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Running Wild Films ‘Kickstarts’ Ambitious Project

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012

Updated: Friday, October 26, 2012 14:10

Travis Mills

Adrian Lesoing

Travis Mills, director and co-founder, of Running Wild Films.

The film industry is often associated with the wealthy and powerful creating glamorous, wildly expensive productions that ooze riches. But what happened to making films simply for the love of making films? Local film company Running Wild Films promotes just that philosophy. 

Travis Mills, director and co-founder of Running Wild Films, teamed with former Arizona State University film professor Gus Edwards to create a company that represents the essence and art of filmmaking without the material assets.

Founded in 2010, Running Wild Films has made a name for itself by not only producing eminent films on a budget but by capturing and portraying the culture of Arizona within these films.

“We promote the development of local filmmaking as well as telling Arizona's stories, even if that isn't a true story of something that happened in Arizona, using Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler [and] using the environment not as just a background but as something that informs the story,” Mills said.

In an effort to bring the Valley community together and challenge local filmmakers, Running Wild Films will be producing 52 short films in 52 weeks.

Mills sat down with the College Times and revealed the details about the upcoming project and the launch of its Kickstarter campaign at FilmBar, which will include a showing of the IFP award winning “The Memory Ride” and a screening of two new shorts.

What is the 52 films/52 weeks project?

Travis Mills: All of the 52 films are based on public domain works, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, James Joyce, stuff like that. Obviously, most of those stories were set in the 19th century [or] early 20th century, and what I've done is taken each of those stories and I've adapted it to present day Arizona, trying to use Arizona to re-tell these classic stories. So we will be doing 52 short films in 52 weeks next year, starting in January, and the Kickstarter campaign starts October 12 at FilmBar.

Where did the idea for this project come from?

It just sounds like a good number. It sounds ambitious to do 52 short films in 52 weeks, and I want to be able to work that fast. Usually it takes us two days to shoot a short film, so this is doable. Also, the idea of adapting these public domain works has been something that's been in my head for a while. I think that you can learn a lot from adapting those stories instead of just coming up with your own original material. There's already a great foundation there of storytelling and then you take that and you kind of make it your own. In the last two years we've done about 25 short films and two full-length movies and, for me, it's at the point where we needed to take it to the next level.

What is the Kickstarter event at FilmBar?

Basically, we're showing some of our old short films, some new short films that I've just completed that haven't been seen before, our Kickstarter video and then that night our Kickstarter campaign will launch. FilmBar is the ultimate venue for a local filmmaker because people leave the theater and they don't just leave and walk out to a parking lot; [FilmBar has] a place where [filmmakers] can talk to [audience members]. You can socialize with them. So for this event when [the audience comes] out, there will be free food and drinks from FilmBar and we will be able to interact with them and hopefully excite them about the Kickstarter campaign and give a boost to the Kickstarter campaign on its first night. That's what I'm hoping, to send people home from there excited to pledge.

What is the message behind the campaign for the 52 films/52 weeks project?

The message is to raise money for the 52 short films in 52 weeks. We've never done a Kickstarter campaign before. I've been hesitant to do them because I wanted to wait for the right time and I didn't want to do it for every film. I feel like this is a unique enough project and an ambitious enough project to hopefully draw enough attention and get it funded. There's no other angle to the Kickstarter campaign other than the project itself. After October 12 that link will be live and it will be everywhere. It will be on our Facebook, on our website, on Twitter. So, hopefully, people can just get involved by getting on there and pledging a dollar or more. If they don't have money to pledge, [they can get] involved by going on our website or our YouTube channel and watching the work and just checking it out.

Running Wild Films Presents a Night of Shorts & Kickstarter Launch Party, FilmBar, 815 N. Second Street, Phoenix, 602.595.9187, Friday, October 12, 7 p.m., $5

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