His new feature-length film is “Earthrise,” a sci-fi psychological thriller. He’s written it and will direct and produce it, but he needs the funds to pay the cast and crew – both of which will be all locals – and catering, to construct the set, pay for quality animation and models and more.
“The premise is that humans have left planet Earth because we ruined it, and now they’re rehabilitating it,” he said. “They have selected three individuals who come back to Earth for the first time.”
Payne is using the website IndieGoGo, where folks can donate to the project. There are various levels of suggested donations, each with its own incentive: For example, those who donate $25 will get a DVD of “Earthrise,” a signed poster is the prize for a $100 donation, those who donate $500 will earn an “Executive Producer” credit, and those who donate $2,500 can star in a separate short film directed by Payne.
He set his goal at $14,800, and so far has raised more than $2,300. But he has less than a month in which to raise the rest.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to make many films that have won awards,” Payne said. “We’re trying to get to a new level, and to do it requires a certain amount of money.”
Payne is currently auditioning actors for the project, and hopes to begin shooting in either Tupelo or West Point in February, with a release date sometime later in 2013.
His crew is entirely local and includes West Point filmmaker Michael Williams, who’ll be the director of photography, Brandon Murphree, Casey Spradling, Ashely W. and Josh Whites. Now all he needs are North Mississippi film fans to do their part: Donate money to make the project happen.
“We want people to be a part of the art,” Payne said. “Be part of something we hope will be special.”