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Kickstart I Am Not a Hipster

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I Am Not a Hipster

Destin Daniel Cretton

Destin Daniel Cretton is the writer and director of “I Am Not a Hipster,” which premiered in the NEXT category at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He is using Kickstarter to help raise funds for the film’s release. Click here to help the film reach its goal.

At the beginning of last year, Ron Najor (producer) sat me down and said these words (I’m paraphrasing): “I want to make a movie with you. I don’t care if it sucks, I just want to make something.” Im not sure if he realized this at the time, but that statement was the most freeing thing he could have said to me. I felt free to take chances, to try something I haven’t tried before, to write a story without boundaries or fears. 

When I started writing, I had no idea it would end up where it did. I initially thought I was just going to tell a fun story about San Diego’s indie music and art scene, a community I fell in love with while living there for 10 years. 

My secret reason for writing this script was to have an excuse to work with two of my favorite artists: Dominic Bogart (an actor who never ceases to surprise me both on screen and stage) and Joel P West (a musician whose melodies have inspired me for years).

Dominic had his work cut out for him, having to prep for basically every scene in the movie while also learning how to play and sing the five songs he performs (live). And in the end, I honestly have no problem bragging about both the acting and music performances in this movie, because I’m genuinely in love with both, and can’t wait for everyone to have a chance to experience it. 

I Am Not A Hipster isn’t just a movie about “hipsterdom” or 20-year-olds trying really hard to be cool. Even though it’s a pretty fun movie, it’s not a spoof or a 90-minute joke. Somewhere along the way, it has become much more than that. It has become a story about a brother remembering how to laugh with his sisters; a son learning to relate to his father; a family struggling to love while grieving; and a young man realizing he can still sing in the midst of sadness.

The only reason this story ended up where it is now was because I felt like it was okay to mess-up, and that mentality stayed with us all the way through production. When it came to decisions on photography, music, performance, wardrobe, the constant reminder to everyone involved was, take a chance. It doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect, or a complete failure, just try something new and see what happens. So that’s what we all did. 

We weren’t trying to make something that would make money, or reach a mass audience, or even play at Sundance. We were only trying to make something. It just so happens, that something premiered at Sundance this January and it was one of the most frightening and amazing experiences of my life. When the first frame of our film popped onto the screen in a sold-out theater in Park City, I literally thought I was going to die. But while listening to the reaction at the credit roll, and talking to people after the screening, I’ve never felt so proud to be a part of a team that decided to take a chance.

Since Sundance, we’ve been taking the film to a number of wonderful festivals (Cleveland, Nashville, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Newport Beach, Arkansas, Seattle), where we’ve received some really great responses from audiences. Here’s a little video from a screening we did in San Diego: https://vimeo.com/42324671

About a month ago, we decided to raise funds to release this film in the same way it was created. So, we launched a Kickstarter campaign (click here) where people can see some clips from the film and our time at Sundance, hear our story and decide whether or not it’s something they’d like to support. As a thank you to those who do support us, we’re offering rewards ranging from a pre-order of the DVD and soundtrack to a private screening and music performance in your home. 

Thanks to everyone who supported us already, we’re over half-way to our goal! But we still have a way to go, so if anyone out there finds anything in this blog-post remotely interesting, please check out our campaign and let us know what you think!

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Sundance Institute Piloting Direct Individual Support for Mediamakers Through the Sundance Institute | Humanities Sustainability Fellowship

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic upended life in general, and halted production and distribution for many creatives, the nonfiction field was plagued by issues of sustainability. For several years, sustainability has been an urgent and vigorous topic of study, debate, and organizing, as more and more filmmakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living solely on the basis of their creative work. 

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