Award-winning filmmaker, creature effects artist and puppeteer, Kevin McTurk is officially launching his Kickstarter campaign for his upcoming short film, a Victorian-inspired ghostly puppet tale, “The Mill at Calder’s End.” In his work, McTurk uses camera techniques from the silent film era combined with the Japanese puppetry style known as bunraku in order to bring his tale and his ghostly creations to life on screen. His last film, “The Narrative of Victor Korlach,” which featured the voices of Elijah Wood and Christopher Lloyd, was an official selection at several international film festivals and won both Best Short and First Place for Animated Horror at DragonCon 2012.
A great deal of talent is attached to the project; Jason Flemyng (X-Men: First Class, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) will voice the character of Nicholas Grimshaw; Barbara Steele (Black Sunday, Pit and the Pendulum) will play the “The Witch of Calder’s End”; Mike Mignola (Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Hellboy) has signed on as a concept artist and Mitch Devane (Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Hellboy) is working as one of the many talented puppet sculptors needed for a project of this size.
“‘The Mill at Calder’s End’ will definitely be a challenging filmmaking experience,” McTurk says on the Kickstarter project page. “Every frame of this film is essentially an effects shot. The “actors” of this film are the sculpted puppet characters that are controlled by three puppeteers dressed in black behind each puppet. Therefore, one of the single greatest challenges is how to film the puppets and hide the puppeteers from camera. There will definitely be a number of shots that will require “rotoscoping” (digitally erasing puppeteers from the shot, frame by frame). In addition, every element of the puppet world – wardrobe, props, and sets – must be custom built for the film.”
McTurk hopes to start shooting on “Calder’s End” this summer and begin post-production in fall or early winter 2013. Interested backers can choose from a variety of pledge packages ranging from a mere $5 (which will get you an online ‘Thank You’ credit) to $5000 (for an Executive Producer credit and [Spoiler Alert] a puppet with your likeness to play one of the victims at Calder’s End). Over the next 30 days, McTurk hopes to raise $32,000 through Kickstarter.com (with about $10K going to puppet design and costume, $10K going to camera, lighting and crew and the rest going into post-production).
For more information, trailers, or to pledge visit the “Mill at Calder’s End” Kickstarter project page.