Poughkeepsie Marine Seeks $23K for Short Film

After serving in Afghanistan and pursuing media and filmmaking at Emerson College, Tyler Mendelson has developed a Kickstarter page for his short film, “The Hun.” The Arlington High School graduate has always been interested in war history, and is now working to raise $23,000 to produce his World War I drama.

“I watched so many war movies,” he says. “As I got older, I realized just how much a lot of these films get wrong. The unrealistic plot line, the cheesy dialogue, the stereotypical stock characters, inaccurate uniforms, the list goes on.”

The film’s poster. Photo courtesy of Tyler Mendelson.

Mendelson has been developing the story for over two years and will serve as director of the project. He has partnered with Christopher Ireland, a freelance cinematographer and the film’s director of photography. The pair has enlisted a full cast and crew from Emerson College and around the Poughkeepsie area. If the fundraising goal is reached, Mendelson plans to film at the end of August in upstate New York over the course of three 12-hour days. He intends to release the project into the film festival world after production is complete.

“When 9/11 happened, I knew I wanted to go in the Marines,” he explains. “Now as I get through college, pursuing my other passion in life, filmmaking, I’ve looked for other ways to do my part.”

Writer and director of “The Hun,” pictured in Afghanistan in 2012 (right). Photo courtesy of Tyler Mendelson.

Mendelson turned his efforts to World War I, a major war that he believes many people do not know enough about. “The Hun” is set in the trenches and the late stages of the First World War. The production team acquired a piece of land and will be creating the realistic war scene, which includes supporting structures, planks, sandbags and an officer’s shack, on their own.

“Those who have fought in these wars, past and present deserve a story worth telling,” says Mendelson. “They deserve a valiant attempt to depict what their struggle was like. Not the same, piss-poor song and dance about false bravado that we repeatedly get. War is hell.”

The story follows a young American soldier named Private MacDonald, who is preparing to face German advances. Mendelson explains that the title of the film has a double meaning: “The Hun” refers to the nickname that Allied forces gave to the Germans during the war, and Attila the Hun, a soldier who fought the Romans in the same region the film takes place in.

“If you want to do it right, you’re going to need to be willing to pay,” he says of the film’s budget.

The budget breakdown.

Mendelson is determined to develop the most realistic product he can. The budget accounts for the handmade set, accurate uniforms, weapons, props, visual lighting, make-up and all filming equipment. He is offering incentives to those who donate, ranging from a handwritten thank you letter to an authentic uniform signed by the cast and crew.

He continues, “The more money that we raise, the better the product will be. A dollar less than this amount, and it won’t be made at all. If we do not meet our goal, we will not receive any of the funds.”

This is Tyler’s first effort to raise funds for “The Hun,” as he has covered budgets for past films out of pocket. The last day of collection is Thursday, April 20, and the team has raised almost $12,500 as of Monday, April 10.

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