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Saturday, 18 June 2016

Shallow water - the kickstarter campaign



A few years ago I chanced upon a short film on the internet that in many ways fundamentally changed my life - NO! Clean those dirty little minds you naughty people out there. I'm not talking about one of THOSE films on the internet, you know the ones I mean where a man and a woman (or lots of men with lots of women) who love each other very, very much decide to do what comes naturally....... or in some cases, rather unnaturally.

No, this particular film was something entirely different, though if truth be told it did still include men dressing up in leather and grunting a lot. Batman: Dead End was a short film made by Sandy Corolla for just $30,000, and comes with a simple and straightforward story; 

" The Joker has escaped from Arkham and Batman must once again bring him in - once and for all. Unfortunately for the bat, there is something even more sinister than the Joker waiting in the alley for the dark knight detective....namely a couple of familiar looking Aliens"

The film caused something of a sysmic sensation amongst fans who attended it's premier at the 2003 San Diego Comic-Con. After that the film quickly became an online sensation, so much so that it eventually became one of the most downloaded films in Internet history and none other than Kevin Smith called it "possibly the truest, best Batman movie ever made". 

You really have to know something, old Silent Bob is not wrong. I managed to first see the eight minutes of Bat beauty myself a couple of years after the initial excitement (I know, once again I was laughably behind the times) and blimey, I too was mesmerised. Has anyone - including Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan - ever come as close to capturing the essence of Batman as Sandy Collora did? I think not. If that wasn't enough, this was made just a couple of years before Joel Schumacher gave the whole Batman legacy a well aimed kick to to the groin with the utterly lamentable Batman & Robin. The contrast on every level couldn't be greater.

But don't take my word for it, or the audience of San Diego Comic-Con, or for that matter those in Internetland who made the film an Internet phenomenon. No, if you've never seen it then check it out here.......

Batman: Dead End was intended as a promotional vehicle for the writing and directing talents of its maker, Sandy Corolla. For some unfathomable reason, Corolla's directing career never took off in the way that it should have........ but hopefully this will now change because now he has announced his long-awaited return to producing shorts with an anthology of “long shorts” - 20 to 30 minute original genre films. His first entry in the anthology is Shallow Water“a gritty and intense film that unleashes a new cinema creature unlike anything seen before.” 

To help fund it, Collora has launched a Kickstarter campaign you can find the link at; More about this in a few moments.

So let's dip our collective toes in the lovely synopsis pool shall we? Come on in, it feels great.........

"An innocent adventure: a fishing trip to a remote and mythical fishing hole goes awry and becomes a terrifying predicament that keeps getting worse. Nestled deep in the Sea of Cortez is a tiny island you won't find on any map. 

Six fishermen scour the Baja peninsula to find this magical place, but when they finally reach their destination, they encounter some sea life that they did not expect. This puts them all at odds and it quickly becomes every man for himself."

Shallow Water will be the first of a series of “long shorts” that the filmmaker plans to combine and release as a feature, in the manner of Creepshow and Heavy Metal. Collora believes Hollywood has dropped the ball in introducing fresh new genre concepts. While he attributes it to pressures faced by studios to prioritize safety in meeting their bottom lines, he also feels sequels and remakes are now excessive, and have compromised the art.
I have to say that I completely agree. There are many of us who love the horror genre and always will, but nonetheless feel a sense of disappointment and, dare I say it, boredom at where we find ourselves in 2016. Whether it be the incessant hand-held camera offerings or penchant for quick and easy remakes it could well be argued that this isn't something anywhere near to a golden period of risk taking horror film-making. I'm not saying that there are no worthy offerings, because there are, but they are few and far between. Where are the iconic serial killers? The claustrophobic suspense filled moments? The iconic movie monsters?

Sandy and the monster........ Sandy is the one on the left, I think :-)
Well hold on to your hats because Mr Collora is on a mission to restore the horror genre to its rightful place at the top of the pile. So says the man himself: “I love genre films. I grew up on the original Alien and Predator, and they are awesome. But it’s too long since we had something new, unique and powerful in that space.”

Collora was born in New York and always loved film. He moved to California at 17 and found initial success as an artist at Stan Winston Studios, mastering the art of sculpture and character creation, first on films like “Leviathan” and “Alien Nation” then later on “Men In Black”, “Total Recall” and “The Abyss”. He became a go-to designer of action figures, had a successful stint as a commercial director, then wrote and directed the cult classic Batman Dead End which set records for numbers of downloads for a short. Since then his friends and fans have urged him to produce another short.

After producing the feature film “Hunter Prey”, and publishing three volumes of The Art of Creature and Character Design, which he funded with the help of Kickstarter, he now returns to the short film, and to Kickstarter. 

Shallow Water proved too costly to finance as a feature with crowd funding, and that started Collora to thinking about doing the anthology. He sees his current Kickstarter as crucial. He seeks $85K, and with just 10 days to go is well on the way....... but he still needs our help. “With Kickstarter, I can stay independent, and not compromise my vision. That was a big factor in the success of Batman: Dead End. But Shallow Water is longer, with more effects – more ambitious, if you will – so I hope to augment the cost with monies from Kickstarter. For this reason, I went to town on the Rewards for people who back it - great value at a low cost, and for those with more to pledge, some pretty intense limited edition collectibles. I was proud Kickstarter designated this campaign as a “Project we Love” on its very first day, and I think it was because of the cool Rewards.”

If only I had the money for one of these suits.....
As with any crowdfunding campaign worth its salt, the success in reaching the funding target rests partly the source material and secondly the rewards on offer for parting with ones hard earned money. Well the first part seems on solid ground, the rewards are also a little bit on the interesting side. For example at the 'lower end' of the pledges there are is the usual range of tasty dvd, book, t-shirt and action figures on offer. 

A little higher up the pledge ladder there is the reward of a full figure, painted, resin production maquette which was used as reference to create the full body creature suits for the film. It was sculpted by writer/director Sandy Collora and renowned creature creator Jordu Schell. This absolutely stunning piece stands approximately 12 inches tall and will be offered painted, unpainted and unbuilt as well, for all the model kit enthusiasts who want to build and paint it themselves.   Erm, cough!.......Mr Collora.........cough!.........I would love one of these!............cough..........

Then as one goes 'higher' then it starts to get really mouth watering, with perhaps my favourite reward being the ULTIMATE reward-- a screen used creature head or full suit from the film! There will be a VERY limited number of these available after they finish shooting the movie. This is our chance to own an original screen used piece from Shallow Water.

So, if you want to see a potentially great anthology horror film and want to contribute to the creation of it, then do that crowdfunding pledging thing that you do!

The Facebook page for Shallow Water can be found at RIGHT HERE.

The Kickstarter campaign is live at

This article can also be found via the 5D website There you can find a veritable feast of blog articles, news items, pictures and other mouth-watering salutations to the gods of the geeks and the nerds. We have now inherited the earth, you know. 

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