Jake Kennedy Talks Next Feature - Reversal

It’s been a while since we chatted with Jake Kennedy, the man behind independent horror features Days of Darkness (2008) and Penance (2009), although regardless of the passage of time, it appears that Kennedy has not only tended dutifully to his historic DIY spirit but has also taken it to new and clever heights as witnessed by his unique approach to the financing and distribution of his latest planned feature, Reversal.

An action/thriller/horror hybrid which is slated to star Eve Mauro (Wicked Lake, The Steam Experiment), Reversal revolves around, “a young, innocent woman who awakens bound in a storage room with no memory of how she got there,” states Kennedy, “and upon her escape, she finds herself stalked by a masked stranger, and the narrative plays out in reverse.” Likening the project to a cross between The Strangers and Memento, Kennedy reveals as well that Danny Trejo (Machete) and Vinnie Jones (Midnight Meat Train) intend to be involved.

Eschewing the standard production model, “I plan to change the game here for independent filmmakers,” Kennedy tells Dread of his approach to financing the project, which is budgeted at $150,000. “I believe there is a new filmmaking model available to us all, and by utilizing the full power of the Internet, it will allow filmmakers to get their films funded and distributed in a totally different way, and I am embracing it fully!

What exactly Kennedy is embracing is the website Kickstarter (Reversal page here). Kickstarter bills itself as the ‘largest fundraising platform for creative projects in the world’ (according to the site) and allows the public to become directly involved in the financing and production of film projects, among other endeavors.

Jake Kennedy’s Talks Next Feature - Reversal

Explains Kennedy, “There's a new way to do things within the independent filmmaking business that involves the Internet and all that it stands for: community, involvement, participation, openness, honesty, integrity, etc. Having seen a friend successfully raise 10K to shoot a short film through Kickstarter, it suddenly dawned on me that Kickstarter is the way forward for independent filmmakers. It means, though, that we need to change our filmmaking model in order to embrace it. The Internet effectively allows us a direct funding and distribution model, meaning that I can raise money to make my film directly from the audience for the film, and then distribute it to them directly – with no more middlemen, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. I am talking about getting my audience involved directly in the filmmaking process, too! So gone are the days of fundraising, investors, and then the hard struggle of finding an audience through traditional distribution channels - with maximum struggle and very limited returns.

By directly involving people with the film,” he continues, “one can create a community around the film. They then tell their friends, who tell their friends, and suddenly you have a project that is made for them, by them. They join the team, follow the film from inception, and get a film delivered to them within six to twelve months. Through the Kickstarter pledge system, people sign up to effectively pre-buy the film or get involved with it in some way. So now with Reversal, one fan will design the movie poster, another will write the score for the last scene in the movie, and another will write and direct a full scene in the film.

This film needs to be successful,” the filmmaker concludes, “not just so that I can make my next film, but to lead the way for others. If filmmakers like me can see a model that gets their film into production quickly and effectively, and all it means is they have to change things up and accommodate movie fans into the filmmaking process, then it will demonstrate that this is indeed the new way forward. Someone has to lead the way, and with my background in Internet advertising and marketing, I'd like to think that person is me.

- Sean Decker

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