So the story goes, George Harrison funded Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” himself when the Pythons couldn’t raise the budget, simply because he was a fan and wanted to see it — an act of artistic philanthropy Eric Idle calls “the most expensive movie ticket ever.” (He did get a cameo for his efforts as well.)

Well, most of us don’t have Beatle money to lavish on our favorite artists. For the regular fan, you might make a token donation or (if you’re an impoverished movie writer), extoll his/her virtues in an article.

So let me introduce Derek Kimball.

Early on in writing this column, I reviewed Kimball’s short film “The Bully,” a sensitive character study about a young boy’s enigmatic encounter with his middle school nemesis. It reminded me of a Raymond Carver story — sad and beautiful, in a minor key. I loved it.

Last year, Kimball’s short film “Are You the Walkers?” premiered as part of the 2011 Maine short-film showcase “Damnationland,” and its precise, economic deployment of tension (as two estranged friends encounter mysterious events at a remote cabin) builds to a truly terrifying climax. I loved it.

So now Kimball, along with Matthew Konkel, his partner in Last House Productions (, is planning his first feature film, a Maine-set fantastical drama called “Neptune.”

And he’s looking for our help.

Following the growing trend of indie filmmakers “crowdsourcing” their budgets, Kimball and company have begun a fundraising campaign at the site ( in order to get “Neptune” up and running.

“If we can get startup funds, then this summer we’ll shoot a third of the picture, including some of the more compelling visuals,” explains Kimball. “Then we’ll have something impressive to show potential investors and use that as leverage to get the rest of the film.”

Kimball has set an initial budget of $20,250 for “Neptune,” and, as of this writing, he’s raised a promising $5,086 from 57 separate investors, a fact that has him hopeful and grateful.

“Times are hard, but we’ve had a lot of individual contributors.” says Kimball. “People have some expendable income and they like to support the arts; it’s the best you can say about the Internet — bringing people like that together.”

So what are people investing in, exactly?

” ‘Neptune’ is about a young orphan girl growing up on a small Maine island who dips into a manic, obsessive path of self-discovery when her only friend on the island drowns,” says Kimball. “She takes the boy’s place on his father’s lobster boat, and, among nature, starts to undergo a spiritual awakening.”

Kimball also promises a striking, fantastical visual element as the girl begins envisioning sights like a giant shark and a living mandala made of sea creatures.

“It’s about identity and how it relates to a sense of place,” he said, “which makes sense in Maine. A lot of Mainers feel that natural connection, the awe that goes with natural splendor.”

As part of the film’s preparations, Kimball is holding acting auditions on Saturday.

“It’s open casting,” says Kimball. “We have a few people auditioning for the lead already, but we’re looking for several supporting roles that are crucial to the story.”

Anyone interested in auditioning should contact

So get a move on, people.

I want to see “Neptune.”

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer.


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