In a relatively short space of time, crowdfunding has become ubiquitous for aspiring filmmakers and those who’d otherwise struggle to secure the funding to fully realise their cinematic ideas. Better still, in an era in which the studio system, to put it politely, struggles with making good on the wants and desires of numerous cult audiences, it provides a opportunity for filmmakers to, effectively, cover the niche spread.
It’s in this spread that you’ll find aspiring filmmakers like James Secker, whose debut – The Summoner – rapidly draws to a close on the crowdfunding circuit. Days from the end and with his goal in sight, Secker clings to his stylised teaser trailer with the vehement determination to fill what he sees as a gap in the market – “one for the boys of the VHS era” like himself.
With its script complete and ready to go, The Summoner is set to take the form of a ten-minute festival cut – with an extended edition to be shown later. Set in alternate reality in which ghosts and violent entities are an everyday household problem, the film sees the employ of Summoners – exterminators who ground the entities in physical form and forcibly eject them. Adam McNab is set to play the titular role, a requisitely hard-drinking loner, around whom only the most gleeful sort of a schlockiest can centre.
“It’s a completely original idea, which I got sort of spurred on for by the resurgence in retro popularity of films like Hobo With A Shotgun and Kung Fury,” Secker tells me. “I saw Halloween when I was five and I’ve been hooked on horror ever since, I love a great action movie too though, and so the idea of developing my own hybrid of action and horror just unfolded naturally.”
Along with crowdfunding, the use of synth wave music is something which has also risen to prominence in the past couple of years – something the young director is excited to be utilising in his film and indeed lays a solid groundwork for in his specially-crafted teaser. “I’m a synth fan,” he reveals; “I love that it’s out there again now and being used for such effectiveness. There are some great examples, my favourite being The Guest – which harks back to the sort of John Carpenter-era score – and, again, Hobo With A Shotgun – which is more of a trashy exploitation-style use of synth.”
Secker’s love of the musical genre is in fact so embedded within the project that he’s managed to unite several of its notable names to the film in advance of its actual production, with Spanish artist Maxthor contributing The Summoner’s theme song Buried Deep Inside. “I’m what you’d generously call a megafan,” he laughs; “I wound up adding all these artists on Facebook and just got chatting to them one at a time. Waveshaper, for instance, came onboard really early – before we even had a script – and it just unfolded that I would start talking to people whose work I really loved and then just ask them if they wanted to come onboard. I’m a fan, so I had a pretty good idea who was right for the project.”
At the time of our conversation, The Summoner was at an impressive 98% of its funding goal – a handsome £7K if you’re wondering – an achievement Secker himself is more than impressed with. “I’m overwhelmed with the support I’ve gotten for it,” he tells me, before rolling his eyes and adding: “I like that quote, it’s nice but it’s such IndieGoGo stock! In all seriousness though, the team I’ve got can’t wait to get filming.”
The Summoner is in development now, with crowdfunding via IndieGoGo closing on Monday, May 30th. Check out the teaser below.