Two Dads Use KickStarter to Fund Film & Book Project with Hidden Cause - HIV Awareness

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Two aspiring filmmakers and full time dads have launched a unique KickStarter campaign. They want to make a feature-length film entitled 'Gnorml', and in doing so increase HIV/AIDS awareness.

Aspiring filmmakers and full time dads Rob Lewis and Mark Skelton have made a unique pitch to the users of the online crowd-funding service KickStarter. They are asking for help to make a feature-length film entitled 'Gnorml' that they say will "change their situation." However, the real impact of their project lies buried in the details of their film's storyline. The main character is HIV positive.

The film, pronounced "normal," is described as a thrilling drama that revolves around Jemma Walsh, a young female photographer with a germ phobia. Her phobia grows to such an extent that it obscures her work, causing her to build a unique enclosed set - "the box" - in which to photograph her subjects. Now free to experience all manner of colorful and creative people, she embarks on a search for what is normal and ignites events that drive this main plot. But when Alan, a subject who becomes a love interest, pursues her romantically, the story takes a turn and the audience is led to an understanding of Jemma, her HIV condition, and ultimately what it means to be normal.

The screenplay has received praise for it's potential to bring a renewed awareness to the HIV/AIDS issue, despite the fact that the filmmakers have specifically chosen to downplay the main character's HIV positive status. "For us, the film had to have more of a purpose than just to entertain. We don't want to push a message on anyone, but we knew if we had a goal for the film to deliver an understanding of a character with a unique life situation that we would be driven to see it completed." says producer, Skelton.

The project also consists of publishing a photography book that contains the actual talent shot during the film. In addition the filmmakers are allowing certain KickStarter backers to buy their way into the book. "Publishing the actual book that [the main character] creates in the film is something that we don't believe has been done before. It represents a secondary channel for promoting both the film as well as the film's concepts." says Lewis.

Lewis and Skelton both have small children at home that they care for full time, while also operating a small digital media company, Dare Fusion (, during evenings and down times. Until recently their projects consisted mainly of short films, commercials, and web projects. But now the two together have set out to complete a more ambitious project in the form of a "doable" feature film. The film was conceived by Lewis who wrote and plans to direct the film. The screenplay has made the rounds in Hollywood and has been positively received, including interest from some named television talents who have yet to officially commit.

The project has reached 10% of its $25,000 goal with 16 days to go as of this writing. As per the KickStarter platform, projects that do not receive complete backing prior to the predetermined deadline receive none of the funds and backers are not charged. Although this campaign is far short of the film's more traditional $350,000 budget, Lewis is confident that a film will be made, stating, "We felt it best to pursue a win on KickStarter and either leverage the funds to go bigger, or make the movie with the resources on hand."

To view the project and watch the introductory video visit:

or visit the project's website at: or

Rob Lewis has a background in legal technology industry and has helped run both successful start-ups as well as national corporate business lines. He founded Dare Fusion in 2006 in order to enable a new career direction and brought together other talented creators to develop entertainment properties. Rob has successfully created pilots for television, episodic media for popular online networks, and short films. This will be his first feature film as writer/director.

Mark Skelton has traveled around the world to more than 40 countries. He was the Arts & Entertainment executive on London’s biggest selling newspaper, The Evening Standard. Mark’s multi-million dollar client list included the biggest names in publishing, theatre and film. Mark set up his own production company and co-produced the award-winning two-part documentary, “For the Love of Skype”, with Al Gore’s Current TV Network. Mark has most recently optioned the rights to the life story and world-renowned book about Peace Pilgrim and is currently developing the movie based on her life.


KickStarter, founded in 2008 by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler, is a crowd funding website for creative projects. KickStarter has funded a diverse array of endeavors ranging from indie films, music, and comics to journalism, video games, and food-related projects. Since their launch in April 2009, more than 24,000 creative projects have been successfully funded by people from around the world with over $250 million dollars being pledged. The company is based in Manhattan.

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