If your life were a movie, what would it be about?

Former Mac student Arvind Hathaway to be subject of upcoming documentary “ARVIND” by local film maker, Evan Roberts

When former McCallum student Arvind Hathaway received his first backer on Kickstarter, he wasn’t surprised. But when that turned into a second, third, fourth and eventually two hundredth backer, Hathaway was blown away.

arvind round table

Arvind at a table reading for his play “Mommy.” The documentary crew followed Arvind during the entire production of “Mommy.” The show ran from Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at the UT Lab Theatre. Photo provided by Evan Roberts.

“I was shocked to see it have so much success,” Hathaway said. “I’ve noticed a lot of friends, coworkers, past teachers, and people’s moms sharing [our page]. It’s heartwarming to know so many people support me. I appreciate it all, and we do our best to thank people often.”

Hathaway, who is openly gay and recently had an original play produced at the UT Laboratory Theater, is the subject of local award-winning filmmaker Evan Roberts’s documentary, “ARVIND.”

The basis of the film revolves around the question “If your life were a movie, what would it be about?” The film follows Arvind as he lives his daily life but also as he writes and directs a fictionalized version of his own experiences in a play called “Mommy.”

“My initial concept idea was about making connections between someone’s life and the fictional work they created. I was curious what we would learn from someone through a story they told about themselves. It’s an interesting way to get inside someone’s mind,” Roberts said.

filming court

Rehearsal’s of “Mommy” were not complete without an “Arvind” camera crew. Photo by Erica Robert Pallo.

“I met Arvind after he auditioned for my film ‘Yeah, Kowalski!’ (which stars senior Annamarie Kasper). Arvind was in the film for a brief moment, but I remembered him when I was starting up my next project, so I asked him to come in for an interview that we taped. I asked him to introduce himself to me and tell me things about himself, to just go off on a stream of consciousness. He went on for three minutes. [He was] compelling, watchable [and] authentically himself.  He was just someone that you want to know more about.”

To fund the film’s post-production, the team decided to use the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. Kickstarter currently has a track record of helping to fund 12,788 film/video projects.

Originally the goal was to raise $10,000, but after meeting their stretch goal of $13,000 with 16 days left to fund it, the stretch goal was raised to $17,100.

“Reaching the goal way before the deadline was a godsend,” Hathaway said. “It let us raise more money, which in the end would make our film better. The additional money will help us send the film to various film festivals and let us do things we didn’t even dream of.”

Arvind said reaching the stretch goal was a huge relief.

“The stretch goals were necessary. It was such a relief when we hit 90 percent. The graph of progression on the Kickstarter was nearly going straight up,” Hathaway said. “Reaching this amount means we can get ready to push farther and continue this film further.”

directing

Hathaway directing during a rehearsal while also being filmed for the movie. “At times it was fun for the experience but it got stressful during the end when we needed to rehearse, and they needed to film. Stopping and going back became a routine, but in the end it was helpful,” he said. Photo by Evan Roberts.

Kickstarter requires all project proposals to be fully funded before the project receives any of the money. To make this happen, different incentives are offered by the project’s creators for each donation level.

“I wanted the incentives to feel organic to the project and have some kind of connection to this idea of telling your story and knowing who you are,” Roberts said. “But I also just asked my friends to donate their amazing talents to the campaign and they did.”

The film initially used word-of-mouth and Facebook as its main platform to spread the word but soon received attention from The Huffington Post and The Austin Chronicle.

“We didn’t have a system to promote,” Hathaway said. “It was mostly just to ask friends and family to share a link or tell a friend.”

If all goes according to plan, Roberts and Hathaway hope to have the film completed by mid-May, bringing an end to the two-year-long project.

“I have changed a lot,” Hathaway said. “Having a camera in your face is definitely not always fun, but I have realized that even moments from a year ago I’ve cherished because of watching them in the documentary.”

 

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