“I’m not the most popular filmmaker in the world,” confesses Hal Hartley on the Kickstarter page for his new project, Ned Rifle. “But I’m not difficult and obscure either.” Popularity, of course, is relative: Hartley has no box-office smash to his name, but his influence on the current indie scene is undeniable. In the ’90s, he knocked out a string of dialogue-driven gems, including Trust, Amateur, and Flirt. And though he’s slowed a bit in the years since, he remains one of the most distinctive voices in American independent film, an artist whose work is instantly recognizable in its deadpan tone and in the rhythm of its wordplay. (Fans and curious newcomers alike can get most of his ouput on Blu-ray, thanks to the fine folks at Olive Films.)
With Ned Rifle, Hartley hopes to conclude a trilogy that began with 1997’s Henry Fool and continued with 2006’s Fay Grim, reuniting the principal cast of those earlier favorites. Rewards for pitching in on the project include access to Hartley’s production diary, a book of the artist’s drawings, lunch with cast member Parker Posey, and even an honorary degree from The Simon Grim Endowment for the Advancement of Garbagemen. There’s only about 40 hours left in the campaign, so head on over and check out the page now.