Spike Lee has exceeded his $1.25 million Kickstarter goal to crowdfund his next joint, about humans who are addicted to blood (“Funny, Sexy and Bloody. A new kind of love story – and not a remake of Blacula,” he wrote when the campaign launched). Lee’s Kickstarter has hit $1.29M with four days to go, marking the third-biggest film project to date on the fundraising website behind the Veronica Mars movie’s $5.7M and Zach Braff’s $3.1M. Lee’s success marks a subtle shift in the burgeoning era of celebrity Kickstarters, which routinely have earned scrutiny from critics who accuse them of stealing limelight from smaller campaigns — a backlash Wish I Was Here producer Stacey Sher called “excruciating.” But while Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas and Braff mostly appealed online to established fanbases to raise their budget dollars, Lee waged an unabashed PR campaign in traditional and broadcast media, including an appearance on CNN, to promote his fundraiser. “I’m bringing to Kickstarter who’ve never even heard of Kickstarter,” he said in an interview last month.
James Franco has launched a new crowdfunding project to finance three feature films about teenage life in his hometown of Palo Alto, CA, adapted from his own 2010 book of short stories, Palo Alto. The multihyphenate has tapped Nina Ljeti, Vladimir Bourdeau, Bruce Thierry Cheung, and Gabriel Demestree to direct and is seeking to raise $500K via Indiegogo to split evenly between the trio of projects. “Because of who I am, people often believe that it is easy to find investors and distributors for my films. Unfortunately, things aren’t that easy,” he writes on the campaign’s page. “More times than not, I have put in my own money to produce my films and my students’ films. However, this time it’s different; we need more funding. I will still fund part of it, but I need of your help; filming three feature films back-to-back requires more funding than I can give.”
The films are aiming to shoot by August before hitting the festival circuit in search of distribution. Donation rewards range from behind the scenes updates and a shooting script PDF ($10) to a personalized video from Franco ($300) to an EP credit and private dinner ($10,000). The Indiegogo campaign ends July 17. Check out Franco’s fundraising video:
FundAnything, backed by Donald Trump and founded by Bill Zanker, has been on the crowdsourcing scene for a month now but aims to set itself apart from IndieGoGo and Kickstarter with the power of celebrity. The neophyte crowdfunding site has tapped veteran producer Brad Wyman (Monster, Barb Wire) as its CCO – that’s Chief Crowdfunding Officer – and head of Film/Video/Web in charge of developing fundraising projects and building a worldwide sales team. Wyman most recently did a stint at rival crowdfunder IndieGoGo and will look to help nurture fundraising projects and invest FundAnything’s own seed money to help select projects meet their full or partial funding goals. FundAnything is open to projects that span film, television, webseries, and other types of projects including music, gaming, and nonprofit, but unlike other crowdsourcing competitors is actively looking for celebrity-fronted campaigns. “We’re looking to celebritize crowdfunding,” Zanker tells me of FundAnything’s emphasis on campaigns by celebrities, a la Zach Braff‘s recent $3M Kickstarter success. “Anybody that has a fan base is a celebrity – Youtube celebrities, business celebrities.”
UPDATE TUESDAY 5:50 PM: In just one day, Karen Black has more than doubled the $17,000 she was trying to raise via crowdfunding for cancer treatment in Europe. The Five Easy Pieces actress has currently garnered $43,521 from 833 donors after raising her goal to $32,000 earlier …