One of 12 participants selected (announced 2 weeks ago) for the New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) and IRIS (a collective of women filmmakers) Writers Lab – the only lab in the world dedicated to providing script development for women writers over the age of 40, which is funded by Meryl Streep – Melody Cooper has launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance the production of her short (would-be feature) supernatural thriller, “The Sound of Darkness,” a recipient of the 2016 Shudder Labs Fellowship from AMC Networks (which comes with a $5,000 grant towards production costs), and winner of the Women in Cinema International Screenplay competition.
Cooper’s campaign goal is just $7,000 (of a $35,000 budget, much of it she’s already raised from an initial round of funding as well as from grants), which must be raised over the next 30 days. The filmmaker hopes that the completed short film, which will be submitted to film festivals, will generate interest in a feature-length version of “The Sound of Darkness,” which is ultimately her goal here. The feature-length script is what she was selected by the NYWIFT/IRIS Writers Lab for.
Synopsis: “The Sound of Darkness” is a supernatural thriller about a Blind Afro Cuban musician and a Deaf Black American sculptor haunted by a woman only they can see and hear, who leads them to save a missing girl and take on an epic battle against a legacy of racial violence and evil. The film focuses on the fact that there are currently 64,000 missing Black women and girls in the United States, and mainstream media and authorities are slow to act on the need to find them. The film also delves into the rarely explored worlds of Orishas (African gods and goddesses), Santeria, the legacy of racism in America, the Blind and Deaf communities, the Afro Cuban experience, and multi ethnic interaction between Filipino, Black, White, Latino and Native American characters.
Cooper says she’s partnering with the The Black and Missing Foundation to raise awareness of the issue her film tackles, which you can learn more about here.
I should add that Cybel Martin, cinematographer extraordinaire, who writes for this blog on occasion, is the DP on “The Sound of Darkness.”
To learn more about the project, and how to contribute to the campaign, watch the *pitch* videos below, and visit the film’s Kickstater campaign page.