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    Alum raises money to make feature film

    Courtesy+of+Patrick+McSherryA+still+from+the+Paper+Cuts+Indiegogo+video+with+actress+Danielle+Evon+Ploeger+%28left%29+and+director+Ima+Leupp+%28right%29.

    Courtesy of Patrick McSherry

    A still from the “Paper Cuts” Indiegogo video with actress Danielle Evon Ploeger (left) and director Ima Leupp (right).

    “Paper Cuts,” an independent film written and co-produced by a UA alumna, brings to light issues of mental illnesses and eating disorders in a story that many people can relate to.

    The film, which is currently in the pre-production stage, tells the story of Jess, a woman in her 20s who returns to her hometown for her mother’s wedding. While there, she takes a trip down memory lane and uncovers old issues from her teenage years that she tried to repress, including depression, self-harm, anxiety and an eating disorder. Tensions arise between Jess and her mother, ex-boyfriend and step-sister, and the life that she put together by ignoring her past begins to fall apart.

    “As she scrambles to keep up her facade of being successful and content, her personal demons threaten to overwhelm her,” states the Indiegogo campaign page. UA alumna Kelli Horan, who wrote the script for “Paper Cuts,” wanted a film that could present these issues in a serious manner that audiences could relate to.

    “A lot of movies and stories when they talk about these issues, they’re generally regarded as a teenage adolescent sort of thing,” Horan said. “It’s not discussed how these things follow you into adulthood sometimes.”

    The idea for the film stemmed partially from Horan’s personal experiences during her youth. 

    Since her graduation from the UA in 2010, Horan has worked on several feature films, including a film called “Summer League,” which is now available for purchase on iTunes. She works as a director of communications and marketing at a massage school when not working on films and is a producer and writer at Greenless Studios, the production company behind “Paper Cuts” and “Summer League.”

    Her journey to working in independent productions is rooted in her experiences in film school. Horan’s classes assigned her to make shorts and encouraged work on projects outside of class as well, which allowed her to gain valuable experience in the field. The Loft Cinema also allowed her to become part of a filmmaking community through special screenings and the First Friday Shorts competitions. 

    After moving to Austin, Texas, Horan was able to find that same sort of community in her new home which allowed her to find the people she is currently working with. Horan said she is proud of the fact that the majority of the cast and crew are women and that the female point of view is represented well. 

    “Paper Cuts” is currently still in production. The cast and crew are based out in Austin and are currently trying to find the funds required to turn their script into a finished film. Horan and her team launched their crowdfunding campaign on the popular website Indiegogo on Jan. 13. The campaign’s ultimate goal is to reach $15,000 in order to cover the costs of locations, salaries for the cast and crew, food and props. As of Thursday, the campaign had raised $2,535 and will continue to remain open until Feb. 13.

    Funding is always an extremely important and usually difficult part of the production of independent films. Patrick McSherry, another co-producer of the film, explained that getting the word out about “Paper Cuts” and gaining both monetary support and fan awareness is the current task at hand.

    “If people want to give us money, we really appreciate every dollar because that’s people putting their faith in us that we can tell this story,” McSherry said.

    Horan, McSherry and the rest of their cast and crew are planning on filming over 11 days after finishing their funding campaign and eventually plan to enter “Paper Cuts” into festivals around the country. 

    “If you want to make a movie, go out there and do it,” Horan said, when asked what advice she would give to current film students. “If you have a story to tell and you have a passion for it, just do it.”

    To receive updates on the film’s progress and to donate, visit the film’s Indiegogo campaign titled “Paper Cuts — Independent Feature Film.”

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    Follow Victoria Pereira on Twitter.

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