More than a potato salad

Justin Crann
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Neufeld looking to Kickstart award-winning short film

For two months, Travis Neufeld has been working in secrecy to prepare a financing campaign for his award-winning short screenplay The Tinwife.

Travis Neufeld poses with his CineQuest Best Short Screenplay award. Neufeld has launched a Kickstarter campaign to make his short screenplay The Tinwife into a short film.

On Wednesday, his work came to fruition when he launched a Kickstarter campaign to make the screenplay — which won top honours at the CineQuest Film Festival and California International Shorts Festival — into a short film.

"I've been working on this pretty much in secret," Neufeld told the Times-Herald. "I've kind of waffled back and forth about whether I was actually going to go through with it, because you have to use a little bit of social capital to do it … (but) I have nothing to lose at this point. This is one of the only options I have to make it."

The screenplay, which Neufeld has described as "a short, retro-science fiction film project" set in a universe similar to The Jetsons, tells the story of a society in which technology has surpassed social conscience and mankind has created robotic women who are completely subservient to their owners.

In the script, a human woman whose husband has died is mistaken for one of the androids and sent to a facility where defective models are destroyed.

Neufeld is trying to raise $15,000 to make the screenplay into a short film — an amount he said is "a good amount of money."

"Some people try to get away with making a feature with that kind of money, but that isn't who I am. I don't want to make a schlocky kind of thing," he said. "I don't want it to be just a film, I want it to be something people will see and think, 'Oh, that guy's good. He knows what he's doing.'"

Neufeld said he is hopeful that people in Moose Jaw and elsewhere will get behind his project — especially in a world that contributes almost $52,000 to make a potato salad.

"If that guy can raise that kind of money for potato salad and I can't raise $15,000 to get this movie made, I'm going to be like, 'Forget  it, man,'" he quipped.

In part, Neufeld said he's counting on the strength of the screenplay to encourage people to help him. 

Along with the two prizes it picked up earlier this year, The Tinwife also claimed second place in the short screenplay category from The Writer's Place, and is a quarter-finalist in the 2014 PAGE International Screenwriting Awards.

"I've done really well with the script — better than I ever expected," said Neufeld. "If I can find the same amount of success with the film as I did with the screenplay, that's already pretty cool."

But he's also throwing in some incentives for his contributors.

"I'm doing this thing where I'm making people who contribute into salespeople for the (fictional) Tinwife Company," explained Neufeld. "They'll get a calendar and business cards … they'll really get to be a part of it all, and they get their name in the credits, of course.

"They'll be more involved in the production and actually have something to show for it," he added.

Ultimately the film's best selling point will be how hard he has worked on it — an effort he said he hopes is apparent.

"There's been so much work, good intent, crafting and meticulous thought put into this," said Neufeld. "Once people see the video I made for it, I'm pretty sure they'll think, 'What? That's awesome!'"

To see the video and learn more about Neufeld's project, visit The Tinwife's website. To contribute to the Kickstarter fund, click here.

Find Justin Crann on Twitter.

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