Filmmaker Launches Ambitious Murder Mystery Project on IndieGoGo

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Mike Bizzarri, a Cincinnati Based Filmmaker, Seeks Major Funding Through the Popular Online Crowdfunding Site

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In this business, you have to be prepared to 'improvise, adapt, overcome.'

Independent Filmmaker Mike Bizzarri knows he's stretching the limits of the funding opportunity provided by Indiegogo with the launching of his $444,300 feature film project titled She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not. Compared to your average feature film budget, that amount may seem quite low, but such is not the case on Indiegogo, where most, if not all of the film and video projects posted there, are budgeted much lower.

"I realize my budget is comparatively high," Bizzarri comments, "but this is a full-up feature film scheduled for 35 days shooting at 17 locations with a crew of 13 professionals as well as 25 cast members. Cast, crew, meals, equipment, locations - not to mention pre and post production - it all comes with a hefty price tag."

If you're not familiar with Indiegogo, it's one of several new "crowdfunding" websites that have been established for the purpose of generating funds for creative projects by way of donations. Donation levels can range from $1 to $10,000 or more, and donors receive various rewards based on their level of contribution.

"I read the book, and I couldn't put it down," Bizzarri says of the first novel of The Kim Claypoole Mystery Series written by Jean Erhardt, an artist and author based in Portland, Oregon. "The characters are so colorful, and the scenes are so vivid - as I was reading, I immediately began envisioning a film."

The story is a murder mystery about a lesbian restaurant owner/amateur sleuth named Kim Claypoole who uncovers the dark, dangerous military secret behind a couple of grisly murders that occur in a small Ohio town.

"I think it's worth the effort to go for a suitable budget in order to do justice to the book, but I am, however, prepared to cut some corners if I have to, and for that reason I've chosen to go with Indiegogo's "Flexible Funding" option."

Unlike Kickstarter, another popular crowdfunding site where projects are only greenlighted if the entire amount of the target funding goal is reached, Indiegogo offers an option which allows the project creators to keep as much of the funding as they can raise.

"I've chosen the "Flexible Funding" option, for two reasons - the first is because I've put quite a lot of work into the development of this project, and I'd hate for it to be scrapped because I was a few dollars short of my funding goal, and the second is because even if I don't get the full budget, I'll adapt the production to whatever amount we're able to raise - even if we have to go with a three-man crew, shoot all hand-held with existing light, and eat PBJ sandwiches every day for lunch."

Perhaps easier said than done, but Bizzarri has been down that particular road before. "I had virtually no money for The Greater Good," (his first indie feature,) "but I still managed to make a decent little film that won some awards because the story was interesting and the cast was great. If I run into similar funding challenges with She Loves Me, I'll apply what I learned the first time around."

If the full-budget funding goal is reached, Bizzarri intends to hire a "name" actress for the leading role. "Using an actress with a recognizable name will up the ante in terms of public interest, media coverage, and potential revenue, but I'm not going to worry about it if it doesn't work out. The pool of talented actors in this area is unbelievable, and I'm confident in my ability to put a great cast together - with or without a name."

"My goal is to make a great film and pave the way for the sequels." (Author Jean Erhardt has already completed several more novels in the series.) "As long as there's a good story and good acting in place, I can make that happen with whatever resources become available to me." Borrowing a quote from Clint Eastwood's Heartbreak Ridge, Bizzarri says "In this business, you have to be prepared to 'improvise, adapt, overcome."

About Mike Bizzarri:
Mike Bizzarri has been a motion picture professional in the Cincinnati area for over 27 years. His work as a Writer, Producer, Director, Director of Photography and Actor includes TV commercials, documentaries, short films, and feature length films. His first indie feature, The Greater Good, won the Best of Festival, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor awards at the 2006 F.A.I.F. International Film Festival in Hollywood, and the Best Narrative Feature award at the 2006 Ohio Independent Film Festival.

Mike Bizzarri

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