Fundraiser is ‘GoGo’ for Ted Bundy documentary
The crowdsourcing campaign for filmmaker Celene Beth Calderon’s “Theodore: The Documentary,” which is about serial killer Ted Bundy, is on again.
Calderon and her crew — producer Sean McKenna and executive producer, cinematographer and editor Timothy John Psarras — took a break during the holidays to reassess their approach when the film’s Kickstarter campaign failed to reach its $50,000 goal.
Calderon, who is directing the film, decided to lower her goal to $10,000 and launch an IndieGogo campaign nearly two weeks ago.
“We felt IndieGoGo was better because even if we don’t reach our goal, we can still get the money we raised,” she said.
The campaign has raised $3,766 of the goal as of Tuesday, Feb. 13.
“Before we do anything, I want to emphasize that five percent of the donations we receive will benefit RAINN,” Calderon said.
The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network organization, known as RAINN, is a nonprofit that offers programs and outreach to prevent sexual violence, help survivors and bring perpetrators to justice.
It also operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-866-HOPE) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country.
“We really want to give back to survivors of sexual assault, because Ted Bundy not only murdered his victims, he assaulted them as well,” Calderon said.
The remaining money will be used to complete some of the remaining interviews, McKenna said.
“We have reached out to some other potential interviewees in other states,” he said. “One lives in Idaho and there are a few who live in Colorado, Florida and potentially Massachusetts.”
The filmmakers also have a lead in Boise, Idaho that focuses on Lynette Dawn Culver, who was 12 years old when she disappeared in 1972. Bundy confessed to killing the Alameda Junior High School student before his execution in 1989 at the Florida State Prison.
Investigators weren’t able to find her body, Calderon said.
McKenna also said the crew also wants to return to Bundy’s hometown in Tacoma, Washington, and go to Seattle where Bundy’s murders apparently started.
Calderon, McKenna and Psarras began working on the film last year, and have since interviewed many people.
“One of those people is Ted Bundy’s former LDS bishop, Michael Preece, who is now a cardiologist,” McKenna said.
The other is Dr. Al Carlisle,Ted Bundy’s appointed psychologist at the Utah State Prison and author of “Violent Mind: the 1976 Psychological Assessment of Ted Bundy.”
Bundy confessed to killing more than 30 young women and girls between 1974 and 1978, and investigators believe there were many more, Calderon said.
“We’re also finding out that there are still some uncovered information about bodies being found, even in the past five years, including in Utah,” she said. “What I want to do with this film is to hopefully provide closure to the families and communities who were impacted by the murders.”
Calderon, a graduate from Park City High School, said the timing of the film couldn’t be more important in light of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
“There is a push to focus on crimes against women,” she said. “I hope the development of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements would bring more awareness to our film.”
As with any crowdsourced funding, donors are entitled to perks.
“We really thought hard to come up with appropriate items for people who will make donations,” Calderon said. “We didn’t want to trivialize anything about the film.”
People who donate $50 will get a T-shirt that was designed by tattoo artist Joanna Pietrylowski.
“She helped design the T-shirt by keeping in mind some of the items that people identify Ted Bundy with — his VW Bug and the [Utah] mountains,” Calderon said.
Donors of $100 will get the T-shirt and a Blu-ray or DVD when it’s released.. People who donate $200 will get the T-shirt, Blu-ray/DVD and a ‘special thanks’ film credit, and those who donate $300 will get all of the above and a poster signed by Calderon.
Donors of $500 will get a signed copy of “Violent Mind: the 1976 Psychological Assessment of Ted Bundy.”
And the people who donate $1,000 will receive all the above and a Skype session with Carlisle.
“There are also opportunities for people to get associate producer and executive producer film titles for higher donations,” the filmmaker said.
Calderon feels the responsibility of being the first female filmmaker to make a film about Bundy.
“We do not want to glamorize Ted Bundy,” she said. “We want to let people know that there are still families who are healing from the Bundy’s crimes that took place 40 years ago. And our goal is to not take advantage of these families. We want to, instead, raise awareness of the topics and help get some closure for these families and interviewees.”
McKenna said the project has been an emotional roller coaster.
“We all started the project not necessarily knowing what the process would entail,” he said. “Ultimately filmmaking is something that we’re passionate about. And we feel this story needs to be told because it’s relevant today.”
McKenna also said he wants people to remember the victims.
“I always wonder why Ted Bundy has been elevated to this cultural icon in a way while the families of the victims have been forgotten,” he said. “Also if we can learn anything from these people who talk with us regarding any warning signs, I would feel like we’ve accomplished something.”
Calderon is honored families of Bundy’s victims trust her with their interviews.
“It is a humbling experience for us when someone opens up and relives a tragic event in their lives,” she said. “When that happens, we can’t help but break down with them. These people are so brave to be able to tackle this, and we want the audience to empathize and feel the same thing these people feel.“
To donate to the making of “Theodore: The Documentary,” visit http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/theodore-the-documentary#.
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