For Christopher Boone, the Kickstarter campaign for “Cents” has never been about simple math, even though it’s always been the foundation for his first film.
“I’ve always wanted to find a way to incorporate math into a screenplay,” says Boone, who is currently raising funds on the crowdsourcing site for his debut feature before a February 8th deadline. “You don’t see it very often in movies, and it would give me a chance to revisit an early passion in my life in a creative way. Plus, I want to see more girls excel in math. Making a feature film with a young girl who is strong at math gives me a way to expose young audiences to this passion in a realistic way without being didactic.”
If “Cents” comes to pass, it will allow Boone to fulfill both of the passions he’s harbored since being a teen when he would spend his days getting to the bottom of trig identities and his evenings at the local arthouse. Since the latter ultimately won out when it came to a career path in college, Boone has steadily worked on screenplays while being a stay-at-home dad in Albuquerque, New Mexico, his focus narrowing to one about a 12-year-old girl whose talent for calculus makes her an outcast at school but proves valuable to all when she applies herself to a school fundraising drive.
After six years of refining what would become “Cents,” Boone found similar success when the script reached the semifinals of the prestigious Academy Nicholl Fellowship competition in 2012. Eager to continue the momentum, he decided on the spur of the moment to direct it himself, committing $30,000 of his own to a project that he hopes will not only be inspiring to young women everywhere but to the one in his own house.
“My daughter enjoys math. It’s one of her favorite subjects in school, too,” says Boone. “Yet, more than anything, I want her to know that I won’t give up on my passion for filmmaking, even though it is incredibly difficult to make a film, let alone a good film that engages audiences and inspires them. I need to make this film so she knows that she, too, can pursue her passions, no matter how long it takes her to succeed.”
Already, Boone has seen the project pay great dividends on Kickstarter, not even necessarily of the financial variety. The film’s first backer was a mother who contributed a dollar on behalf of her daughter who dreams of a future in astronomy but struggles with math, hoping that a film such as “Cents” will motivate her daughter to study harder. Fittingly, Boone has also received contributions from some of his old classmates, many of whom he’s reconnected with for the first time in years.
“The support from old friends has been amazing,” says Boone. “So many friends from high school and college have given us support, not only with dollars, but with words of encouragement. I met one of our backers in first grade, and several go back to middle school with me. All these years later, they are rooting for me and my crew to succeed. It’s really quite humbling.”
If all goes according to plan, Boone will be going back to school by himself for a four-week shoot this summer in Albuquerque where he may be getting behind the camera for his first feature, but he brings a wealth of experience that will no doubt serve him well.
“Over all those years, I have learned so much about screenwriting and filmmaking as well as my strengths and weaknesses as a human being,” says Boone. “After 24 years of pursuing this goal, it’s the right time for me to make ‘Cents.’”