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LOGLINE

During the summer before they must leave for college, lifelong friends IRIS and ROSIE are presented with a unique business opportunity: illegally harvesting and selling succulents from the California coast. But the two must decide where to draw the line when it comes to breaking the law, their morality, and their friendship.

Characters

WHY US? WHY NOW?

Inspired by true events, POACHERS is a breezy road trip that takes a dark turn. I first became interested in telling this story after reading about an international succulent smuggling ring involving a $600,000 haul and multiple felony charges. But instead of following some criminal masterminds or grizzled park rangers, I thought it’d be interesting to see the story from the people who seem the least likely to pull an operation like this off: a pair of teenage girls.

At its core, this is a story about friendship – that special kind of ride or die relationship that is so rare to find; someone you’d be willing to drop everything for and go to hell and back with. However, friendships, like plants, require care and maintenance. Sometimes when you put them through too much, they don’t always bounce back. When you venture that deep into a moral gray area with someone, just how far is too far? With the portrayal of this relationship, I’m really interested in exploring the importance of recognizing when things need to change, no matter how much you try to look away, as well as how greed can poison both these close personal relationships and the environment. 

This film also represents a really interesting opportunity to tell a story we don’t often see on screen: Asian women having agency in their own lives. From my own experience, living as a Taiwanese American woman has been especially fraught in recent memory with the wave of attacks against the AAPI community, and at a time when nuanced portrayals of both Asian Americans and young women in media are more important than ever, I see this as a perfect opportunity to reveal layers and depth within the experience of living in a world that doesn’t take you seriously.

Above all, I want the audience to understand one thing: although, like succulents, we may be easy to initially dismiss, we should definitely never be underestimated.

– Tiffany Lin, Director, Poachers

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Bringing a film to life is a team effort, and to do so we’re aiming to raise $45,000. As shown in the budget breakdown below, this money would go towards several things:

  • Cast and Crew Fees: Paying people for their time and talent is important to us. We’d like to pay our crew a fair and livable wage.
  • Locations: We will be shooting this film on location on the California coast.
  • Production Operations: This would encompass everything from insurance costs to COVID safety measures to keeping our wonderful crew fed.
  • Camera: We’ll be renting cameras, lenses, and other equipment to make sure the film will look its best.
  • Production Design: Props, wardrobe, makeup, and special effects will help bring the world of the film to life.
  • Post Production: After we finish the film, there’s a whole other world of post production to accomplish – editing, sound editing and mixing, color correction, and final mastering.

MEET THE TEAM

We’re a group of recent graduates of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Having worked with each other throughout the past 4 years, we’re excited and confident in our abilities to successfully execute this story.

TIFFANY LIN (Director, Editor): Tiffany is a Taiwanese-American filmmaker born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. A 2020 graduate of USC’s film and TV production program, Tiffany has worked extensively across both live action and animation, as well as virtual reality. A short film that she wrote was recently selected as a semifinalist for the 2020 Student Academy Awards; her other work has won awards in festivals both domestically and internationally. Through her films, Tiffany aims to present emotionally honest and unconventional perspectives on the experience of growing up.

SAMANTHA SADOFF (Producer): Samantha is a graduate of the University of Southern California majoring in Film and Television Production with a minor in Gender Studies. Entering the entertainment industry at the age of seven, Samantha started as an actress working in working in Film, TV, Print and Radio. After earning her SAG-AFTRA membership in 2007, she began exploring other realms within film production navigating towards a career as a producer and director. She hopes to participate in the creation of socially conscious narratives, making it a responsibility to champion diversity in the industry.

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ELIAS GINSBERG (DP, Writer): Elias Ginsberg is a Los Angeles based Director of Photography and an alumnus from the world-renowned USC School of Cinematic Arts Film and Television Production program.  Elias was the winner of the 2020 ASC Student Heritage Undergraduate Award – one of the most prestigious awards a young cinematographer can receive. Elias’s passion for cinematography comes from a background in Fine Art photography. He strives to capture humanistic stories and hopes audiences see his images as ones which grapple between disillusionment, reality and truth.