Tag Archives: Kickstarter campaign

Queens native starts campaign to fund Dennis Hopper’s final film


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of "The Last Film Festival"

One filmmaker is turning to Kickstarter and the Queens community she grew up in to help put the finishing touches on what will be known as the late Dennis Hopper’s last movie, filmed completely in the “World’s Borough.”

Linda Yellen is one of the creative minds behind the comedy “The Last Film Festival,” which began filming in 2009 with a cast including Hopper, known for the classic film “Easy Rider,” Golden Globe-winner Jacqueline Bisset, JoBeth Williams, Chris Kattan, Donnell Rawlings, Katrina Bowden, Joseph Cross and Leelee Sobieski.

The film, written by Yellen and Michael Leeds, follows a Hollywood producer, played by Hopper, whose recent film was rejected by every film festival except a small town festival named the O’Hi Film Festival.

Although the movie surrounds a small town, it was actually filmed in Queens, some parts in Astoria and others in Forest Hills, the neighborhood Yellen grew up in.

“I loved growing up in Queens. It was so accessible to Manhattan but it also had the feeling of small town and community. It was always so friendly,” Yellen said. “It was a wonderful thing to sort of return home.”

The majority of the film was shot in Forest Hills, with scenes taking place at Forest Hills High School, where Yellen attended school. During the 2009 spring break, the actors were housed in the high school classrooms, which replaced the use of dressing rooms and trailers.

“There was always a great appreciation for the arts and culture in Forest Hills,” Yellen said. “I learned about the art of filming and directing in Forest Hills.”

The cast of "The Last Film Festival."

The cast of “The Last Film Festival.”

Although Yellen no longer lives in the borough, she said she is constantly traveling back to visit her mother, who still lives in the same building Yellen grew up in and who had a small part in the film as a “biker chick.”

During the filming, Yellen recalls walking the streets of Forest Hills during lunch with Hopper, who would take pictures of everywhere he went in the borough.

“A lot of those early experiences helped shape my identity and it gave a special pleasure to Dennis Hopper. He got to learn a lot about me as we took a lot of those walks,” Yellen said. “He loved [Queens].”

Tragedy then struck when, just a few scenes short of finishing the film, Hopper became ill and later died of cancer at the age of 74 in May of 2010.

“He was a picture of health and vitality and he just gives a multilevel comedic act [in the film],” Yellen said. “He had no idea he was sick; we had no idea he was sick.”

Hopper’s passing left a hole in the hearts of the cast and crew, and the film was set aside for a while until Yellen decided to pick it back up this year, which will mark the fifth anniversary of Hopper’s death.

However, in order to finish the film, Yellen made the decision to turn to Kickstarter, with a goal of $90,000, because she felt it was a way to get to the fans directly. The crowdfunding site also followed Hopper’s idea of “always looking for ways to go around the system.” As of March 25, $64,174 had been pledged.

The funds raised by the campaign will go toward all post-production aspects that are required to finish the film, including using movie clips to replace Hopper in scenes.

“This is a way of [the fans] saying we want this and we want to say we support this film and this comedy,” Yellen said. “This picture was made as a labor of love. Just the pleasure of doing good work and wanting it out there and wanting people to laugh a lot.”

The Kickstarter’s deadline is on April 9. To donate click here.

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Astoria friends raising money to get hot sauce in stores, restaurants


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Fez Production

A group of Astoria friends are turning to Kickstarter to help them bring the heat.

Matthew Konchan, Joe Muscente and James Nestor are the creators behind the artisanal all-natural, low-sodium and gluten-free hot sauce called Chi-Cho Sauce.

For the past two years, the trio, who have backgrounds in finance and marketing, have spent hours combining and testing flavors until they came up with the “spicy and sweet” flavor, which creators said is “the best hot sauce you’ll ever have.”

“We wanted to do something different, something that isn’t going to kill you,” Konchan said. “It’s not a novelty. It looks presentable.”

After selling and giving away more than 1,000 bottles of the sauce for free at local markets, including the LIC Flea & Food, and receiving positive feedback, the Astoria residents started a Kickstarter campaign to help continue making the sauce and selling it online, as well as launch the product in stores and restaurants.

“We want something that is nice that you can put out on the table of a nice restaurant,” Konchan said.

The goal of the campaign, which ends on Sept. 12, is $8,003 and the funds will go towards manufacturing, operating, distribution and marketing costs.

Chi-Cho Sauce — the name comes from a college friend’s slang name — is created using local ingredients and cooked at a commercial kitchen in Flushing. Every bottle of the sauce is individually stamped with a batch number and “born on” date.

You can purchase a 6 oz. bottle of Chi-Cho Sauce for $9 on chichosauce.com and also find recipes and food pairings for the sauce.

“We want to maintain the brand,” Konchan said. “A fun and young company.”

To donate to the Kickstarter campaign, click here.

 

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Queens Silk Road food tour reaches Kickstarter goal


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image Courtesy of Adam Edwards


Foodies, get ready: a two-day international Queens food tour is coming to the borough thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Astoria resident Adam Edwards turned to the online crowdfunding site last month in hopes of raising enough money to turn his project called “The Silk Road & Spice Route of Queens” into a reality, The Queens Courier first reported.

“I always wanted to do something with food that really connects with people, and Queens is a unique food destination in itself,” Edwards previously told The Courier.

Edwards’ campaign came to an end on July 15 and raised a total of $2,175, surpassing his goal of $2,000.

The idea came to Edwards, originally from Pittsburgh, upon exploring Astoria and seeing the different restaurants featuring international cuisines, such as Mombar located at 25-22 Steinway St.

During the food tour, which will take place on August 10 and 17, Edwards said he hopes to highlight the borough’s diversity and modern versions of food that could be found along the ancient Silk Road and spice routes that connected Europe, Asia and Africa.

Participants will be able to ride a trolley from midtown Manhattan, at 8th Avenue between 54th and 55th streets, into Queens.

“Learn about the history of Queens and the lands where people immigrated from to call New York City home as we try authentic food from the old world right in our backyard,” said Edwards on the food tour’s official website.

The first Sunday, August 10, starting at noon, the tour will focus on the Spice Route of Queens dining at restaurants specializing in Italian, Egyptian, South Indian, Malaysian and Cantonese cuisines.

The following week, participants will explore the Silk Road tasting food from Greece, the Middle East, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Central/Western China.

Tickets are currently on sale for $150 as an early-bird special, up to 10 days before the events, and the full price of the tickets is $200 per day.

All proceeds from the food tour will go toward supporting the nonprofit Upwardly Global, for which Edwards has organized fundraisers over the past few years.

For more information click here.

 

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LIC nonprofit reaches Kickstarter goal


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy Local Project

One Long Island City nonprofit will be able to keep its home after a successful online campaign.

Local Project, a nonprofit arts organization, started the fundraising on Kickstarter last month with a goal of raising $6,100 in order to help pay two months of rent. As of Tuesday, June 8, with three days still left in the campaign, the group surpassed the goal.

“I feel extremely accomplished. I’m extremely happy and super hopeful that everything is going to continue to go great,” said Carolina Peñafiel, founder and director of Local Project. “This is just a great thing for people to feel empowered and driven to continue working on our plan. It feels safe for a little bit.”

After having to move from its headquarters located at 45-10 Davis St. in Long Island City inside the warehouse of 5Pointz building, the group faced a 50 percent rent increase when making the move to a new site at 11-27 44th Rd.

Now with having met the goal, the organization will have time to move to its next step in creating a strategic plan and put it into place to ensure it thrives for more years to come, Peñafiel said.

Even with the Kickstarter campaign coming to an end on July 12, the group will still continue to collect money through fundraising and also an “El Hot Dog Boogie Rent Party” on Friday, July 11, starting at 7 p.m.

“Anything that comes in is extra and it helps us even more. It’s not over, that money will go to a safe place and keep us safe for a little longer,” Peñafiel said.

The party will feature music by local DJs, hot dogs and sauces by Pao & Cha Cha restaurant located at 23-03 Astoria Blvd., bread from Tom Cat Bakery located at 43-05 10th St., and beer from Lagunitas Brewing Company. There will be a $20 deal for two hot dogs and unlimited beer.

“It’s a way of celebrating to say thank you to people and celebrate. It’s part of the summer season at Local Project,” Peñafiel said.

Local Project also has a brand-new shared office/studio/co-working space for rent. The space was built using recycled materials and created by Long Island City artist Cristian Torres. For more information on the space click here.

Since starting in 2003, Local Project has offered exhibitions, mentoring programs, classes, co-working space, residencies for artists and much more.

Future plans for Local Project includes year-long exhibitions, events, a co-working space, mentorship for new curators and artists, a continuing partnership and student internships with the Information Technology High School in Long Island City and MoMA, and affordable creative workshops.

To donate to the Kickstarter until July 12, click here.

 

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Astoria resident looks to fund Queens Silk Road food tour


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy of Adam Edwards

Adam Edwards is turning to Kickstarter to make his idea of bringing a two-day international food tour to Queens a reality.

Edwards’ project, called “The Silk Road & Spice Route of Queens,” hopes to highlight the borough’s diversity and modern versions of the foods that could be found along the ancient Silk Road and spice routes that connected Europe, Asia and Africa.

“I always wanted to do something with food that really connects with people, and Queens is a unique food destination in itself,” said Edwards, who calls himself a “history buff.”

The idea came to him upon exploring Astoria and seeing the different restaurants featuring international cuisines, such as Mombar located at 25-22 Steinway St.

“Walking through the beautiful entrance and tasting the amazing food by Chef Moustafa El Sayed really transported me back to ancient times and I want to share that feeling with others,” he said.

The Astoria resident, originally from Pittsburgh, said the biggest challenge is getting people to support his campaign without knowing an exact date of the tour.

The money donated to the Kickstarter will go toward a shuttle bus, which will serve as transportation between restaurants, and for prizes and reservations at the restaurants.

If he reaches the Kickstarter campaign’s goal of $2,000 by July 15, Edwards said, the two-day tour, slated to happen the second weekend of August, will cover five restaurants per day. The estimated price per day is $200.

The Saturday of the tour would be dedicated to the spice route, concentrating on Malaysian, Southern Indian and Egyptian cuisines. On Sunday, participants will go down the Silk Road, tasting food from Uzbekistan, western China and more.

“Queens is the most diverse place on earth,” Edwards said. “Certainly in the United States it’s the most diverse. I hope people can travel a little bit in their own backyard.”

Additional funds will also go toward supporting the nonprofit Upwardly Global, for which Edwards has organized fundraisers over the past few years.

To donate to the Kickstater, click here.

 

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Jackson Heights filmmaker turns to Kickstarter for new flick


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Alex Webb

Actor Alex Webb has gone behind the camera to write, direct and produce award-winning films. Now, he is turning to Kickstarter to get his new film rolling.

The Jackson Heights resident has worked with actors such Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey and Ben Affleck and has appeared in the Netflix series “House of Cards” and HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.”

Aside from acting, Webb began working on film production with his first picture “The Girl in 2C,” which received a silver medal at WorldFest, an international indie film festival in Houston. His most recent short film “Hove (The Wind)” received the Panavision New Filmmaker Award and was selected for several international film festivals.

“The interesting thing I didn’t realize is that all along I had writing and directing right in my pocket,” Webb said. “I was much happier when those times came to be creative and start creating your own work.”

Webb decided the next step in his production career would be to create a full-length feature and came up with his newest thriller and dark comedy flick called “To The Flame.”

“[I wanted to] try to make a story that is super intriguing, weird and surprising and — on the production end — simple,” Webb said. “Make [a film] that would really lend itself to a micro-budget.”

On May 7, Webb created a 30-day Kickstarter project to help raise $25,000 in funds to make his feature film a reality. The money raised would go toward production equipment and hiring the remaining cast and crew members, as well as helping to keep location and travel needs to a minimum.

“The great thing about Kickstarter is you are raising awareness about your project before even starting it,” Webb said. “You get these people already hooked on the project and you’re getting an audience before it even starts.”

The film, which already has Oscar-winning actress Olympia Dukakis and actor Bob Balaban slotted for cameos, was inspired by the works of directors Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch. It follows two college students, Kyle and Penny, and their interaction with two neighbors, played by Webb and his wife Shirleyann Kaladjian, for a school assignment. The project then takes the students into the couple’s “dark and twisted world,” Webb said.

Shooting for the film is expected to begin in early July, with some scenes possibly shot in Queens, and a release date is slated for late this year or early 2015.

To watch a teaser for “To The Flame” and donate to the Kickstarter, which ends June 6, click here.

 

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Play ‘keepingabreast’ to run in LIC during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BRADLEY HAWKS

You can’t miss her.  Cameran Hebb is one of those charismatic, effortless beauties who kind of immediately captures your eye in any crowd.  And not just because she is wearing a T-shirt with the words “boobie trapped” printed in neon pink.

When you enter The Queens Kickshaw, where she is a barista and bartender, her warm smile is apt to melt your heart.  And her charisma can instantly become passion, conviction and authority.

When Hebb first auditioned for “keepingabreast,” a new play written by Jackie Rosenfeld, she instantly knew this piece of theater was something special.

After playing the lead character, Mina, during the play’s premiere at the Cherry Lane Theater as part of the 2012 Fringe Festival, she also knew that the final curtain should not fall on the show during the festival.

“The audience kept saying things like, ‘this is the way theater should be done,’” she explains, “and it just confirmed what I already knew.”

She immediately envisioned a next life for the play—which opens with a young woman being advised by her doctor to have a mastectomy after failed chemotherapy.  The story is told through a series of vulnerable, sometimes sexy, sometimes hilarious, but always poignant vignettes chronicling the woman’s journey to decide what course of treatment is best.

Hebb reprises her role as the cancer-stricken lead character, with multiple other roles played in rotation by Lyndsey Anderson and Andy Ingalls—who portray family members, strangers, friends, even a drag queen.  The new production is directed by Sharone Halevy.

Upon receiving a startup grant from the Queens Council on the Arts, as well as a sponsorship by Long Island City’s The Secret Theatre, Hebb found herself just a Kickstarter campaign away from breathing new life into the piece—this time with an outreach component (you can still contribute on the kickstarter page). A fundraiser held by The Queens Kickshaw also helped with funding.

The new staging, this time produced by Hebb herself, will run during national Breast Cancer Awareness Month, from October 18 through the 26.  It will be held in the “Little Secret,” a 50-seat black box theater that lends itself perfectly to the intimacy of the piece.

As an outreach, a select number of seats will be reserved for those in the community suffering or impacted by cancer who otherwise might not be able to afford tickets.  Seats for the public sell for just $15.

“I mainly just wanted to open a dialogue,” says Hebb. “In a world where we so easily disconnect, this play pushes past that in way that is so human, alive and authentic.”

To learn more, go to http://keepingabreast.wix.com/keepingabreast ; $15

 

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