Aid To Community Outsider Film OPEN DOOM CRESCENDO
Everyone who gives to this cause to see Open Doom Crescendo to the finish will at bare-bones become associate producer just like with Zack Snyder's Justice League.
The collective consciousness of human pain has led to an unknown alternate reality wasteland. Amidst this seemingly endless exterior desolation of dirt and urban abandonment appear those searching for their answers and somewhere beyond—the entity Embodiment of Angst. It is believed that this mysterious being—whether it be in the form of a person, bagel, plush giraffe, or another—there is the mythical notion that it can save whoever encounters it from whatever pain they’re undergoing.
The Wasteland of Angst has somehow transported into it those seeking salvation in a plane cut off from our tangible reality. A transcendental pilgrimage if you will—so to reach transcendence from physical and even metaphysical suffering.
The Wasteland is not in of itself a place of solace; it is a heightened reality that spiritually reflects the continued sorrow of our grounded world.
WHAT THIS IS:
OPEN DOOM CRESCENDO is a double feature-length film from a community-empowered outsider art movement. Totally around 4 hours in length, the first narrative installment is complete and will have screened twice. The remaining production was half-completed in 2019. All that was funded from what was left of my life savings, because I'd already spent the majority beforehand on the first feature.
The truth is I was and still am prepared to scrape whatever minute, measly, microscopic money I personally have to see this half-decade-in-the-making odyssey to the finish line. I never planned beforehand to crowdfund this, even less so during these times where to not die or starve is a further-highlighted developed-world privilege. And while respecting all underfunded voices with genuine stories to tell, I otherwise ethically refuse to compete with privileged hipsters with the advantages and sexy looks to entitle themselves to exploited charity.
This campaign is ultimately lifted up by the empowerment of collectively-run arthouse theater SPECTACLE NYC. This is a pay-what-you-can replacement for what would've been the filmmakers' share of ticket sales at SPECTACLE's in-person screenings. Any and all funds go directly to OPEN DOOM CRESCENDO's remaining production this summer. The above-and-beyond superhuman cast and crew are committed to finishing what we started all these years ago. Aside from the costs for creative production, health & safety protocols, and other essentials e.g. catering, sustenance, and transport—the budget would go to compensating the participating cast and crew’s unconditionally passion-driven involvement.
WHAT WE'RE ABOUT:
Our movement is one of culturally-diverse grassroots artists coming together, dismissing the barriers of the world, and willing to life a cinematic monument that wears its storytellers' raw experiences across their sleeves. Through this endeavour we act as freedom fighters and voices for the have-nots and underprivileged who strive to make meaningful creative marks to audiovisual culture while not being restricted by systemic limits or what the culture considers meaningful creation. Our socioeconomic ethos parallel our production approach.
Our production is one of a compassionate artistic family—collaborators who’ve accumulated across the years into a collective and not an egoist hierarchy of rigid departmentalization. We do not adhere to metrics of power or value, whether someone is a headlining performer or holding up a set from collapsing to the wind. We do not lose sight of who we are to each other in favour of who we think we are because of our role(s). Established responsibilities are still valid, be it someone taking the lead with makeup or costumes and so on, though we regularly rotate between roles to maximize creative diversity, energy momentum, and team support so long as the respective person feels capable and comfortable doing the role, be it camera, sound, art design, or so on.
The result can be works that pulsate with the creed of people who care about what they’ve persevered together to realize. Earnest compassion and expression reveals itself in the practical limitations that we invite and empower. This invites a different cinematic language of immersion through the unabashed defiance to put outsider creative expression over traditional standards. The more open the work and its construct, the wider we extend the platform of creative inclusivity to the underprivileged who wish to create, regardless of their background or status.
WHY WE'RE MAKING THIS:
The thematic goal is to address trauma—past, present, future—through universal metaphorical tunnels. Humanity faces multiple modern-day crises. For those fortunate enough to have a say, it’s imperative to acknowledge these tunnels exposed—racial-cultural-social-class injustice and inequality; public health disasters; extremism and willful hatred, bigotry, and ignorance. Yet these tunnels were always there. A perfect storm can highlight attention when these tunnels cave in back to back and simultaneously. We as a collective race are at a crossroads, where if we don’t change for the better, then what’s going on could remain repeating symptoms of what’s wrong at our core. To add, there is no “normal” to return to for those who’ve lost loved ones and lives that can’t be returned. The tunnels will cave in again for them and others unless the tunnels themselves are repaired. People have to move together towards the light at the tunnel’s exit. It takes the collective to repair what will otherwise cave in on everyone.
The Wasteland of Angst, its physical diegetic construct, and the characters’ arcs—while personal and fully-formed—are also universal and accessible through the heightened abstraction of their setting. These places and characters are canvases for viewers to project their own subjective experiential trauma.
OPEN DOOM CRESCENDO's discourse: catharsis from pain is not guaranteed for everyone. As for all of us who still have a chance, despite who makes it or not—understanding the pain of our neighbors as well as our own could unlock something. Through this comes the chance at whatever catharsis we as the characters may let ourselves find. A light signals an eventual end of the tunnel, though we must trek on towards it despite the uncertainty that continues before us—that separates us from the exit.
By the characters not narratively fully reaching catharsis or victory, there can be a more honest portrait of our reality, and by extension a more compassionate resonance. [Pauses]
If I may:
As I write this, I feel the almost-overtaking weight of the world's pain on my heart. I see and hear of the hatred and irreversible horror that lies in its wake, and the sick people committing and condoning the acts. I see a ruptured world that isn't anywhere close to the harmony that the sacrifices of history gave everything to leave behind. I see the existential war between the side of humanity that believes in the profound value of humanity versus those who would actively burn it all down so that it's only their evil selves left.
Yet I write this concurrently feeling enough reasons to believe in a better world. If I may still be among those with a chance to do Something with this trauma, experience, and faith—I Cannot waste it. I have to give and live on behalf of those lost and those still here who seek a better world. I know I'll never reach everyone I want nor realize change on the grand scope that I wish.
But I still have a chance and I'm showing up.
I'm showing up and I'm playing my specific role.
I feel guilt that I can't do more but I know what I Can do.
I show up and give my all to that.
WHY WE'RE MAKING THIS [cont'd]:
Because the grasp at catharsis is inherently volatile, sympathizing directly with pain, then offering the chance at catharsis is sympathizing with the uncertainty of the path. The same way an audience decides how to move forward with their real lives after being moved by a work, the work should end with the characters’ choices just as uncertain yet open. A wider narrative of individuals struggling to find answers to their pain while trying to make peace with the oft-uncertain path ahead.
And for the sake of reassurance, for all its aspiringly heavy thematic exploration, this movie will also be sympathetically silly.
APPROACH AND AESTHETIC:
ODC [OPEN DOOM CRESCENDO] is shot, recorded, and composed on working class-affordable resources, yet as a creative expression response, these choices are effectively deliberate. Prioritizing the raw, intimate, and tactile sincerity that the tools’ aesthetics can help realize with thoughtful utilization, these tools shape aesthetics that are no ways inferior to the polished ultra high-definition of industry-elite equipment. ODC’s ceilinged HD and otherwise unabashed low-fidelity empowers artistic discourse in the absence of societal advantage. ODC’s aesthetic construct will persistently take on standards of audiovisual language.
Another approach is the production value—where its costumes, props, sets, and staging are put together from thrift items, working class budgetary sources, and spare & sparse material to create a world that’s tactile and non-ironic in its anti-polished and defiant presentation. This empowers the philosophy of raw creation, doing without the archaic presumption that anything that doesn’t maintain a cinematic illusion is a distraction—opening storytellers and viewers to new modes of experimentation.
ODC's wasteland setting and narrative themes are allegorical of lo-fi and sparse-resources storytelling and in extension creativity as a whole. If people’s time in the Wasteland parallels viewers’ experiences of a work, then ODC is a direct address to the viewer beyond the screen, who that viewer is, and the notions of the viewer’s experience of the film, whether it’s for discovery, entertainment, or answers. By empowering the work’s aesthetic construct of embracing raw do-it-yourself creation—doing without the presumption that anything that doesn’t maintain a synthetic illusion is a distraction—this destroys the invisible wall between the viewer and the creator. The illusion is hence overwritten with the expression—without having to break the fourth wall—that you get to know you’re watching a movie and that you can connect to the dialogue it’s starting.
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