Kickstarter Picks: A New York Shlub in L.A., a Taste of Texas in Brooklyn and the End of Everything

Daniel T. Allen |

Kickstarter is a Lower East Side-based startup that helps creative people “crowd-fund” their projects.

MetroFocus regularly highlights local projects that seem to make the best use of this platform and have the potential to leave a lasting impression on the New York area.

From pastries to post-apocalyptic scenarios, this week’s Kickstarter picks cover a lot of ground. A short film follows the story of a typical New Yorker who chases his dreams to Los Angeles; a baker hopes her traditional Texan confections can compete with the ubiquitous knish; and a new web series envisions a not-too-distant future when the population of New York City is reduced to one man.

“Cagney Cried” Short Film

A film poster for the short film "Cagney Cried," a fish-out-of-water story about an over-the-hill New Yorker who moves to L.A. to act in a film about his idol, James Cagney. Photo courtesy of Bennett Springsteel.

The pitch: In this fish-out-of-water tale, over-the-hill New York working stiff Nick Fazzola relocates to Hollywood to pursue his dream: acting in the remake of a classic James Cagney film.

“Fazzola grew up in a tough neighborhood where he was never really able to blossom into an actor,” said the film’s 25-year-old co-director Bennett Springsteel, of Connecticut. After leaving his hometown, Fazzola rents a room in an L.A. apartment occupied by two free-spirited young women — just the sort he was happy he never had to put up with in New York (this was pre-Occupy Wall Street). Fazzola eventually finds himself in jail, where he connects with two drug-addicted inmates who, like himself, have never really been able to reach their full potential.

Funds for this project will help pay for the production design for the three-week shoot in February. “I think this film really hits home for any New Yorkers who have ever dreamed of acting,” said Springsteel.

Bringing Kolaches to NYC

The pitch: What is a kolache (ko-la-chee)? According to Autumn Stanford, native Texan and founder of the Brooklyn Kolache Co., they are “portable, neat-to-eat pastries that can be stuffed with savory ingredients such as eggs, sausage and cheese, or sweet house-made fillings like apricot, poppy seeds and cherry.”

Apparently kolaches are all the rage in central Texas and Stanford hopes that Brooklynites will develop a hankering for them. She’s raising funds to renovate a 900-square-foot retail space in Bed-Stuy, where she can sell the pastries and accommodate “meet-ups, study groups and private events.” And tot-toting parents rejoice: Stanford also plans to clear out her kolache café during set hours for children’s playtime. In a city where French macarons and Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches are nearly as ubiquitous as Starbucks, maybe she’s on to something…


What is a kolache? Autumn Stanford explains why she thinks her “portable, neat-to-eat,” Texas-style pastries could be New York’s biggest thing since sliced bagels.

“The Silent City” Web Series

The pitch: Not to get all 2012 prophecy, but doesn’t it seem like films and TV shows dealing in end-of-the-world scenarios are proliferating? In “The Silent City,” a lone man fights to survive in New York City after an unexplained incident has ended civilization.

It sounds like a familiar story, but “The Silent City,” an episodic series created for the web, has a twist: the audience is invited to learn more about building their very own post-apocalyptic adventure. Filmmaker Rubidium Wu and his team will give the viewers a behind-the-scenes look  and publish online tutorials on how to use computer programs like Adobe After Effects, which generate special effects for film.

Also of interest is the fact that because the filmmakers are operating on a shoestring budget, they are making use of real-life derelict spaces in New York City rather than relying solely on fancy computer generated graphics. But apocalypse film purists still have something to be happy about: there will be zombies.


A video trailer for “The Silent City,” a web series set in a future where an unknown event has caused the end of civilization.

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