Phoenixville High School grads, filmmakers hope to make project a reality

An artist rendering of a still from the original home movie version of “Willie, Jamaley & the Cacacoon.”
An artist rendering of a still from the original home movie version of “Willie, Jamaley & the Cacacoon.” SUBMITTED PHOTO
An artist rendering of a still from the original home movie version of “Willie, Jamaley & the Cacacoon.”
An artist rendering of a still from the original home movie version of “Willie, Jamaley & the Cacacoon.” SUBMITTED PHOTO

Phoenixville High School grads Tyler Schnabel and Ryan Dellaquila hope to catch the attention of the Duplass Brothers (“The Skeleton Twins,” “Asperger’s Are Us,” HBO’s “Room 104” and “Togetherness”).

Their mission is to take a home movie that they shot in their youth, titled “Willie, Jamaley & the Cacacoon,” and turn it into a legitimate, big screen feature film. Their chance has come with a national “Hometown Heroes” contest being run by the Duplass Brothers, in partnership with Seed&Spark. It will allow filmmakers to produce a feature film in their hometown, with up to $25,000 in support and guidance from the Duplasses. One grand prize winner will also win a 16-terabyte G-Tech hard drive and a week-long Canon 4K Cine Rental Package from AbelCine. Filmmakers in select states are also eligible for additional local prizes.

“Willie, Jamaley & the Cacacoon” follows two “blue-collar bumpkins” who go on a quest to prove the existence of their hometown’s mythological bigfoot-like creature, the Cacacoon, in time for the world famous Creature-Con. However they discover that they aren’t the only ones tromping around the woods hunting for the Cacacoon.

“We always thought: ‘Man, this could be a great feature’,” said Schnabel, who’s lived in Los Angeles since 2011, and worked as a stand-in on MTV’s reboot of “Teen Wolf.”

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“I don’t know what we were thinking back then,” Dellaquila said of the quirky title. “Cacacoon came from my dad. He called me ‘cacacoon’ and ‘cacacooney.’”

Schnabel and Dellaquila must reach 80 percent of their $25,000 funding goal, and a minimum of 500 campaign followers, by Oct. 13 to get greenlit for production. Between the more than 3,000 subscribers to the stream of shorts on their Nano Pictures YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/nanopictures), the duo’s professional contacts in the movie industry, family and friends, they had reached 566 followers, and they were at 35 percent of the funding goal, as of Sept. 22. According to Schnabel, the 10 campaigns with the most followers by Oct. 13 will move on as finalists, and will have the chance to pitch their film to the Duplass Brothers.

“We want to expand on things we couldn’t do back then,” said Dellaquila.

To find the blue button to follow, go to www.thecacacoonfilm.com, where you’ll also find updates, a two-minute video, an outline of thank-you gifts for different contribution levels and a whole lot more.

“I feel very confident. With crowdfunding you’re bringing a more intimate level to your film,” said Schnabel, who took home the Best Thriller/Horror Feature Award from this year’s the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival for a film called “Frazier Park Recut” (www.frazierparkfilm.com).

They’re so confident, in fact, that they’ve done some location scouting for “Willie, Jamaley & the Cacacoon.” Phoenixville High School is on board, they said, and Valley Forge Park is on the wish list, as are local Phoenixville diners and mom-and-pop businesses. The plan also involves renting equipment from local businesses and hiring local talent for their crew.

During the week of Oct. 2-6, Schnabel and Dellaquila have pledged to donate 10 percent of the crowdfunding proceeds to the Phoenixville-based nonprofit Barnstone Art for Kids, which uses art to foster resiliency in children after traumatic abuse or neglect (www.barnstoneartforkids.org).

Social media channels to follow are www.facebook.com/thecacacoonfilm and www.twitter.com/thecacacoonfilm.