Filmmaker and Pensacola native, Brett Haley, who currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his most recent film, “I’ll See You In My Dreams.” The film has a tentative production start date of March 2014.
“I’ll See You In My Dreams” is an independent feature film written by Haley and Marc Basch and starring Blythe Danner (“Meet the Parents”) and Martin Starr (“Knocked Up” and “Freaks and Geeks”). While the movie’s main character is a woman in her 70s, 30-year-old Haley says that this is not an “old person” movie, but rather a movie about people who happens to be older.
“I’ll See You In My Dreams” tells the story of a 70-year-old widow named Carol (Danner) who finds herself struggling with ideas of purpose and identity in the later phase of her life. When she decides to start dating again, she embarks on relationships with two different men, which compels her to confront her own fears about love, aging, family and death.
“What drew me to this character and this story was that I’m curious about how people approach life in their later years,” Haley said. “I wonder what I’ll be like when I’m that age. I think that this character addresses those questions in a really unique and human way, and not in a philosophical way. They’re addressed through a person that I think we can all relate to in some way.”
As part of Haley’s research for “I’ll See You In My Dreams,” he and the film’s co-star, Starr, interviewed a number of individuals, all 65 years and over. Haley said they wanted to make certain the film’s script was based in reality. Haley and Starr worked with a retirement community in Los Angeles called be.group, which specializes in various levels of assisted living. Haley and Starr conducted the interviews in a one-on-one setting, and they asked their senior interviewees pointed questions about dating, sex, “being old” and how to live a full life.
“One of the things that surprised me was that they were a lot more frank than what I and Martin and my producers were expecting,” Haley said about the interviews. “They were so honest and open. And they were lovely. They were delightful, and they loved life. And they said that they loved life now more than ever.”
As with many artists, funding is often the obstacle standing between creator and creation. While the preparation for the film’s production has begun in earnest in Los Angeles, the actual launch date rests in part on the success of Haley’s Kickstarter campaign.
Kickstarter is an online platform that unites creative projects like film, music, art and design with people who might be willing to fund them. The artists maintain complete control over their projects, only looking to Kickstarter as a financial resource. Project creators set up their unique funding goals along with a funding deadline. If prospective supporters like a project, they can pledge money to back it. However, Kickstarter funding is an all-or-nothing deal, which means that project creators either meet the entirety of their funding goal or they receive none of it. If Haley’s Kickstarter campaign goal of $60,000 is met by his deadline date of Tuesday, Feb. 4, the production will continue as scheduled.
Haley, who graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with a B.F.A. in film directing, got his filmmaking start in the Pensacola community. As a Washington High School student, Haley was involved in both the drama and TV production programs. He went on to act in plays at the Pensacola Little Theater and Pensacola Junior College.
“I’ve always been a story-teller,” Haley said. “ I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a filmmaker, so Pensacola was a great place for me to grow up. It was very supportive of the arts and a great place for me to find myself as an artist.”
In 2009, Haley co-wrote, directed and edited the indie feature film, “The New Year,” which was filmed entirely in Pensacola. The film was screened in over 20 film festivals, including the Los Angeles Film Festival. It won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Sarasota Film Festival and was a Critic’s Pick in The Village Voice and LA Weekly. “The New Year” can be viewed on Netflix.
As of right now, Haley is about two-thirds of the way to his Kickstarter goal.
KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN FOR “I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS” BY BRETT HALEY
WHEN: Campaign deadline is Feb. 4