How do you define love? Why is the same word used to define such a broad range of feelings? And, if your wealthy husband is paralyzed in a car accident, which gradation of love will keep you from killing him for the insurance money?
These are just a few of the questions posed by an upcoming short film by Islanders Ronan Noone and Steve Dunayer called The Accident. Although filming will not begin until the fall, the movie will be shot entirely on-Island and the pair has already begun fundraising and checking items off their lengthy to-do list.
Mr. Noone, a bartender-turned-playwright, wrote the story and had been searching for somebody to turn it into a film. Mr. Dunayer had been working on independent films in New York city when he grew tired of merely producing and set out to find a film for which he could take the reins. When the pair met, the project began to take form.
“I had been searching for a project I could be involved with artistically,” Mr. Dunayer said. “I wanted to tackle the challenges of producing while still being able to direct the film.”
Although both men aspire to making feature-length films, Mr. Dunayer said that they decided to make a short film as a sort of “calling card” — a way for the pair to establish themselves in the world of film without getting in over their heads.
“I love setting down parameters by which to shoot,” Mr. Noone said in an online teaser for the movie. “There are two people in a room. Can you make that interesting over the space of 10 to 12 minutes in a short movie? I think you can.”
After reading several of Mr. Noone’s scripts, Mr. Dunayer said he connected most with The Accident’s absurdly hilarious storyline. He said that the story’s dark plot reminded him of something written by Alfred Hitchcock or Joel and Ethan Coen.
“It’s an impossible set of circumstances and the family has to rationalize its way out,” Mr. Dunayer said. “I connected to the humor and the rich, colorful dialogue.”
The pair expects filming to begin in October but in the meantime there is still much to do. Before actors and a crew can be hired, they must somehow raise the approximately $25,000 necessary to make the film a reality. According to Mr. Dunayer, this is the average cost of a short film such as theirs.
The pair is working with a website called IndieGoGo, one of many new “crowdfunding” sites, to raise the money. The film’s IndieGoGo page features a range of donation levels, each offering donors a unique incentive. The baseline donation of $25 gives donors access to a digital download of the film once it has been finished. A $100 donation offers a DVD copy of the film accompanied by a personalized thank-you note and a copy of the script signed by Mr. Noone. A $2,500 donation buys the donor a non-speaking role in the film. For a $5,000 donation the donor will receive billing as an executive producer and a visit to the set.
Mr. Dunayer said that he likes crowdfunding because it encourages community support and gives donors a stake in the movie’s outcome. The DVD and thank-you note are his favorite incentives, he said, because they give the donor something personal and tangible in return for their investment
The pair has also received donations from a variety of Island businesses, including the Hob Knob Inn and l’etoile restaurant.
“The support among family and friends for the project speaks to the idea of collaboration in making a film,” Mr. Noone said. “It’s like sitting around a campfire. One person tells a story and everybody listens, then somebody else tells a story. There’s a certain camaraderie in making a story like this.”
Although their fundraising efforts are still a long way from finished, the pair has already begun scouting locations for the film. Because much of the film will take place in a single room, they have focused on a few of the Island’s beautiful homes. After scouting up-Island and deciding that the big houses and dark woods felt too much like the setting of a horror movie, Mr. Dunayer said that they will likely shoot down-Island.