Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initatives

ON THE SPOT: The scenes in Luke & Jo will be shot chronologically, which will allow for more improvisation in the dialogue, according to the feature film's crowdfunding page. Andie Morgenlander and Erik Odom, pictured, star in the work. Photo from Solis Films' crowdfunding page

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise startup capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable Western North Carolina crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd.

Luke & Jo film

Characters Luke and Jo meet as their lives are unraveling. He’s struggling with isolation and depression, while she has taken up an increasingly self-destructive lifestyle. “When their journeys collide, neither of them sees it coming,” says director and writer Joshua Overbay in the feature movie’s campaign video. “But ultimately, it will lead them both to confront … the things that they’ve been running from. It’s a movie about human connectivity and how even though we often feel separated, isolated and alienated from one another, we’re not.” Overbay and his business partner Nathaniel Glass (producer and director of photography) are releasing Luke & Jo through their company Solis Films. They aim to raise $50,000 to pay for lights, cameras, props and costumes and to cover lodging and food expenses for cast and crew.

Smile Baby Smile album

On his latest album, Smile Baby Smile, pianist and Western Carolina University jazz studies professor Pavel Wlosok is joined by New York City-based jazz guitarist Paul Bollenback as well as local musicians Zack Page (acoustic bass), Evan Martin (drums) and Byron Hedgepeth (percussion). “This is probably one of the most optimistic albums I’ve put out,” Wlosok says in his campaign video, noting that most of the nine songs were written years ago, around the time his daughter was born. The release also features a 16-page booklet with photographs and a foreword by the album’s producer Petr Marek. Though Smile Baby Smile has already been recorded, mixed and mastered, Wlosok aims to raise $1,100 by Saturday, Oct. 29, to recoup some of the project’s costs.

Beards of Asheville calendar

You’ve seen them at the grocery store, in line for coffee and catching crumbs at local restaurants; top-notch beards abound in Asheville, and artists Marca Pacheco and Sera Isabella are creating a calendar to honor them (and their caretakers). The goal, Pacheco and Isabella write on their crowdfunding page, is “to showcase the fantastic beards of local men that live, work and play in Asheville,” and a portion of proceeds will also benefit Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. “We had no idea how easy it would be to get so many willing participants,” reads the project’s campaign page. The duo aims to raise $500 to pay for printing and distributing the calendars.

Image from the Beards of Asheville campaign page
Image from the Beards of Asheville campaign page

Homesteading web series

For Ashevilleans Tony and Amelia, the best part of homesteading is hearing that they’ve inspired others to wade deeper into the alternative lifestyle. So, the two are launching a free video series to further propagate their knowledge. “Our media will cover a wide range of topics such as how to’s, sustainability, environmental philosophy and ethics, along with some plain old silliness,” reads their crowdfunding page. Eventually, they want to document the process of building a house from scratch using self-made lumber and other salvaged materials. Tony and Amelia aim to raise $1,500 by Friday, Oct. 28, to buy audio and video equipment for filming and editing the clips.

Send your crowdsourcing campaign news to kmcreynolds@mountainx.com. A limited number of campaigns will be highlighted each week, at Xpress’ discretion. Campaigns must be locally based and should represent a current project with an achievable goal. Conditions are subject to change. Read about more Western North Carolina projects here.


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We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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