Joshua Tate and his collaborators are about to have a big few months, or at least they hope. Next month, Tate, who graduated from UT in 2008 with degrees in psychology and in radio, television and film, will put out a nationwide casting call for “Love Land,” the film he hopes to direct.
In February, Tate hopes to begin scouting locations in Texas, where he hopes to film “Love Land.” And in only six days, the “Love Land” fundraising campaign Tate launched on Seed and Spark, an online crowd-funding platform which focuses specifically on fund-raising for cinematic projects, will end. At the time of writing, the project was listed on seedandspark.com as having funded 48 percent of its $50,000-$100,000 goal.
For Tate and his team, which includes co-writer Paul Gleason, producer Andrew C. Richey and producer Maritte Go, all of whom Tate met while completing his MFA at USC film school, the only mission bigger than getting the movie made is spreading the message that inspired it: that of disability rights.
This complex and often convoluted message finds expression in the struggles of Ivy, “Love Land”’s main character. As a teenager, Ivy received a traumatic brain injury that impaired her motor and cognitive skills. In the screenplay, she strives to make a life for herself in the “normal” world of her small Texas town, but runs into problems with romance and drugs that land her in Love Land Ranch, an institution for the disabled.
Ivy’s losses and victories in the story are plentiful, but they aren’t of the saccharine movie-of-the-month variety usually encountered by characters with special needs. Ivy, as envisioned by Tate and his team, is a complex and morally ambiguous character capable of being mean, kind and compromised. But Tate didn’t originally set out to make a movie with such a complex and nuanced message.
“I started out looking to make a movie that was really about how institutions were bad. It was a very simple look at things,” he said.
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