It’s Kringle Time!

It is with equal parts excitement and crippling panic that I announce Kringle Time, a new film I’m making with Zan Gillies that starts shooting in July.

Kringle Time Key Art_v2_w-title

In Kringle Time, a small town public access TV station manager’s childhood dreams come true when he inherits the role of Kringles, a singing, dancing snowman character on a popular children’s show. But the dream comes at a price when the dark history of Kringles’ creator comes to light, forcing him to ask whether the beloved character is actually a symbol for good after all.

Sound interesting? HOPE SO CUZ WE’RE MAKING IT IN THREE WEEKS.

It will be a dark comedy with a social message, generally focusing on questions about the value of someone’s legacy if they choose to live their life at the expense of other people. We have a lot of examples in entertainment and political circles to draw from — our story is a small-town sendup of these conversations that asks you to engage through laughter.

I’ll have plenty more to say about Kringle Time in future posts, but for now I want to kick it off with a personal account of why this movie is getting made.

My last big personal project was Moonshot, a short film I made in 2015 that went on to have a respectable festival run and now lives on Amazon for everyone to stream for free. It’s the project most directly responsible for the formation of what is now an incredibly talented and reliable team of production professionals that I’m lucky to call my friends, and even luckier to get an opportunity to work with on a regular basis.

In the couple of years since Moonshot, I’ve worked on countless projects: feature docs, corporate videos, commercials, educational video content, music videos, and interactive training films. I’ve dangled from the top of the George Washington Bridge, seen more anatomy slideshows than any human should, and been taught on a police ride-along how to unlock the shotgun, “in case shit goes down.” Outside of the day job, I’ve gotten to work on some amazing passion projects from some of my incredibly talented friends like Lonnie Martin’s feature, Last of the Manson Girls and Anthony Morigerato’s short dance film, The Text. I’m lucky to spend my time doing something I love, something I’m good at. But as any self-hating creative person will tell you, there’s only so much time you can put between personal projects before you simply must do the next one.

That brings us to December 11, 2017 when I texted the improbably handsome Zan Gillies asking if he had a feature script we could make on the cheap. It was 8:47 AM and I was sitting in a dark studio where I had probably been for the 9th straight day, and my brain and soul were crying out for help. I’d written a lot during that year, but I needed Zan’s help because, as I put it to him then, “I can’t write anything that doesn’t have fucking robots in it.” Turns out making robot movies is expensive and we needed something more practical. Enter Zan, a genius with the pen and a hater of robots — we got to work immediately.

If you’ve never tried it, writing something with someone else is incredibly difficult. Writers already fight with themselves over which idea is the best one to make the cut before deciding they all suck; two writers just doubles that problem and adds in an extra ego for good measure. Fortunately for Zan and I, we’re both (mostly) polite, dangerously self-deprecating individuals, so the process was cordial and relatively painless. We had exactly one heated disagreement that I can recall. Our bigger problem was that it was just as likely we would drink an entire bottle of whiskey and talk about Jurassic Park until 5 AM as it was we’d actually write a single page. But after two months of steady work on beat boards and outlines, Zan started writing and by the end of March we had a script. Fortunately for all concerned, there were no robots in it.

The goal was always to make the movie this year, and while the timeline was ever at the mercy of several external issues that we didn’t have the money to pay to go away, when we finally settled on July the decision felt both too soon and just right. Actor and location schedules were finally lining up, the prospect of being able to design the film in time seemed possible, and best of all — the core team from Moonshot was prepared to make a return on a bigger stage.

There are a number of people without whom the idea of making a movie at this moment — of any size, much less a feature — would be unimaginable. These people are:

Raz Cunningham, producer and friend, casting genius, and a one-man creative support system.

Wesley Hunt, DP extraordinaire, lives in the shadows, is standing right behind you.

Lonnie Martin, AD and the closest thing I have to a husband, a creative partner in most things.

Jaime Nudd, gaffer who created a world for Moonshot we didn’t think we could make, lovingly insane person who butchers rabbits and also keeps one as a pet. My next movie is about her.

Ted Hogeman, the most reliable and least curmudgeonly sound guy I know, a genuinely good human being.

Chris Mariles, is he a gear head with a golden eye or a beautifully tortured artist with encyclopedic camera knowledge? We may never know.

Yildiz Yilmaz, the world’s most beautiful soul, an angel from production design heaven. She was in a car accident on the way to Moonshot’s set, miiiight have had a broken rib the whole time, never complained once, still made Turkish tea for everyone.

I can’t express enough gratitude to the above individuals, and to everyone who will be showing up in a few weeks to help make this movie happen. I’m also looking forward to new partnerships with the most excellent gentlemen at Del Ray Films, Mr. Lee Perna and Mr. Emmett Webster, as well as with our new production manager, Rick Adelson.

I invite you to follow along with the production as we work, likely to within an inch of our lives, on bringing Zan’s hilarious script to life. We have a number of exciting announcements coming this week on the casting front, and we hope to continue providing some insight into how micro-budget indie films get made for those who may be interested.

Please follow and share our various channels to stay in the loop!

Instagram: @kringle_time

Twitter: @Kringle_Time

Facebook: Kringle Time

Onward into the darkness!

-Matt

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