Mike Flanagan, Director of The Shining’s sequel, Doctor Sleep, backed a Kickstarter campaign for a film this weekend, even without knowing there was a character named in his honor. The completed psychological thriller, Dangerous to Know, had launched their campaign earlier in the week, hoping to raise funds to get the film rated for distribution and to cover the cost of entering it in festivals.
The film’s director, David Simpson, said his wife and filmmaking partner, Jennifer, had tweeted to Flanagan in hopes of getting a retweet as part of their marketing. “We were just hoping to get our campaign mentioned in a tweet—we didn’t think he’d actually take the time to check us out and pledge to the campaign.”
“It was total disbelief,” Jennifer says, describing the moment that she saw the name of a new backer pop up on her lap top’s screen. “I just saw ‘Mike’ at first. Then I saw the full name, went back to twitter, and saw that he’d retweeted us with a beautiful, nostalgic message about his own Kickstarter campaign.”
Flanagan explained his backing of the project in a tweet, writing, “I vividly remember pounding the pavement to get our Kickstarter campaign for ABSENTIA noticed. Best of luck to you guys.”
Simpson wouldn’t divulge the amount Flanagan had pledged, but said, “It wasn’t just a token pledge; he really showed us that he hasn’t forgotten where he came from.”
However, Flanagan wasn’t even aware of the unique connection he had with the film before backing it and tweeting his support. In fact, Simpson, who also wrote the film, had named a character after the successful director in tribute to the inspiration that Flanagan’s own journey as an indie director had been for him. “It took us 3.5 years to film DTK and do the post-production, so when we began, Mike wasn’t that far removed from having succeeded with his own indie film, ABSENTIA, and then using that to make big time, excellent movies like Oculus. It was a path we wanted to replicate. There’s only one character in the film that is named in tribute to someone and that character’s last name is Flanagan.”
In the 3.5 years since, Flanagan has gone on to direct several successful studio movies, including Hush, Gerald’s Game, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and Before I Wake, and he’s the creator and director of the Netflix series, The Haunting of Hill House.
“It’s so crazy that it would be him,” Jennifer added. “For the first big name backer to be this guy we just looked up to at the start…what are the odds?”
“I think it’s just fitting,” Simpson sums it up. “We picked our role model well. When we get to where he is, we’ll remember his example. Making your own feature is a hard fight, and if you can make it a little easier for someone who comes along after you, you probably should. Mike gets it.”
“He’s a classy, classy guy,” Jennifer concludes. “We’re forever in his debt.”
The Dangerous to Know Kickstarter Campaign is currently 30% of the way to their goal and runs Dec 3rd to January 14th.