Kick It: Cinematographer Sees the Light with Crowdfunding

Zak Mulligan is a NYC and LA-based cinematographer, perhaps best known for his Sundance Film Festival Excellence in Cinematography-winning feature film Obselidia, directed by Diane Bell.

Celebrated playwright Harold Blumenthal has died while laughing at his own joke.

This is the spark that starts the film Passing Harold Blumenthal as explained to me by it’s writer/director Seth Fisher. The dry wit and clever, original plot had me enthralled instantly. I wanted to know more.

Seth and I first met on a cold, grey December afternoon in a Manhattan coffee shop. He went on to tell me about his blog and showed me a clip from the short film Pretty Happy, a sort of companion piece to his feature.

After the meeting, I had much to mull over. I was already close to being attached to another feature film shooting around the same time. It had a much bigger budget than Blumenthal and had a great team behind it. An interesting dilemma had presented itself: What criteria do I use to navigate the rough seas of choice? How do I pick which film to do?

It wasn't an easy decision. Passing Harold Blumenthal was an unfunded stack of white paper written by someone I didn't really know. The other project had its financing lined up and all the key players in place. The script was a good one (also a comedy) and there were some trusted familiar faces involved.

As I mulled it over while trudging through two feet of city snow, Seth's enthusiasm slowly seeped in and I found myself so caught up in the world he had created that I couldn't help myself. I wanted to meet all these colorful characters and watch them come to life in the film. The tipping point may have been the short film he made. It was largely pulled from his feature script and had such a uniquely comic tone and spot-on delivery that I knew Seth was completely capable of carrying this project to the finish line. Perhaps most importantly, this was also exactly the kind of film I would go see in a theater. It had to be made.

The key players fell into place fairly quickly after that meeting. I was on board along with Producer Garret P. Fenelly (Act Zero Films), Nicole Ansari, and Alex Cendese, who were also drawn in by the quality of the script and Seth's ability to instill complete and utter confidence. There we were, a group of new friends drawn together under a common banner.  What we lacked in money we managed to make up for with an amazing and experienced team.

I work on a variety of production types with wildly different scales of size and money. I love shooting big budget commercials, experimental music videos, and indie features, each for their own set reasons. Projects like Passing Harold Blumenthal are perhaps my favorite, though. Nothing is more special than when a diverse group of talented people rally to support a film not for the money, but for the love of a project they feel connected to and want to share with others.

I can't wait to start shooting! We're almost there but we still need a little help. Check out our Kickstarter page and get involved today.

Lead photo: