A film about a young Holocaust survivor
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Welcome to the Greenhorn Film Project
By Tom Whitus, Film Director

Greenhorn, based on a true story, is a powerful book by Anna Olswanger that gives human dimension to the Holocaust. Karen Cushman, Newbery Medalist, calls Greenhorn "a tender, touching celebration of friendship, family, and faith." David Adler, winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book for Nonfiction, calls Greenhorn "a heartwarming and heartrending story of friendship and tragedy."

Now we are planning a film adaptation of the book and hope that visitors to this page will consider becoming backers of the film.

About the director and producer

Tom Whitus has been a film director since 1997, when he made the short film Parts in New York City. The film was picked up for worldwide distribution by NYC-based distributor The Cinema Guild. Since then, Tom has directed the feature films More Than Puppy Love (2000), Threat of Exposure (2002), The Only Witness (2003, showed on Lifetime Network in 2004), Matchmaker Mary (2008), Jr. Detective Agency (2010, showed on Showtime, 2011-12); Sam Steele and the Crystal Chalice (2012) and An Old Man’s Gold (2013). The last two features are in worldwide distribution this year. Also, in 2006, Tom directed Give & Take, an award winning short film.

About the co-producer

Ree Howell has been affiliated with the Los Angeles film company Believe Entertainment for seventeen years. The company's most recent productions include The Insatiables, What If…, Finding Normal, and the soon-to-be released God Is Not Dead. Over a dozen of Ree's own screenplays have been optioned. She is the founder of her own theater company, Cape Theater Group, in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and as an award winning playwright, has been named to Who's Who in the East for playwriting.

About the author of the book

Anna Olswanger is a literary agent with Liza Dawson Associates in New York. She grew up in Memphis where she first heard the story of Greenhorn from Rabbi Rafael Grossman. Anna's first book Shlemiel Crooks is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book and PJ Library Book. In 2011, a family musical based on Shlemiel Crooks premiered at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. Anna is also co-producing the film.

Why the film?

The job of film is to tell a story and make an impact felt for many years to come. I believe that Greenhorn as a film will reach a new and broad audience. Ree Howell, co-producer, agrees with me: "If one heart is impacted or one life is changed, Greenhorn has done its job." We all have the goal of submitting the film for an Academy Award nomination. It would fall into the Short Films Awards category.

About the budget

I would like to shoot the entire film in New York City. To get Greenhorn written, shot and edited, with music and sound completed, we’re aiming for $15,000 as the budget. With all the materials required for an Academy Award opportunity (very important to me), we’ll spend another $3,000 on "deliverables," which refers to post production technical specifications. The film will need to be delivered for Digital Cinema Projection with a high definition picture and 5.1 audio. That makes the total budget $18,000.

Our plan is to show the film in an Los Angeles theater prior to October 1, 2014, as part of the Academy Award consideration process. We may need a little more for festival costs, theater costs in Los Angeles, and any post production costs the $3,000 doesn’t cover, but right now, we are announcing the start of production at $15,000 and we will keep searching for funders until we secure the additional $3,000.

How we will promote the film

We will aim for as many Jewish Film Festivals as possible. There is one in New York in January, one in Louisville (where I live) in February, and many others. If we shoot this by the spring, we should be ready to enter any festivals available to us in the summer of 2014, but I'm really aiming for a September screening in Los Angeles. Artwork will be an expense and a key to the promotion of the film, but based on the art in the book it seems as if we have some great contacts in that area. The festivals won’t be free to enter, but a good festival run can provide great publicity for the film that doesn’t cost much more than artwork and entry fees. I’ll try to get us into 4-5 good festivals in late 2014, early 2015.

Our goal

We are hoping that a number of you will want to become backers of Greenhorn, our film about a young Holocaust survivor who wouldn’t let a small tin box out of his sight and the stutterer who stands up for him, even in the face of bullying and insults. It will be a film about the healing value of friendship, and a film about hope. Contributors of $100 or more will receive credits (their name at the closing credits of the film), a DVD of the film, and two VIP tickets (reserved seating in front) to the New York premiere.

Contribution levels and rewards

$5,000—Executive Producer—opening credit, single card (and if desired: screenwriting coaching session with director Tom Whitus or writing coaching session with literary agent Anna Olswanger)
$2,500—Co-Executive Producer—single card before closing credits roll (and if desired: screenwriting coaching session with director Tom Whitus or writing coaching session with literary agent Anna Olswanger)
$1,000—Associate Producer—single card before closing credits roll
$500—Top of "Special Thanks" in closing credits roll
$100—End of "Special Thanks" in closing credits roll
$75—DVD and two tickets to the premiere
$50—DVD and one ticket to the premiere

Our account, Silver Hills Pictures LLC, will hold funds for the campaign. Contributors can make their checks out to Silver Hills Pictures LCC with Greenhorn Film Project in the memo line and mail to:

Anna Olswanger
Attn: Silver Hills Pictures LLC
16-60 Chandler Drive
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410-2715


Tom Whitus
Attn: Silver Hills Pictures LLC
311 Highland Avenue
New Albany, Indiana 47150

Backers of the Greenhorn Film Project can also make a secure contribution through Paypal by choosing an amount from the drop-down menu and clicking on the Contribute Now button:
Funding is taking place now through this page and through our Indiegogo Greenhorn Film Project page. We appreciate the donations of the past six months and know that the holiday season was a busy time for everyone. Because of that, we have extended the donation period through pre-production. Shooting will take place in May.

Thanks to all of you for helping to make the Greenhorn Film Project possible.

For more information about the film, contact Anna Olswanger or Tom Whitus.

For more information about the book Greenhorn, contact NewSouth Books.

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