Tyler St. Pierre, a graduate of ACMA and PSU, is using Kickstarter to fund a feature-length film.

COURTESY TYLER ST. PIERRE - A still from the proof-of-concept trailer for "5th Ave Film Society."

When it comes to young filmmakers, Tigard resident Tyler St. Pierre is already ahead of the curve.

About a year after his short film screened at Cannes Film Festival as part of the American Pavilion Student Program, St. Pierre is now raising funds for a feature-length film.

The film, "5th Ave Film Society," is a play on the classic coming-of-age novel or film, but with a distinctly Oregonian twist. The plot follows a group of close-knit young adults dealing with the grief of one of their friends.

Just as important as plot is the film's setting. St. Pierre, who wrote the film, and his director, Geoff Vrijmoet, plan to shoot around Oregon and use the film as a tribute to other Oregon-shot movies, including "Wild," "Stand by Me," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Green Room."

The script was inspired by "a variety of young adult novels, and watching films such as 'This is Where I Leave You' and 'Manchester by the Sea,'" said St. Pierre, who is a member of the Arts and Communication Magnet Academy's class of 2013 and a recent graduate of the Portland State University film program.

He and the director were watching "Manchester by the Sea" when St. Pierre thought, "well, why don't we do a story like that, but aimed at a different audience?"

He added: "That's much more for the 20-30 crowd, and we wanted to get the 18-25 crowd."

In addition to being influenced by "Manchester by the Sea," St. Pierre also drew inspiration from young adult novelists like John Green and Jay Asher, author of "13 Reasons Why," which recently was adapted into a Netflix original series.

"In particular it's 'Paper Towns' (by John Green) that really sticks out as an influence on most of my work," he said. "I like the characters. John's really cool because he writes these characters that normally you'd only see in more adult fiction. His characters have legitimate concerns, and he speaks to young people in a way that a lot of authors can't."

St. Pierre and Vrijmoet are in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to raise $18,000 to produce "5th Ave Film Society." Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website that has become a popular funding mechanism for independent filmmakers.

The pair must meet their goal by 12:15 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 20, or they will not receive any of the pledged funding. As of press time, the campaign had raised $8,233.

"It's what everyone else has been doing, and I figured if they can make it work, maybe we can make it work," St. Pierre said about using Kickstarter. "It is kind of risky, because it's an all-or-nothing deal."

The young filmmaker, who works at the New Seasons in Tualatin as his day job, said he hopes the film will be picked up by a distributor like Amazon, which would pursue a movie theater release and then stream the film on its website.

"I do think it's an important movie," he said, "that should be seen by people."

Blair Stenvick
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