Welcome to Fiscal Spotlight, a special monthly round up of projects—at all stages of production—working their way through Film Independent’s Fiscal Sponsorship pipeline.
Making movies can be a grueling experience, no matter if you’re a traffic cop on a big-budget animated blockbuster trying to parse fractal studio workflow diagrams; or an overtaxed multi-hyphenate laboring on a low-budget indie, your spine slowly being pancaked into fossilized trilobite by the number of hats you’re to wear. But! It takes a very special kind of lunatic-masochist to attempt anything so demonically challenging as an independent animated feature. Luckily, such ambitious tinkerer-creators do exist, and we happen to know quite a few of them!
Animation is, of course, a wildly sprawling and fast-evolving medium, used to conjure up diverse stories that range from incisive chronicles of daily life among the rodent steamboat captain population to the heartwarming bond between a young Japanese boy and his big red motorcycle. And for further proof of the breadth of indie animation, just look below…
This month, we’re taking a look at three fascinating—and very different—animated projects (two features and a short) being supported by Film Independent Fiscal Sponsorship program.
The projects are Morning Joy, Maxxie Lawow: Drag Super-Shero and Little Adam Example. Learn more about the project and how to support below:
Project type: Narrative Short
Project status: Production
Director/Co-Writer/Producer: John Henry Hinkel
Producer/Composer/Co-Writer: Ethan Pakchar
About the project: A depressed pianist rediscovers his zest for life through an unexpected encounter with a songbird. A recently widowed pianist wallows in depression, unable to move forward with his life. When a cheerful songbird sneaks into his house, the pianist tries to chase it out before finally relenting and letting it stay. When the songbird encourages him to play a new song, the pianist finds an unlikely musical collaborator that temporarily lifts him out of his sorrow through the transformative power of their music… but is there more to this songbird than meets the eye?
Meet the filmmaker: To learn more about Morning Joy and how to support the project, click here. Filmmaker John Henry Hinkel is a writer, director, and producer from Atlanta, Georgia. In 2016, he penned the feature-length adaptation of the Oscar-nominated animated short film, The Dam Keeper, for 20th Century Fox. In 2018, he produced the independent feature film, Auggie, starring Richard Kind. Collaborator Ethan Pakchar is a composer, guitarist and writer, as well as one-half of the music/theater team “Lyons & Pakcher.”
MAXXIE LAWOW: DRAG SUPER-SHERO
Project type: Narrative feature
Project status: Production
Creator, Director, Executive Producer: Anthony Hand
About the project: Shy young barista, Simon, works at the Pink Unicorn Cafe with his childhood best friend, Jae. On his 21st birthday, Simon finds a magic wig that turns him into the titular drag super-shero, Maxxie LaWow. Meanwhile, drag villain Dyna Bolical has discovered that drag queen tears are the secret to eternal youth. She’s been kidnapping queens for a test batch of her new cosmetics line. Now she’s going after Maxxie and her super-powered tears to take her cosmetics company global and become filthy rich…
Meet the filmmaker: To learn more about Maxxie Lawow: Drag Super-Shero and how to support the project, click here. Creator Anthony Hand is a product designer and former entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, where he puts his storytelling skills to use on a daily basis. Anthony has seen every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race since Season One, frequents local and national theater and cabaret, and is a recovering comic book geek. Anthony is also President of the Board for the Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus. Seattle drag legend Dina Martina is his spirit totem.
LITTLE ADAM EXAMPLE
Project type: Narrative Short
Project status: Post-Production
Director/Writer/Animator: Ahou Alagha
About the project: Conceived the night of his father’s murder, Adam enters into this world with mutated DNA, the first human born with guns for arms. He grows up with his single mother in a war-torn city, where people are being killed under bombing every day. For a long time, he doesn’t know what to do. Until one day, little pieces of broken glass among the rubble, catch his eyes. He picks them up and collects them. Quietly at night, he puts together these small pieces. Little by little, he begins to form a new shape from light and color. However, because of his odd hands, his life is in jeopardy. conceived the night of his father’s murder and entered into this world with mutated DNA, as the first human born with guns for arms. He grows up with his single mother in a war-torn city, where people are being killed under bombing every day. For a long time, he didn’t know what to do. Until one day, little pieces of broken glass, among the rubbles, catches his eyes. He picks them up and collects them. Quietly at night, he puts together these small pieces. Little by little, he begins to form a new shape from light and color. However, because of his odd hands, his life is in jeopardy very likely.
Meet the filmmaker: To learn more about the SHIFT Creative Fund and how to support the project, click here. Ahou Alagha is a poet-filmmaker who graduated from school of theater, University of Tehran. At 25, she published her first collection of poems entitled “Fruit”, which was received with critical acclaim. She has directed five shorts and had the honor of working with Shahroo Kheradmand, one of the pioneers of modern Iranian theater, and Iranian filmmaker Darush Mehrjui.
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(Header: Maxxie Lawow: Drag Super-Shero)