Brother, Sister and Filmmaking Crew
Captured in Space!
By Andrew Mathwick
$15,000 ransom to save a group of filmmakers, kidnapped in space by aliens. Are you not going to donate to help out these doomed space-explorer-filmmakers?? We’ll, turns out it’s too late. They all died and the aliens don’t even care about killing the filmmakers because they’re aliens and aliens have no morals (or they at least don’t have any morals in terms of killing space-explorer-filmmakers). Just kidding. The space-explorer-filmmakers lived. Good moral-filled humans donated the money and now the space-explorer-filmmakers are alive and well.
Everything I just described to you is 100% the plot (sort of, but not really) for an Indiegogo campaign entitled, “Humanity’s Only Hope.” The campaign set out to raise $15,000 in 30 days to fund a Sci-Fi short film called, “Icarus Down.” The campaign was successful and raised a total of $15,805. What probably made this Indiegogo campaign so successful, was the way in which the filmmakers asked for the funding. Most of the time when you see a campaign asking for money to create a film, you’ll just get a trailer for the film and then some guy sitting at a desk somewhere saying the words, “please donate us money, please.” The Icarus Down crew did something totally different. By creating a plot for their films campaign they manage to get the viewer/donator more excited about the film. Making the film seem more interesting, which in turn lead to more donations, and a successful campaign. Regardless that the campaign is now over, I still think the campaign-video they posted is worth watching.
Other then the unique approach to their Indiegogo campaign, Icarus Down stands out for another reason, Tedi Nicoletos, who is the lead actress and producer for the short film is the sister to the director, producer, writer and editor of the film, Paul Nicoletos. A duo like this seems pretty rare in the film industry, and certainly adds another dimension to the production of the film.
I was lucky enough to talk to Tedi and Paul and ask a little about themselves, their Indiegogo campaign and what is was like working together while making the film.
What got you interested in filmmaking?
Paul: We both grew up in Greece, and from a young age, we both watched a lot of the same movies, and had a lot of the same interests. When we moved to Florida, for our High School years, filmmaking seemed like the right path to take. It’s what we both loved to do and coming to America we were immersed more into that world. Having access to that content at all times.
What got you interested in Sci-Fi?
Paul: Watching, George Lucas, Speilberg, Ridley Scott, and James Cameron, watching all their films it’s almost inevitable that you’re not going to like Sci-Fi.
What has it been like working together as an almost, brother-sister team? Has it made it easier, or have there been challenges?
Tedi: I think it’s been easier and tougher, at the same time. We know each other so well, that we take the liberty to actually argue at times when you really wouldn’t with strangers. But, we know each other so well that it’s good because we have the same taste and we already know what the other person is thinking.
Paul: We want to push each other, because we want to see each other do the best we can. For us it’s almost never good enough. I think that dynamic helps a lot.
I watched your Indiegogo video, and it was definitely one of the most original concepts for a campaign that I’ve seen. Having almost a story on its own. What gave you the inspiration to do something like that?
Tedi: Well, we watched a lot of other Indiegogo campaigns and personally I found a lot of them boring, but there were a couple that stood out. I just analyzed what they did right and what they did wrong, and I said, we should base it on our story and do a pitch that has the essence of Sci-Fi and will entertain people. And it’s not just us, sitting there asking for money like a couple beggars. It was something that actually makes you feel like you’re watching a movie.
Were there any other major challenges, besides the financial issues that you encountered while making the film?
Paul: When making a short film that has to look very big in terms of production value you’re always going to come across challenges. From, trying to find the right pieces to make the costumes look expensive and unique, to finding the right equipment to tell the story. But, I think the biggest challenge was making the spaceship look like it cost a million dollars. We were lucky to find a location that had a standing set. If we really had to build something like that it would cost in the hundred of thousands of dollars just to build a spaceship set, or do everything green screen and then sometimes that doesn’t work because sometimes you need more money for that as well. But, yea there were challenges all around, but there is no film worth doing without it’s challenges, and as long as you overcome them at any given moment, then it is more fulfilling.
Do you hope to expand on the film, and make it a feature length.
Paul: Yea, our whole premise on the film was to inspire people to kind of give us money to make a feature film, whether it be a prequel, sequel, or something based directly off it, that all depends on budget and what’s the best story to tell at that moment in time.
Do you have any other projects you’re working on?
Paul: We have a lot of project, some of them are Sci-Fi, some of them are not. Me personally, I love Sci-Fi so I’d love to enter the filmmaking world doing that, but that’s not my only passion. I love Psychological Thrillers and some Dramas can be great if the stories right. So for me it’s not that I just want to be a Sci-Fi director, I want to be a director who tells the right story at that particular moment in time that is right for me to tell. If that story happens to be Sci-Fi then so be it, but we do have several projects that are in varied stages of development, a couple features that we’re trying to pitch, trying to get funding for and in the meantime a couple other shorts that are very similar in the sense of what we did for strategy in Icarus Down. A prove of concept for a feature.
“Icarus Down” was recently released and screened at the NYLA International Film Festival and the Chelsea Film Festival.
For more information and to watch trailer click here.