Test Footage Reel

 

PHARMACOPEIA is an independent dramatic film written and to be directed by Kit Williamson.

The film is best described as "Thank You for Smoking" meets a modern day "Dallas Buyers Club."

We are taking the project to production December 2019.

 

SYNOPSIS 

 
 
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Meet ROBESON KING - a down and out, black NYC-bred painter who has had it with his life of struggle as an artist. Compelled to make a drastic change, he grabs a few things and decides to hit the road. Where to? How ever far he can get. One problem. He doesn’t have any money.

A lack of viable options forces Robeson to turn to CARLTON - a well-off white male actor with whom he has a complicated relationship - for help. Carlton agrees to lend Robeson the money but says he must wait till the following morning.

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This wrinkle in Robeson's plan leaves him to roam the New York City streets for the evening, which turns into an unexpected night of misadventures with random strangers, reflections on his relationships with long-time friends, and bizarre encounters with old acquaintances.

Robeson is then propositioned by a woman named KELSEY who wishes to take him under her wing, but at a grave ethical cost. 

Robeson's morality is on trial, and the anxieties built through this tumultuous night lead him to a further angsty state as the day breaks. 

Finally, Robeson heads back to collect his get-away money and is faced with a disturbing reality that he has willfully ignored - a dark truth about his friend, Carlton.

Robeson's story comes to a head in an final confrontation that ends in rage…

 
 
 
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In the wake of scandals filling the headlines in Hollywood, the ethics of the artistic vocation are being held to the fire with revelations of gross misconduct by some of the industry’s biggest patrons. But the exploitation of artists has long been documented, and our current reckoning of the toxic relationship between those with power and those without comes of no surprise to the people most affected by it.

I DON'T LIVE TODAY explores the power-dynamic of modern-day patronage while examining the consequences artists must face when they choose to reject their exploitation.

 
 

The film is a modern day morality fable that takes place in the darker ends of our arts economy, where the subjects of race, family, loyalty and ethics are put on trial.

Is it possible to be truly ethical in our system of arts and capital?

Can the Black artist function truly as himself in an industry not designed by his own people?

What happens when the once marginalized become power players in the system that once exploited them? 

 

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DIRECTOR’S VISION

"There's a surreal aspect of the film where the script pushes the audience off balance in the most creative way." 

-The BlackList

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I DON'T LIVE TODAY is as much an exploration of the life of the visual artists as any of the other subjects. Influenced by the abstract expressionist work of Norman Lewis, Mark Rothko, Romare Bearden and Alma Thomas, the film will exist also as a much needed homage to radical abstract art, in particular the abstract art of African Americans that for many years went ignored and under-appreciated. The film will feature original works from living artists, as new pieces will be commissioned to make sure an authentic representation of abstract art is seen in the story and aesthetic, showing the vibrancy of visual art culture today.

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MTUME GANT - Writer/Director

Mtume Gant is a Director and Performer hailing from NYC. A graduate of NYC's Laguardia HS & The Acting Conservatory at SUNY Purchase, he has worked heavily on stage, screen & TV, most notably as a cast member of the HBO show OZ and one of the leads in the film CARLITOS WAY: RISE TO POWER, where he was featured in the role of "Reggie" next to Mario Van Peebles and Luis Guzman. He made his screen debut as Louis in the Sundance Award Winning Film HURRICANE STREETS. His most recent accomplishments include writing/starring in Contact Theatre’s critically acclaimed production Fields of Grey and his film directing debut of SPIT released in 2015.

SPIT has gone on to win over half a dozen awards (Best Short Film at the Coney Island Film Festival) through its circuit at over 25 festivals in the United States alone. It premiered on TV on the ASPIRE station.

His second film WHITE FACE, a controversial critical investigation of whiteness in American society, premiered at Ashland, then screened throughout the world at the likes of Kinofilm, Cucalorus, and Martha's Vineyard, garnering a Programmer's Choice Award at Bushwick, Best Short at San Francisco Black, Best Actor at Jim Thorpe, and Best Experimental at Harlem International!

 

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SHANT JOSHI - Producer

Shant Joshi is an Indo-Canadian film producer based out of Los Angeles and Toronto. With his company, Fae Pictures, Shant pursues projects that feature the stories and perspectives of “the Other.”

In the world of feature films, Shant worked as a unit production manager on Ingrid Veninger’s PORCUPINE LAKE, a fem-queer coming-of-age tale that premiered in Toronto, Busan, Rome, Cheries-Cheris, Mill Valley, & Outfest. Shant also worked with New Queer Cinema director, John Greyson, as a line producer on his avant-garde features LAST CAR and JERICHO, centred around subverting and addressing topical issues such as archival untruths and the extinction of Palestine.

Shant also co-founded a film festival that highlighted short films from Canadian emerging filmmakers called the Future of Film Showcase. This May saw the festival’s fifth and largest year to date. Hosted by major sponsor Cineplex in Toronto’s Scotiabank Theatre, the Future of Film Showcase was a success with sold out audiences.

Most recently, Shant worked in motion picture literary representation and packaging at Buchwald.

 

CHRISTOPHER EVERETT - Producer

Christopher Everett is a film director and producer who is currently residing in Durham, North Carolina. In 2015, Christopher started Speller Street Films in which he directed and produced the award-winning documentary WILMINGTON ON FIRE. Speller Street Films recently acquired the distribution rights to the 2002 cult classic AS AN ACT OF PROTEST which they remastered and officially released this year.

Christopher and his company Speller Street Films also consults various production companies, film festivals and film programs on social media strategies, grassroots marketing, audience building, community engagement, and programming.

Christopher is currently filming a documentary short on 4-time world karate champion and martial arts pioneer, Vic Moore.

 

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EMILY FLEISCHER - Casting Director

Emily has collaborated on a number of features including Paul Schrader's FIRST REFORMED, I AM NOT A BIRD, LIFE ITSELF, LOW TIDE & SIBERIA to name a few. 

She is currently working on the feature MINYAN as well as HBO/A24s BLACK REST (aka Random Acts of Flyness).



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SUSAN SHOPMAKER - Casting Consultant

Susan Shopmaker is one of independent film's most respected casting directors, with over 20 years of feature film credits to her name. In 2018 she won the Casting Society of America's Artios Award for Eliza Hittman's Beach Rats and previously won an Artios Award for Sean Durkin’s acclaimed Sundance drama Martha Marcy May Marlene, and was also nominated for GoatJames WhiteAfterschool, and Disney's Enchanted.

She previously cast such projects as John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, John Slattery's God's Pocket, Andrew Neel's King Kelly Goat, and Michel Franco’s Chronic (Cannes 2015 Award Winner & 2017 Spirit Award Nominee). 

And a fun fact...she was the Casting Director for a film called Hurricane Streets (1997 Sundance Audeince Award Winner) which is also the first feature film Director Mtume Gant ever acted in. 

 

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FRANK TURIANO - Director of Photography

Frank Turiano is a NYC actor and cinematographer, known for WHITE FACE (2017), SPIT (2015), BUFFERING (2013) and NON-DICKTION (2014). In addition to his DP work, he also writes and directs and is currently in the process of finishing his first feature film BEYOND THE LAST HORIZON.

 



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LAURA MOSS - Production Designer

Laura is an NYC based production designer. Her design worked has graced the screens with features like 306 HOLLYWOOD (Sundance, Full Frame), YOMEDDINE (Cannes - Competition), and MENASHE (Sundance, Berlinale, New Directors/New Films). Her work on shorts has also made it to the screens of the Museum of Modern Art and the Telluride Film Festival.

LAURA is an alumna of NYU's graduate program. She was recently named one of Filmmaker Magazine's 25 NEW FACES OF INDEPENDENT FILM.


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KRISTIAN SPRAGUE - Editor

Over the past nine years, Kristian's work in the edit suite shines with acclaimed films like NEWLYWEEDS and MANOS SUCIAS, for which Kristian was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Editing. Kristian consistently works in the narrative sphere having cut over fifteen shorts and four features, the last of which, NIGERIAN PRINCE, just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

 


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SCOTT THOROUGH - Composer

Scott Thorough is a Brooklyn born rap producer, film composer and INFP Scorpio. Thorough began making beats and producing albums as a young adult, eventually working with rap and indie artists across the country.

As a composer for film, Scott is sensitive to the art of storytelling. He composed his first score for the short film Mariachi (Dir. Elena Greenlee, Aspen Shortsfest 2010), and immediately found a comfortable fit making original music for film and advertising. Using hip hop aesthetics as his jumping off point, Scott employs sounds of varied cultures to carefully bind and examine the relationship between the moving image and music. His work has been used for major advertising campaigns and he has scored several feature films including NEWLYWEEDS (Dir. Shaka King, Sundance ‘13) and MANOS SUCIAS (Dir. Josef Wladyka, Tribeca ’14) receiving awards and high praise at top film festivals.

 

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MIKE GASSERT - Location Sound

Michael J. Gassert (a.k.a. "MikeSound") is a New York-based sound artist and producer working at the intersections of film and music.

As one of New York City's top resident sound mixers, Gassert keeps very busy in the film and television industries. Most recently he engineered the film, Jason Moran: Looks of a Lot, documenting the acclaimed jazz musician in performance across the country. His recent film credits include the celebrated movies, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Another Earth".

Gassert has further distinguished himself in the studio as both producer and mix engineer. Notably, he produced 2009's "Master Musicians of Jajouka with Bachir Attar" as well as 2011's "Mango", hosting the music of celebrated Nicaraguan balladeer, Mango Ghost. Guitarist, synthesist and co-producer for the Brooklyn electronic duo, Sky Prison, Mike is also a savvy sound-maker himself.

 

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ARJUN SHETH - Sound Designer

Arjun G. Sheth is an award-winning Sound Designer and Re-Recording Engineer who has been working in New York since 2007. Most recently, Arjun was the Sound Designer on the Sundance Special Jury Award- winning film, "Monsters and Men." Arjun’s work has been shown around the world at festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW and Cannes; “God of Love,” a film he helped design, won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short in 2011. Projects Arjun has worked on have been shown on platforms like HBO, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Fox, ABC, TLC, ID, OWN, Bravo and ABC Family, to name a few. Arjun approaches his work with a good sense of humor, enthusiasm, and a focus on storytelling.

 
 

FINANCIAL OUTLOOK

 

We are seeking a total of $175,000 in private equity investments to take the film to production in mid-May 2019.

We have raised $45,000 so far in equity investments and are actively seeking out our final $130,000.

There are many advantages to becoming an investor in I DON’T LIVE TODAY.

It is an opportunity for you to:

  • diversify your financial portfolio through a creative entertainment product,

  • potentially grow your wealth through an investment with preferred return rates between 10%-25%,

  • receive ongoing returns on investment for years to come through a profit participation scheme,

  • join the team responsible for this radical new entry into Black Independent Cinema,

  • witness the magic behind the movies on a pre-scheduled set visit during filming, where you and a guest have the opportunity to be behind and in front of the camera,

  • walk the Red Carpet and be a VIP for a film premiere at a major film festival,

  • receive a major on-screen credit on a movie.

We are seeking investors in the following classes:

  • Class A - $50,000 - Seeking 1 Investor - 25% Preferred Return on Investment - 14% of Net Profits

  • Class B - $20,000 - Seeking 2 Investors - 20% Preferred Return on Investment - 5.75% of Net Profits

  • Class C - $10,000 - Seeking 3 Investors - 15% Preferred Return on Investment - 2.85% of Net Profits

  • Class D - $5,000 - Seeking 2 Investors - 10% Preferred Return on Investment - 1.5% of Net Profits

Please see below for our finance plan, budget, recoupment structure, revenue sources, and comparable profitability projections.

FINANCE PLAN

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BUDGET

RECOUPMENT STRUCTURE

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REVENUE STREAMS

Once your investment is in and the film is made, how do you retain a return?

 

A) SALES AGENT

I DON’T LIVE TODAY has already secured a prominent sales agent focused on films made by African Americans, Themba Bhebhe (previously from Pathé) and Efuru Flowers (previously from Paramount Pictures) at Flourishing Films!

At completion, a film becomes a creative product, available to sell to buyers.

Sales agencies are third-parties who are well connected, versed, and networked with distributors. They have the expertise and understanding of where and how to best sell the film to a distributor and retain the best return.  

Through a commission incentive, sales agencies will take on the task of selling the film to buyers, including domestic and foreign, theatrical and home media, television and streaming.

B) TERRITORIES & PLATFORMS

There are virtually 65 industry-recognized sales territories in the world for which a film can sell to.

There are around 8 forms of media for which a film can sell to: theatrical, television, DVD, Blu-Ray, Video-On-Demand (VOD), ad-based Video-On-Demand (AVOD), transactional Video-on-Demand (TVOD), and subscription-based Video-on-Demand (SVOD).

One could sell the worldwide distribution rights for all media to a singular buyer. Or one could sell each individual media right to different buyers, as well as sell each territory to different buyers, exclusively and non-exclusively, to potentially amounting to 520+ deals. Generally, the latter is not exactly the case, however the current market does allow for a diverse variety of options when it comes to the number of sales a film can make to distributors.

  

C) MINIMUM GUARANTEE

Distributors seek out content that they can sell to their audience. Whether it is screening the film at a giant multiplex, selling DVDs, or placing the film on a streaming platform, distributors are in the business of entertaining their audiences through content that they have acquired.

As the film gains popularity on the festival circuit and earned press, the sales agency will court offers from buyers. In order to compete, distributors must offer attractive minimum guarantees.

The minimum guarantee is an initial sum of money offered to the producer to acquire the exclusive right to distribute the film within their respective territory and/or platform.

This is usually the first stream of revenue that is returned to the production. Depending on the territory and the media, minimum guarantees vary. For example, a worldwide acquisition in all media could be a $6 Million minimum guarantee, whereas a streaming acquisition in France could be a $30,000 minimum guarantee.

 

D) DISTRIBUTION

Once a distributor has acquired the film, they then can use their resources and staff to market and sell the film to their respective audiences.  

Usually, the distributor retains the right to collect all revenue until they have a return on their minimum guarantee, corporate overhead, and cost of marketing and distribution.

Once the distribution company has retained the costs of distributing the film, the net profit is then split with a certain percentage to the distributor as a distribution fee, and the remaining becoming the net proceeds to the production.

Following a sale to a distributor and a successful sale of the film to audiences, investors will then see an additional return in the form of net proceeds from the distributor.

COMPARABLES

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MARKETING & DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY 

A SUCCESSFUL CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN

From September 17th to October 17th 2018, the team engaged in an intensive grassroots crowdfunding campaign with Seed&Spark and the Duplass Brothers’ Hometown Heroes rally amassing a great amount of success!

Without the use of substantial marketing funds, we managed the following:

322 supporters helped raise $32,000 for the development of the film!

We amassed 600 Likes on Facebook and 600 Followers on Instagram.

Without fail, at least 375 people engage with us consistently on social media and help grow our community.

The Facebook response to our crowdfunding pitch video!

The Facebook response to our crowdfunding pitch video!

The Instagram response to our crowdfunding pitch video!

The Instagram response to our crowdfunding pitch video!

The Facebook response to our live stream of Mtume’s short films and online Q&A!

The Facebook response to our live stream of Mtume’s short films and online Q&A!

FESTIVAL STRATEGY

In order to achieve a strong distribution run that not only provides a return on investment, but also a healthy profit, a micro-budget independent drama such as I DON’T LIVE TODAY depends on having a flourishing festival circuit.

Committing to a production schedule in mid-May 2019, we will firstly be aiming to have a World Premiere in August/September at

Venice Film Festival

Toronto International Film Festival

Telluride Film Festival

Co-producer Caleb Negassa has previously had a film premiere at Venice and producer Shant Joshi has previously had a film premiere at Toronto. Through the integrity of the film and the various connections that the team has, we can confidently imagine a highly prestigious World Premiere shortly after production concludes! Having a World Premiere at one of these prestigious film festivals, provides the film a heightened awareness amongst the industry and will allow the film to have a strong set of offers from distributors worldwide.

Following the World Premiere, we would like to see the film play at festivals like MoMA’s New Directors/New Films, Karlovy Vary or Locarno, Ashland, Rotterdam, Cleveland, Cucalorus, Sarasota, BAMcinemafest, New Horizons, Zurich, Donostia-San Sebastian, Melbourne, Rio, Reykjavik, Athens, London, Abu Dhabi, and Goa.

DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY

We will be able to use the momentum of the World Premiere to take the film through the global festival circuit, earning more publicity, awareness, and generating word-of-mouth. This allows us more leverage in negotiating more sizeable minimum guarantees from distributors and gives us more exposure to distributors in less crowded marketplaces at smaller film festivals.

Our approach is to be platform agnostic. While we respect the cinema, digital platforms are just as successful, if not more, in retaining an audience.

MARKETING STRATEGY

In addition to building audience attention through traditional means of online trailers, social media advertising, and press buzz, we want to engage our audience by creating and disseminating the story element of Maceo’s podcast. Through this specific character’s prose and selected songs, we believe that our audience will definitely be intrigued enough to engage and watch the film.