Houston Kickstarter Round-Up: September -- Film & Art Projects

Once a month we'll be bringing you a look at some of the best local Kickstarter campaigns in order to let you know what's getting ready to be unleashed through the help of small investors.

DugFinn Shabranigdo and her friends want to follow in the footsteps of Kevin Tancharoen with Mortal Kombat: Legacy and Joey Ansah with his upcoming Street Fighter Web series by launching a series based on the Left 4 Dead video games. L4D Run shows a surprisingly sophisticated approach to gritty, guerilla, zombie filmmaking, and while that genre really needs no more entries, good video game adaptations on YouTube continue to be gamers' only hope for cinematic excellence.

Shabranigdo has the same crisp, dystopian vision that brought 28 Days Later to life, and for a young, local production, the sets and acting come across pretty tight. Plus, they only want $580! The only downside is that you don't get much for your investment. Even the top donation level only offers signed pictures, posters and iron-on patches. On the other hand, the short will be free for all, so that's all in the spirit.

Goal: $580 by September 19.

Another film lacking in zombies but adding a touch more social relevance is Brilliant Pictures' proposed short subject The Other Side. It's the story of a young woman who enters the dark and seedy side of city life in order to help her widowed mother out of financial dire straits. Her guide in this project is a pimp named Pierre, who introduces her to the blurred lines between right and wrong.

Donors at the top $3,000 level get an executive producer credit, which actually seems like a nice way to pad an IMDb entry if you've got the dough, but the rest of us plebeians will probably want to go the $30 route. It's the lowest you're going to get and end up with an actual copy of the film.

Goal: $5,000 by October 13

Tasneem Mandviwala is an Indian Muslim American painter, with parents from Tanzania and London, who's gotten very interested in the idea of universal translation through abstract art. Sort of like what John Cage would do with his scores occasionally. Her goal is to produce a series of abstract paintings that represent the progression of plot in various works of literature, including Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, Lord Byron's "Kubla Khan" and Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.

The piece up there is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and you have to admit that it does really give a solid representation of the rise and fall of Frankenstein and his monster, especially as they fade into cold death in the frozen wastelands at the end. $25 gets you a 5" x 7" photo print of any of the works, but man, if you've got $1,000, that Frankenstein painting looks worth it!

Goal: $3,000 by September 27

It's a rare American that has never dreamed of designing a car, and now you can do the next best thing. Steven Fowler is putting together an art book of car drawings based on suggested names. Contributors can suggest any name they like provided it's not vulgar or offensive. So there goes my dream of christening a car the Flaming Taintknocker.

He'll do a quick, one-of sketch like the one above for only $25, which won't appear in the book but is still pretty damned cool. If you want to see your work actually get rendered in color nicely and immortalized in the coffee-table book, you'll need to chip in $100. An automotive business looking for a logo design on the cheap can get one by kicking in $75 to the project, which isn't a bad flat rate for logo design at all.

Personally, I think $25 is more than a bargain to have someone draw me a picture of my second dream car, the Ford Dalek.

Goal: $8,000 by September 29

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