Crowdfunding Friday: time travel and life on Mars
Here's a fresh selection of sci-fi crowdfunding projects, including a comic set on Mars, and a documentary about a beloved 80s movie...
The traditional thinking was that science fiction is too expensive and effects heavy for indie filmmakers, but filmmakers like Gareth Edwards have repeatedly proved that, with modern digital tools, it's possible for anyone with imagination and talent to make a great genre movie.
That's our jumping off point for this week's theme, which is all about science fiction and travel. We've found a quartet of potential crowdfunding projects for you to consider, which includes a comic book about settlers on Mars, a Blade Runner-inspired time travel story set in a retro noir city, and a documentary about one of the most enduring sci-fi films of the 1980s. Enjoy...
Generation One: Children Of Mars
This Kickstarter project has everything you could want from a new comic: distinctive, bold artwork, and a story that is unusual yet easy to grasp in a sentence or two. Set in the middle of the 21st century, it's about the children of the first settlers on Mars, and how they've adapted to life in a harsh, alien environment.
The campaign's so well presented, it's hardly surprising that Generation One's already soared past its $10,000 goal with about three weeks left to run. So why have we broken our usual rule, and featured a project that's already been backed? One, because we think you'd probably like to buy a copy of the book yourselves - a pledge of $25 will secure you a copy. And two, because if the project meets its $30,000 stretch goal, there'll be an additional 22 pages put in the book - oh, and backers will also get a 11x17" colour poster.
We could go into more detail about Generation One, but really, that fabulous pitch video above tells you everything you need to know. It's an intriguing, mature bit of sci-fi that looks well worth backing.
"It' s like Blade Runner, Looper and The Wolfman had a baby."
The video for this science fiction short film project is very much in two halves - there's the moody, nicely-shot teaser in the opening few seconds - which looks great, incidentally - and then the project founders' to-camera pitch, which is altogether more light-hearted.
Mara's a time-travel story about a soldier hoping to escape a benighted future city - and to do so, he has to follow the orders of a former lover. Although the details behind the story are a little sketchy - it's said the film will contain "explosions, people jumping out of windows, car chases, the Kraken", but we're not sure whether they're joking or not - it's the visual style that caught our attention, and with the filmmakers only asking for a piffling $5000 to get the film off the ground, it's another strong contender for your hard-earned cash.
The Time Machinists
It says a lot about the enduring popularity of Back To The Future that, more than 25 years after its release, people are still not only watching it and referencing it, but also making documentaries about it. Time Machinists may prove to be the most in-depth and fond look behind the scenes of the movie yet, with contributions from writer, producer and co-creator Bob Gale, numerous designers and builders behind the film's time-travelling DeLorean, and Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd.
There'll also be a look at previously unseen concept artwork from the production, a look at the archives at Universal Studios, and interviews with Back To The Future's devoted army of fans, some of whom have gone to the expense of having DeLoreans of their own built.
As a tribute to one of the most beloved SF comedies of the 1980s, The Time Machinists could be well worth your consideration.
Okay, so we're pushing the boundaries of our science fiction theme here a little bit, but there's at least one scene in this videogame project where the lead character wears a space suit, so there's a tenuous link in here somewhere - honest.
Inspired by games such as Lemmings and The Incredible Machine, Stunt Runner is a proposed action puzzler where the player must guide the title stunt performer around a maze of hazards. By laying helpful devices, such as balloons, umbrellas and spring boards, the stunt man will be helped through each 'scene' in the movie he's making - get to the end of the trap-filled take, and it's onto the next.
The physics-based puzzles look fun, and if the level design's there, it could be another indie classic of this emerging subgenre, like an old personal favourite of ours, Gerbil Physics. As a bonus, there'll also be a level editor, which should add plenty of longevity if enough players make and share courses of their own.
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