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Lightning In The Hand

NYC-based filmmaker Joey Grossfield turns to Kickstarter to fund his indie Western film

by Graham Hiemstra in Culture on 17 July 2013

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"It is American mythology—Westerns are our Greek mythology," says Joey Grossfield, director, writer and producer of "Lighting In The Hand," an independent film currently seeking financing on Kickstarter. Taking a turn in a different direction than that of his previous work self-producing short films based in NYC, the multidisciplinary filmmaker has turned to the crowd-funding site to help bring his latest project to fruition. Driven in part by the westward ideas of exploration, desolation and lawlessness, Grossfield and his writing partner Andrew Reuland have conceived an original story that explores a familiar struggle between right and wrong in a land where laws hold little weight.

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"There is a kind of a hopefulness in the scenario that if you take risks and if you go out there and push yourself to the edge of the abyss, then you're really living," explains Grossfield. And while these traditional values influenced Grossfield in his thinking, his feeling that we as individuals can often find bits and pieces of ourselves in the genre's archetypal characters played a part as well. Modern society is riddled with rules, but many still struggle to tame the unknown and battle good and evil. We appreciate this existential approach to something most wouldn't even acknowledge.

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If the film is funded, Grossfield is anticipating the process of shooting a period specific film—the filmmaker's first—on location will be extremely rigorous, not to mention entirely different than his past work. Trading the bustling streets of NYC for a ghost town in New Mexico will require a shift in production style and direction. "Preparing for how simple a Western really is has been challenging for me," Grossfield confides. "If a major scene in your film is a guy standing in front of an empty landscape with the wind beating down on him, that's an incredibly simple thing to deal with. But the challenge is staying open minded to the subtleties of pointing a camera at a vast landscape versus another."

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As most Kickstarter campaigns promise to deliver a physical product, "Lightning In The Hand"—which stems from the Apache proverb that states "it is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand"—is offering backers original paintings by Grossfield himself, who actually studied painting and sculpture prior to finding filmmaking. Rather than depicting a specific scene, each storyboard-esque painting captures a mood or sense of energy to inspire the cast and production team. Secure one for yourself, along with an invite to the film's premiere and a digital download for a pledge of $100.

Images courtesy of Joey Grossfield

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