The production team behind Dennis Hopper’s unreleased final film, The Last Film Festival, have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $90,000 finish the picture. Hopper is known for his dramatic roles but plays a comedic character in The Last Film Festival. The money raised on Kickstarter will allow director/co-writer Linda Yellen to complete the picture by paying for the rights to use footage from other motion pictures, edit the movie and add special effects to complete the film’s narrative by completing three scenes. The comedy also stars Jacqueline Bisset, Joseph Cross, JoBeth Williams, Katrina Bowden, Chris Kattan (who stars as Harvey Weinstein), Leelee Sobieski, and Donnell Rawlings.
Hopper died in May of 2010 at the age of only 74 after suffering complications from prostate cancer so the film was never completed. His famous friends such as Easy Rider co-star Jack Nicholson, and Sean Penn and Viggo Mortgensen rallied around him when he was sick. How cool would it be if his famous friends rallied again to complete his final film? Full circle, if you will.
“He got the bad news and died within three months and it was all a shock for us,” said Yellen. “We put things on hold because it wasn’t appropriate. Dennis liked the film so much so we wanted it to stay true to his vision. He had two definite scene and one wish scene we intended to do but then came his illness and then untimely death I just couldn’t see a way around it to tell the story with those scenes missing. There’s a wonderful thing that happens with time — perspective — and it was so hard for us to look at after he had died. What forced me back into the editing room was the constant chatter on the Internet and emails wondering about the film, and we now feel we could do it without the pain that we once felt. That’s the beauty of being an independent filmmaker you can put it on hold.”
Of course, Hopper was an indie favorite and as a filmmaker helped defined independent film with Easy Rider in 1969. “What is American known for? We are the birthplace of film. And in independent film we had the John Cassavettes and Dennis Hoppers. And Dennis turned it into something that could be successful and still make a statement and be bold and shake up the media and he did that his whole life. Even something as daring as doing this. And he’s not known for comedy but he is so full of vitality and it really works. The character in the film is not that far from him.”
The Last Film Festival is about a big-shot Hollywood producer, Nick Twain (Hopper) whose recent flop of a film is accepted in just one film festival – the badly organized, disastrously executed O’Hi Film Festival. When Twain and his dysfunctional team of cast and crew descend upon the town of O’Hi, Hollywood egos and small town ambitions run amuck.
“We are reaching out to film fans over Kickstarter as other investment offers have come with a number of unwelcome demands, including cutting certain scenes, altering the film’s score, and even changing Dennis Hopper’s voice,” said Yellen. “But we want everyone to see the same film that Dennis envisioned.”