CAT AND THE TROLLS : the beginning blog

by Michael Amundsen

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My ​independent feature film CAT AND THE TROLLS, now posted on Kickstarter, is a passion project. My grandparents homesteaded in southeastern Montana in 1909 and raised their children there. Those children faced challenges that make my filmmaking challenges look like a walk in the park. I have loved tales of old time farmers and pioneers and Montana since I was a kid. And CAT AND THE TROLLS is an opportunity to make something that I can totally throw myself into.

For the last 2 ½ years, I have tried to get this movie made through traditional investor funding. It is difficult to attract money for an independent movie that has no violence, sex or zombies, and yet is too gritty for parents looking for something like CHIHUAHUA: THE MOVIE.

So I have turned to Kickstarter.

Arnold Leipzig wrote in CULTURAL WEEKLY that 3,812 finished films were submitted to Sundance in 2011 and only 40 of them received distribution of any kind (and some of that distribution was minimal at best). That’s a scary statistic for the independent filmmaker.

However, I have beaten the odds. I have directed 3 feature films, and their success has placed me in rare company. Those films, all low budget, had distribution and made their money back. They can be found at Walmart, Redbox, Target, iTunes, Amazon, and even the Shell station down the mountain from me. To add to that, I have had documentaries on PBS, TAKE WILLY WITH YA, one of which is still in distribution


When I wrote CAT AND THE TROLLS, I kept in mind every trick I learned from all the low budget films I have made. And even though this film has a blizzard and SAG actors, I have kept the budget pretty low.

But I need a budget large enough to do the kind of quality work necessary to find a distributer. After all, if you are going to donate money to a film, don’t you want people to see it? This sum, $39,000, pays for the actual production (filming) of the movie. Then being a professional editor, I will do a fine cut with temporary music track. And that will attract the post-production funds needed to finish the film.

I have had amazing help from many wonderful caring and dedicated individuals because you can’t make a great movie by yourself. Future blogs will feature cast and crew.

I invite you to follow this blog, to share with me the adventure of bringing this very personal film to light. It will be fun and we will learn a lot about life, the challenges of immigrant children and filmmaking.