Archive for July, 2013

A Kickstart for Musty Suffer

One of the biggest obstacles for many a creative endeavor has been that of funding. Everything costs something, so the saying goes. This is especially true when dealing with movie-based projects – which is why Kickstarter has been a real game changer.

mustysufferKSFor those unfamiliar with it, Kickstarter is a private company structured to raise funds for creative projects via crowd funding through its website. These projects include films, music, stage performances, comics, and video games. One of the more notable Kickstarter-funded projects is the Veronica Mars movie, in which a total of 91,585 backers contributed $5,702,153 — in just under twelve hours. The original goal from series creator Rob Thomas was $2 million.

On a lesser scale, Kickstarter has been instrumental in restoration projects of older films, as well as bringing little-seen movies to a larger public. And this brings us to Musty Suffer.

The Mishaps of Musty Suffer was a series of short films made in 1916-1917, and starring Ziegfeld Follies comedian Harry Watson, Jr. The films were released weekly, much like the serials of the time. For the most part, these shorts have been unavailable for public view, having never been released in 16mm or on home video.

Composer Ben Model and film historian Steve Massa want to change all that, and are using Kickstarter as their vehicle for change. The goal is to raise $4,000 (a drop in the bucket compared to the Veronica Mars budget). Model’s plans are to select eight of the best Musty Suffer episodes from the prints originally preserved from original nitrate 35mm prints in 1959 by the Library of Congress. New HD transfers will be made, with accompanying music by Model, and then made available for sale on Amazon.com via Amazon’s CreateSpace service.

As of today (July 18, 2013) the fund raising has 24 days left, and has already raised $2,446. Want to make a difference? Here is the URL:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/silentfilm/the-mishaps-of-musty-suffer-silent-film-dvd

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Cinema Houston celebrates a vibrant century of movie theatres and moviegoing in Texas’s largest city. This weblog is a companion to the Book, Cinema Houston: From Nickelodeon to Megaplex (University of Texas Press, 2007), and website, www.CinemaHouston.net.

David Welling is a writer and artist who lives in Houston with his wife and two children. His lifelong interest in movies (and the places that show them) led to the writing of Cinema Houston, which included fifteen years of research, and its subsequent website.