Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Ken Stringfellow of The Posies, R.E.M. & Big Star to Make His Acting Debut in "Ken - The Movie"

via Press Release

Ken – The Movie is a new film project by award-winning writer-director Claudia Rorarius. The musician Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, R.E.M., Big Star) will play the lead character in his first-ever acting role. After an intense process of research and development, the main cast is assembled, the story has come together, and production is ready to go. Shooting is scheduled in the U.S. for autumn 2016 and spring 2017.

Ken – The Movie grew from Rorarius' desire to work with a particular person, Ken Stringfellow and yes, the real-life Ken and the film’s protagonist share the same name, but this is no documentary. Rather, Ken Stringfellow acts as himself, reliving parts of his life and fraying the line between reality and fiction in the process.

The story follows the musician on tour in the U.S. It’s a road he’s travelled a thousand times before, but on this occasion his world is turned upside down. The towns appear deserted, his shows are going badly, and his nerves are at breaking point. One morning he wakes to find his voice gone, which sends him over the edge, plunging into a catastrophic breakdown. Stranded and distressed, he is haunted by the memory of his mother abandoning him as a child. After deciding he's had enough emotional torment, he takes fate into his own hands and begins the search for his lost mother, taking a long and painful road back to life.

Ken – The Movie will deploy the same experimental techniques of Rorarius' previous films. As events from Ken's real life intertwine with fictional elements, the genres of documentary and fiction fade away in the revelation of an intimate new form of cinema.

Ken – The Movie brings together a team of award-winning filmmakers, musicians, cinematographers, and actors. Rorarius, a dedicated and insightful filmmaker, has also photographed artists like Kelis, Rufus Wainwright, Vivienne Westwood, Eminem, Pharrell Williams, Jamie XX, and John Cale for magazines such as Spex, Intro, Wire and Wallpaper. Her last film, Chi L'ha Visto – Who Saw Him, was nominated for Best Performance, Best Director, and Best Movie at the Torino Film Festival in 2009. It was also selected for many more festivals, such as the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the Montréal World Film Festival, and Film Festival Max Ophüls. Critics called it "intensive,” "touching" and "grand cinema.” Rorarius’ work grapples with how we understand ourselves, illuminating dark corners of identity and despair while raising questions about the nature of filmmaking itself.

Ken Stringfellow's life is music. A founding member of the legendary Seattle indie-pop band the Posies, Stringfellow also played a part in the reformation of Big Star, one of the most influential bands in pop history. He toured with R.E.M. for 10 years, assisted with their albums Reveal and Around the Sun and, in 2005, he founded the garage rock band the Disciplines. More recently he has worked as a songwriter and producer for acts like Lagwagon, Damien Jurado, The Long Winters, Snow Patrol, Neil Young, Patti Smith, Mudhoney, and Death Cab for Cutie. In the mid-’90s he contributed to the soundtracks from The Basketball Diaries and Reality Bites. To date, his discography spans over 200 albums. A recent solo record, 2012’s Danzig in the Moonlight, was warmly received by critics.

Although Stringfellow was featured in Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, Ken – The Movie will be his first acting role. You can expect to see Ken do what he does best: captivate us with his heartfelt songs. But the film also shows what lies on the other side of those songs, probing into his life and bringing his fears and vulnerabilities to the surface.

Intense, uncompromising, and challenging, the film isn't the kind of thing that investors flock to, so the producers are turning to crowdsourcing via Indiegogo. But they wouldn't have it any other way. If the initial target is reached and everything goes well, the campaign will be extended. The momentum and support of this first phase will also impact producers’ ability to secure public funding.

All donations will go straight into the various costs associated with the making and airing of Ken – The Movie. These include equipment rentals, travel and transportation, and general production costs, as shown in this diagram.

Supporting this project has a special benefit: contributors will help to recognize, develop, and actively promote the unique vision of women in the film industry. By getting Ken –The Movie finished, the director and producers hope to inspire many more female directors to pick up a camera and get out there.

Throughout her career, Rorarius has battled her way through the gender bias of the film business. A member of Pro Quote Regie, a women's director movement in Germany, she plays an active role in the promotion of women in film. Jane Campion gets to the heart of the issue, saying, "Without [women] writing and being directors, the rest of us are not going to know the whole story."

Even those who can't contribute funds can still be a part of the journey. Any help is hugely appreciated; this can be done simply by sharing.


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