Aspiring filmmakers and full time dads Rob Lewis and Mark Skelton have made a unique pitch to the users of the online crowd-funding service KickStarter. They are asking for help to make a feature-length film entitled 'Gnorml' that they say will "change their situation." However, the real impact of their project lies buried in the details of their film's storyline. The main character is HIV positive.
The film, pronounced "normal," is described as a drama that revolves around Jemma Walsh, a young female photographer with a germ phobia. Her phobia grows to such an extent that it obscures her work, causing her to build a unique enclosed set - "the box" - in which to photograph her subjects. Now free to experience all manner of colorful and creative people, she embarks on a search for what is normal and ignites events that drive this main plot. But when Alan, a subject who becomes a love interest, pursues her romantically, the story takes a turn and the audience is led to an understanding of Jemma, her HIV condition, and ultimately what it means to be normal.
The screenplay has received praise for it's potential to bring a renewed awareness to the HIV/AIDS issue, despite the fact that the filmmakers have specifically chosen to downplay the main character's HIV positive status. "For us, the film had to have more of a purpose than just to entertain. We don't want to push a message on anyone, but we knew if we had a goal for the film to deliver an understanding of a character with a unique life situation that we would be driven to see it completed." says producer, Skelton.
Lewis and Skelton both have small children at home that they care for full time, while also operating a small digital media company, Dare Fusion during evenings and down times. Until recently their projects consisted mainly of short films, commercials, and web projects. But now the two together have set out to complete a more ambitious project in the form of a "doable" feature film. The film was conceived by Lewis who wrote and plans to direct the film. The screenplay has made the rounds in Hollywood and has been positively received, including interest from some named television talents who have yet to officially commit.
The project has reached 10% of its $25,000 goal with 16 days to go as of this writing. As per the KickStarter platform, projects that do not receive complete backing prior to the predetermined deadline receive none of the funds and backers are not charged. Although this campaign is far short of the film's more traditional $350,000 budget, Lewis is confident that a film will be made, stating, "We felt it best to pursue a win on KickStarter and either leverage the funds to go bigger, or make the movie with the resources on hand."