The Eyeslicer is a new variety TV show bringing the next generation of alternative American filmmakers together under one strange roof.
About this project
Welcome to The Eyeslicer.
We’re Dan and Vanessa. We recently collaborated to create collective : unconscious, an anthology feature film where we asked five of our favorite filmmakers to adapt each other’s dreams for the screen. We premiered at SXSW in March, then released the whole thing online for free (so far 275,000 people have watched it, a fact that blows our minds).
The whole process was such an inspiring experience that we decided to “stick it to the man” and quit our dayjobs to work together on a new project that’s even bigger, bolder, and crazier.
It’s called The Eyeslicer, and it’s going to be the weirdest TV show you’ve ever seen.
Now we’re here on Kickstarter because we need your help to finish our 10-episode first season and launch the series out into the world in a very unique way…
Wait, Back Up… What is The Eyeslicer Exactly?
It’s an hour-long variety series that will slice, dice, then mince your eyeballs into a delicious paella.
Each episode will play like a hand-crafted mixtape, blending short films, music videos, web series, video art, and more into a weird, wild, uninterrupted whole.
Think of it like 120 Minutes, but for alternative film instead of alternative music.
When you’re watching The Eyeslicer, anything goes. You’ll be introduced to work that’s incredibly diverse in genre, style and aesthetic. Shorts from the depths of YouTube next to shorts from the best festivals in the world. Shorts that are hilarious, terrifying, and completely WTF next to shorts that are subtle, quiet, and beautiful. Heartbreaking next to life affirming. 16mm next to amateur computer animation. Remix art next to vérité documentary.
But everything you’ll see will be united by a stalwart counter-culture ethos and a desire to push at the boundaries of what filmmaking can be.
What Films Will Be Featured?
Sorry – no spoilers!!
We want to leave the answer to that question a mystery for now. We think it’ll make watching the show more fun.
But to whet your appetite, we’ve sprinkled some hints around the page. And we’ll share a few of the 50+ filmmakers whose work you can expect to see featured: David Lowery, the Zellner Brothers, Lev Kalman & Whitney Horn, Yen Tan, Calvin Reeder, Shaka King, Ornana, John Wilson, Jennifer Reeder, Leah Shore, Colin Healey, Lauren Wolkstein, Chris Radcliffe. And many, many more – that’s just the tip ‘o the iceberg!!
Why Are We Doing This?
Because at times it can feel like the entire American indie film scene has become a minor league team trying out for mainstream film and television opportunities. Fuck that – we want to build a home for weird film and TV. A community for artists who are trying to do something different and a destination for audiences hungry for bold new work.
We think there are people out there who, like us, are tired of watching mediocre, algorithm-inspired TV shows. We’re making a TV show for them. For people who prefer it when the stuff they watch makes their eyes go wide instead of glazed.
And, oh yeah, but did we mention that the whole thing is going to be ‘invitation only?’
Did You Say ‘Invitation Only?’
Yup. At least for the foreseeable future, the only way you’ll be able to watch the first season ofThe Eyeslicer will be if you’re invited to watch it. We’re building a secret society of weirdos who want to watch weird things together.
How is that even going to work?
We’ll start out by inviting our Eyeslicer filmmakers, partners, and Kickstarter backers (at the $20 level and higher), and hooking them up with invites of their own so they can invite others to the site . As new people join, they’lll receive invites to bring more people to the site. The bigger we grow, the more new episodes and exclusives we’ll release.
Why on Earth would you release a TV show like that?
Because we don’t want it to be a passive experience. We’re trying to build a community from the ground up. And we think the best way to do that is to not just make this something you watch, but something you’re a part of.
So Why Are You on Kickstarter Anyway?
Because we need your help to finish the series and pay our filmmakers.
We’re deep into the process of bringing The Eyeslicer to life, and have already assembled an incredible team of shorts, filmmakers, film programmers, and collaborators to help us bring the first season of The Eyeslicer to life. If all goes according to plan, we’ll have our ten-episode, ten-hour first season completed and ready to launch by January.
But this is a truly scrappy and DIY production. We’ve covered the costs of getting everything up and running out of pocket so far. And now we’re on Kickstarter because it’s important to us to pay everyone involved for their work. The vast majority of the money we raise here will go directly to filmmakers to license their shorts, and to commission original content for the show.
We also need to pay for some additional stuff that’s essential to getting the series finished and out into the world properly. There are costs that we just can’t avoid associated with legal, graphic design, and website maintenance. Boring stuff, but if we want the show to succeed, essential stuff.
So Who’s Involved?
The Eyeslicer is co-created by Dan Schoenbrun and Vanessa McDonnell.
Together they recently spearheaded collective:unconscious, a collaborative feature film in which five acclaimed filmmakers adapted each other’s dreams for the screen. In 2016, it became the first ever omnibus film to premiere in Competition at SXSW, and was praised by Rolling Stone as, “unlike anything you’ve ever seen with your eyes open.”
Dan has worked in the independent film industry for nearly a decade at places like Kickstarter and IFP. He currently writes “Continue Watching,” a regular column for FILMMAKER Magazine about the business of alternative filmmaking.
Vanessa is a prolific producer and editor and a contributor for Screen Slate, where she’s written about dozens of films. She’s also a programmer at Spectacle, a Brooklyn microcinema.
We’ve also invited two of our favorite film programmers to help us curate the series and uncover the best, weirdest films out there: Eric Hatch (the Director of Programming at the Maryland Film Festival) and Chris Osborn (the curator of DEEP Vimeo, and a wonderful filmmaker in his own right).
Plus, we’ve got the visionary Caspar Newbolt of Version Industries helping us with design. He’s been the artist behind amazing web projects for artists like Daft Punk and Louis CK, and has designed posters and websites for many of our favorite filmmakers. And Kickstarter’s own Tieg Zaharia (a brilliant software engineer, amazing human, and epic film nerd) has been helping us build our invite-only platform. We just participating in the POV Digital Lab with Tieg, and got some additional amazing design help from the generous and talented Erika Grijalva.
Needless to say, we also have dozens of amazing filmmakers as part of the team as well. These filmmakers form the true backbone of The Eyeslicer. They’re the ones creating and sharing the amazing work that will make up the first season of the series.
Let’s Make Indie Film & TV Weird Again
We hope season one of The Eyeslicer will be the start of something bigger. We envision this show growing with time, and becoming an ongoing home for daring cinema. Our longterm goal is to be able to commission lots of insane new work, and to help tomorrow’s visionary filmmakers launch their careers with creative autonomy.
We hope you’ll join us for what’s sure to be a wild experiment.
Risks and challenges
We are currently about 70% of the way through the process of putting together season one of The Eyeslicer, and in the early-to-mid stages of building the “invite only” platform where the whole thing will be housed. The project is far along enough that we are quite confident it’ll get finished in a form and timeline very close to the current vision laid out here on Kickstarter.
But as with all productions – and especially one with as many moving parts as The Eyeslicer – delays and unexpected roadblocks along the way could happen. In the event that some part of our plan or our schedule changes in a significant way, we promise to keep you updated and to be totally transparent about the what, the why, and the when of it all.
And we also reserve the right to have weirder ideas about what this show is and can be as we push further towards release. Our previous project (collective:unconscious) started as a web series on Kickstarter, and eventually evolved into a feature film. We don’t think that’s going to be happen here, but we want to remain open and versatile to form and structure as this project continues to inch closer to reality.