Full disclosure: Adam Reider makes great short films and I’m a huge fan.
So while he thinks this interview is about him and his Kickstarter campaign for Remain Calm, it’s really about me. It’s about the film I want to see get made. Reider films are grand and quirky, darkly humorous character studies of difficult people in difficult situations. They are, to put it simply, quality.
“Remain Calm is basically about this woman who has the shakes — kind of like Tourrets Syndrome,” Reider explains. “She discovers after breaking a mirror in a moment of frustration that destroying things cures her ailment, at least temporarily. She goes on this spree of breaking stuff and destroys a hotel room and chaos ensues.”
After that, he will say no more except that the ending “will be quite shocking.” He didn’t mention the late 70’s hotel room.
Making films is an expensive business and Reider is always conscious of the need for funds. “I fundraise all the time. I’m a fundraising machine,” he says. After raising about half of what he needed to make the film on his own, he turned to Kickstarter to raise the second half. However with the shooting date already booked, “[t]here’s a lot of pressure on this campaign. You have a goal and if you don’t make that goal, you get nothing. If I don’t make $2000 at least, I’ll have big problems.”
Kickstarter campaigns promise rewards in exchange for pledges. Reider has a few creative rewards on offer. “There are some things in there that will strictly cause liver damage,” he says. “The most popular reward is for a $20 pledge; I will get shit-faced drunk and handwrite a letter. I have ex girlfriends who are like ‘I want a letter.’ Random people tell me they can’t wait to see that letter. For $50, I will do or say almost anything for 20 seconds on camera. Those things don’t cost me anything except pride and respect. I’m okay giving up those things in the name of art.”
While Reider doesn’t mind putting himself on the line for pain and humiliation, he confesses that asking for cash is harder. “It’s tricky because I hate asking for money. But there’s only one feeling worse than asking for money, it’s not making movies. If I have to weigh it out, I’d rather ask for money and make movies.”
Trust me, we’re getting the better end of that bargain. Every single one of Reider’s short films has been in a festival and his work has appeared in Just for Laughs for the last two years. Even one of his early student films appeared in the Montreal World Film Festival. Most recently, his film Kate Westerson Attempts to Feel Better won Best Short Dramadey at the Atlanta Underground Film Festival. “It blew my mind,” he said. “It was my first award. I didn’t get to be there though. I’d rather put my money into the new film rather than spend it going to festivals.”
Reider expresses profound gratitude to the people who contribute to his art. “I want it to be clear that I am deeply appreciative and humbled by people’s support. It’s so amazing to me that people would do that. People work hard for their money. When someone makes the decision to donate money to me, I know that it means something. As someone who struggled financially to support a film career for years. I know what a dollar or five dollars means to people. Every dollar matters to me. People give $5, and I think it’s amazing. There are times when I had to make $5 feed me for a few days. So I get that every dollar that is donated means a lot.”
Adam Reider’s Kickstarter campaign runs until December 11th.