vegan bodybuilder who peddled intense diet and fitness plans. Behind the enthusiastic pitches was someone who simply wanted to change lives, to connect with people on a deeper level.
Unfortunately, that hustle masked a darkness which propelled Mark to take his own life in 2014. TRUE BLUE is dedicated to Mark, and those like him: the strivers of our world who pursue their version of the American Dream at any cost, even when it hurts them.
Cinema is one of our purest ways to access experiences outside our own. Each time we enter a theater, we choose empathy: it is an active decision to be present and cast aside the walls built up by society, walls we’ve built within ourselves. I directly explored this concept in my recent science-fiction short, SISTERS, where the close bond of sisterhood withstands the most incomprehensible trauma.
By contrast, TRUE BLUE is a story of two men who almost open up. Their relationship that develops plays out the way many male friendships start: tender but tenuous, rifled with uncertainty and expectation. The film becomes a funny and sad examination of masculinity under capitalism, where men are made to fear true connection with one another.
Even if Larry and Patrice are unable to bridge that gulf, I hope that by making the film, audiences will be able to deeply empathize with two characters who are trying desperately to know themselves in a harsh, unsparing world.
David Warshofsky (Larry) is an actor based in Los Angeles. A selection of his credits range from Oliver Stone’s BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY to Paul Thomas Anderson’s THERE WILL BE BLOOD and THE MASTER, to Miranda July’s THE FUTURE to Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN and Paul Greengrass’ CAPTAIN PHILLIPS. On stage, Warshofsky has originated roles in Tony Kushner’s A Bright Room Called Day and The Heavenly Theatre. He appeared on Broadway in Biloxi Blues and Nicholas Hynter’s revival of Carousel, Shakespeare in the Park, Playwrights Horizons, and Manhattan Theatre Club. He is an Assistant Professor of Theatre Practice at USC School of Dramatic Arts.
**Casting of Patrice to be announced**
Jade Lane (Cath) is an actress based in Brooklyn. Following a successful modeling career in Los Angeles, she relocated to New York to pursue her passion for theater, performing in new work by a diverse group of playwrights, such as John Patrick Shanley (Doubt). She was recently seen alongside Lindsay Burdge in Chris Osborn’s SISTERS, as well as the webseries, THE RIDGE.
Jason Giampietro (Jay) is a filmmaker, writer and actor whose films have played at the Maryland Film Festival, BAMcinemaFest and New York Film Festival. His short HERNIA won the Hammer to Nail Summer Shorts 2015 contest and he made his acting debut as part of the ensemble cast in Nathan Silver’s STINKING HEAVEN. His prolific documentation of New York City’s eccentric characters led him to being named “Best Local Instagram” in 2015 by The Village Voice. (instagram.com/jaygiampietro)
My name is Chris Osborn and I’m a filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York. My most recent short, SISTERS, has played at film festivals across the country. Filmmaker Magazine called it “a study in abstract horror and mental illness… [that] earns its high-strung pathos.” I’ve also directed several music videos for bands Tennis, MS MR, Holiday Shores, and Candy Claws.
Beyond my directorial work, I co-produced LACE CRATER, Harrison Atkins’ feature debut, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2015, and has gone on to play festivals all over the world. Both the Sundance Institute and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have recognized my writing, as a semifinalist for the Sundance Screenwriting Lab and quarterfinalist for the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, respectively.
I work at Vimeo, where I curate experimental and avant-garde videos through my popular channel, D E E P V I M E O.
This is a crew of extremely talented professionals who also happen to be very close friends of mine. It’s a diverse group of filmmakers from so many different types of backgrounds, genders, and sexualities that I feel bring so much and allow certain shades of the film to come through that I may have missed. I not only prioritize opening up the perspective of a film, but I welcome contributions from any of these people. I trust them as much as they’ve entrusted in me with this project.
Breanne Thomas (Producer) is a film producer based in Brooklyn. In addition to collaborations with Chris Osborn on various commercial and music video projects, she produced his most recent short, SISTERS. She currently works at Milk Studios.
Kati Skelton (Producer) is a filmmaker based in Brooklyn. Her short, DOOR ON THE LEFT, premiered at Maryland Film Festival in 2016, and was a Vimeo Staff Pick. She was the assistant director of LACE CRATER, Harrison Atkins’ debut feature that premiered at TIFF in 2015.
Jeff Melanson (Director of Photography) is a cinematographer based in Brooklyn. His collaborations with director Charles Frank, MY BABY YOU’LL BE and JUNK MAIL have each earned Vimeo Staff Picks, and his Super 16-shot music video for Royksopp’s “Running To The Sea,” directed by Lauren Rothery, won the band’s contest to become the song’s official video. He recently wrapped playwright Derek Ahonen’s debut feature, THE TRANSCENDENTS, and Lauren Rothery’s short, SHELLY.
Tennis (Composers) is an indie-rock band from Denver. Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, the husband-and-wife duo behind Tennis, have received widespread critical acclaim over the course of three albums, Cape Dory, Young and Old, and Ritual In Repeat. TRUE BLUE is their first original musical score.
By its nature, Kickstarter is a space designed for creators without a profit motive to connect with anyone who simply wants to see their work exist. There are financial constraints to filmmaking and making it worthwhile for my friends alongside me is extremely important to me as a director.
When you back TRUE BLUE, you’re ensuring that my crew will have all the resources they need to make the film it deserves to be. That means food on set, the right tools and gear, and a place to sleep. I run very collaborative shoots and I want to honor their time, commitment, and creativity.
And however you can help — whether that’s donating to this Kickstarter or just sharing the link among your friends — know that it means the world to all of us on TRUE BLUE.
Risks and challenges
Creating a film is always a challenge. But because of this project and my production team’s tight budget, I am confident we will complete on time and on budget. Additionally, by partnering with the Atlantic City Film Commission, we have created long-lasting relationships with all of locations that will ensure TRUE BLUE’s success.