Kelly Tabor, a fourth-grade teacher, and Hollywood producer/director Richard Rossi launched an Indiegogo campaign for their book and film series for at-risk children.
Rossi is a minister-turned-moviemaker who journeyed from scripture to script.
“A gift to bring joy and smiles to the children of the world.”
New York native Kelly Tabor, a fourth-grade school teacher, and Hollywood producer/director Richard Rossi launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funding for their feature film and book series “Lucy and the Lake Monster.” The story is designed to help at-risk children deal with difficult feelings like anxiety and depression, and overcome trauma and bullying.
“The film and book series tell the story of a 9-year-old orphan girl, Lucy, and her grandpa, who she calls ‘Papa.’ They search for a sea serpent named ‘Champ’ in Lake Champlain,” Rossi said. “They battle bullies, naysayers, and mercenary forces seeking to exploit them. Their search is an allegory for our spiritual search, and the power of childlike faith.”
Rossi’s prior feature films as a writer-director include last year’s “Canaan Land” and biopics about baseball icon Roberto Clemente and fabled female evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. Rossi is a minister-turned-moviemaker. He recently went through four surgeries. The life-or-death health crisis motivated him to fulfill his bucket list wish, to attempt to create a classic book and film for children.
“I had the privilege of playing one of the lead roles in a musical in Los Angeles, the part of Rev. Charles Dodgson. He was a minister-turned author who wrote the Alice In Wonderland books, under the pen name of Lewis Carroll,” Rossi said. “That experience was the seed of my desire to do something special, to give a gift to bring joy and smiles to the children of the world.”
The lead role of Lucy has not been cast yet. “We’ve received submissions from child actresses throughout the U.S., and are reviewing the submissions,” Tabor said.
Rossi is playing the lead role of “Papa” in the film, inspired in part by Tabor’s childhood, and her father, Jerry, who Rossi also considers a “spiritual father.”
“For me, growing up in Crown Point was magical,” Tabor said. “Hearing stories of our legendary Champ, captivated my interest as I swam and explored the shorelines and waters of Lake Champlain. As a teacher, I later took those stories and experiences I had with me into the classroom and shared them with hundreds of students over the years, piquing their interest.”
Tabor was awarded Teacher of the Year by the State of North Carolina, and other teaching awards including the Golden Apple and from Papa John’s.
“The stories stem from curiosity, imagination, and my memories on the lake and surrounding areas,” Tabor said. “The first book in the series is written and is being edited. It’s time our ‘Champ’ gets some well deserved extra respectable attention.”
Tabor says she and Rossi have been friends for nearly forty years. She runs a fan club for his creative work. She was impacted by a spiritual revival Rossi led over three decades prior.
“I didn’t expect Kelly and many others to be drawn and impacted like that. I think it was because I taught a concept of God as friendly and loving, in contrast to the mean monster of fundamentalism,” Rossi said. “Champ, the sea serpent, is an allegory for God. The pure in heart, like Lucy, see Champ as good. Others teach Champ is a monster for mercenary purposes, the way manipulative ministers scare people today.”
The film plans to shoot in the Port Henry area this summer.
To learn more about how you can support the project, click this Indiegogo link: indiegogo.com/projects/lucy-the-lake-monster-a-children-s-book-film#
Richard Rossi composed and performed a song for the film “You, Champ, and Me,” and recorded it at his brother Joe Rossi’s recording studio. “Joe produced the record. He was also the vocal coach to the Bulwagga Bay Belles, the female backing group on the recording,” Richard Rossi said.
Official Facebook: facebook.com/champmovie
Official Twitter: twitter.com/ChampMovieHQ
Official Instagram: instagram.com/champmoviehq
Writer-Director Richard Rossi
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