EXCLUSIVE: The rush to build new filmmaking ecosystems based on crowdsourcing is still in full effect, as industry-watchers have seen with the high-profile success of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, its peer site Indiegogo, and online financing communities like Slated. …
Focus Features will release Wish I Was Here on July 18, 2014 in a platform release in NY and LA before the pic expands the following week and again on August 1. The news was announced via the film’s page …
UPDATED, 3:05 PM: Forbes wasn’t alone in the sights of hackers this past week. Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter today confirmed that a hacking attack occurred on their system on Wednesday exposing the data of Kickstarter users, although “No credit …
EXCLUSIVE: Matthew Modine is the latest celeb filmmaker to seek funding via crowdsourcing with his just-launched campaign for The Rocking Horsemen, a 1960s-set music pic about five high schoolers who hear the emerging sound of rock ‘n’ roll and decide to form a band. But he’s not following the likes of Zach Braff and Spike Lee down the Kickstarter yellow brick road. Modine, who wrote and will direct the film, is using Slated, an online platform/marketplace launched last year, to raise just his under-$5M budget. (Check out his Slated project here.) Unlike backers on Kickstarter or Indiegogo who typically receive small rewards of sentimental value in return for donations, Modine’s Slated investors will get the opportunity to participate in a meaningful financial way as equity investors, owning an actual piece of the project they’re investing in.
In the brave new world of film financing wrought by big-name campaigners like Braff, Lee, and the Veronica Mars gang, donation-based Kickstarter and similar crowdfunding ventures aren’t win-win for everyone. Fans throwing cash down in exchange for “perks” don’t benefit monetarily from becoming Kickstarter donors. Even Indiegogo, which unlike Kickstarter allows filmmakers to take home funds even if they don’t reach their posted fundraising goals, isn’t the most viable option for mid- or higher-budgeted projects, particularly those lacking in name stars or sizable fan support. Equity film crowdfunding, on the other hand, was made viable by the 2012 JOBS Act which allows for the solicitation of accredited investors by entrepreneurs and start-ups. Since the SEC is still finalizing regulations on exactly how that’s to be implemented, platforms like Slated — and others in the works — can’t yet broker monetary transactions themselves. But they can match-make filmmakers with financiers, who can then privately seal the deal.
Slated, then, is less a Kickstarter peer and more akin to an OKCupid for film financing: a gated online marketplace intended to connect like-minded filmmakers, investors, sales reps, and other industry figures with the ultimate goal of financing indie projects of a certain size.
Sundance: As ‘Dogfight’ Producer Richard Guay Floats New Crowd-Funding Model, It’s Time To Stop Using Kickstarter And ‘Wish I Was Here’ As A Punching Bag
Just days after the domestic rights to the Zach Braff-directed and Kickstarter-funded Wish I Was Here sold for $2.75 million to Focus Features at the Sundance Film Festival, there’s a new crowd-funding plan making the rounds here in Park City. While his Passion First Funding isn’t up and running yet, Dogfight producer Richard Guay, who has been part of the New York indie scene for years, thinks he’s found a way that people can actually see some financial return for contributing to future projects like Braff’s movie. “It’s going to bring traditional financing and the power of the crowd together,” he told me today. The idea comes out of aspects of the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act that permit general solicitation of accredited investors. The act was intended for startups in general, of which film is but a niche, but in this case people putting money in to a project seeking crowd-funding won’t just be getting a signed poster or set visit but they could actually make their money back as well as profits.
PREVIOUS: Focus Features is getting on the board here at Sundance, just closing a distribution rights deal to Wish I Was Here, the film which Zach Braff wrote and directed, and stars as a father struggling to home school his kids. Braff stars with Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Jim Parsons, Ashley Greene, Pierce Gagnon and Joey King. The deal is $2.75 million for a theatrical release over 500 screens, and generous P&A to support it. There is also a strong back end.
Interest in this one kick-started right after the film debuted Saturday night at the MARC. It came in as one of the high profile pics at Sundance, by merit of the Kickstarter crowd funding campaign undertaken by Braff and his producers, Stacey Sher, Michael Shamberg and Adam J. Braff. The film was repped by CAA with Wild Bunch. Kickstarter and Worldview financed the film.
It’s the first major acquisition since Peter Schlessel took over the shingle.
Zach Braff understands critics of his multimillion-dollar Kickstarter campaign for Wish I Was Here, which premieres today at the Sundance Film Festival, but says they’re missing the big picture. “I have money, I’ve made money in my life and I put a great deal of money into this film as it were, but I certainly couldn’t write a check for $5 million to make the film and that’s why I looked to Kickstarter as a way of doing it,” the director and former Scrubs star says. “I understand why people got all upset about it but, when you look at all the data, we drove an insane amount of traffic to the site,” he adds. Weathering a hailstorm of “Why does a rich guy with a sitcom in syndication and lots of famous friends need to hit up the Internet for cash?” critiques, Braff took to the crowdfunding site last spring to raise $2 million for his second directorial feature; in 30 days his comedy-drama about a struggling thirtysomething actor looking for meaning in his life after the death of his father raised $3.1 million towards the $5 million-budgeted pic.
That had a digital spillover effect for less high-profile projects, Braff says. “The analytics show what drove [backers] there, be it my Facebook, my Twitter or an article on Deadline, but then you see what they did. They didn’t just go on my site. They spent a fair amount of time pursuing the site for other movies they might want to fund.”
While some diehard fans follow the career moves of Twilight Saga cast members with fervor, I find myself more interested with the post-franchise careers of the cast of my favorite movie trilogy, The Lord Of The Rings. Especially the Hobbits. I’ve written often about how Elijah Wood, beyond starring in the FX series Wilfred, has gotten into producing and has turned his Frodo image on its ear with roles like the slasher he plays in Maniac. Dominic Monaghan found his calling on the TV show Wild Things, crawling into godawful places to grab onto dangerous-looking oversized insects and animals. Now, Sean Astin, of Samwise Gamgee fame, has taken to Kickstarter for his passion project. That is hosting Vox Populi, a political interview show on the web. Astin, who still makes his living acting and is currently part of the cast of Guillermo del Toro’s FX pilot The Strain, is looking for $30,000 from Kickstarter to take his web show to the next level. That means hiring a couple of people so he doesn’t have to do everything himself.
Ain’t It Cool News blogger Harry Knowles already has a polarizing rep for getting chummy with the makers of the movies he covers. Now Peter Jackson is the latest high profile filmmaker to throw his support behind a crowdfunding campaign to raise $100K for Knowles’ fanboy talk show. In a video posted today, the Hobbit helmer urges backers to contribute to Knowles’ Kickstarter which is just about $18K shy with a day left to reach its goal. I hear Jackson has not made an official monetary donation to the campaign but other directors including Rian Johnson, Eli Roth, and Guillermo del Toro have backed the project, with del Toro notably donating $5K to the cause.
Investor Leaves Them $250,000 Short; John Herzfeld And Sly Stallone Hope Kickstarter Can Raise Finishing Funds For ‘Reach Me’
EXCLUSIVE: All summer we’ve debated the merits of Kickstarter as Zach Braff, Spike Lee and the makers of Veronica Mars successfully used the mechanism as a way to fill in funding gaps for movies they wanted to make. Well, here’s a new wrinkle: John Herzfeld, who wrote and directed 2 Days In The Valley, 15 Minutes and The Death And Life Of Bobby Z, was already shooting the ensemble film Reach Me when one of his backers fell out to the tune of $250,000. Rather than squash the movie, he, his star Sylvester Stallone and producer Cassian Elwes have made a pitch for the funds through Kickstarter.
With a cast that includes Stallone, Lauren Cohan, Kelsey Grammer, Kyra Sedgwick, Nelly, Entourage‘s Kevin Connolly, True Blood‘s Ryan Kwanten, Thomas Jane, Tom Sizemore, Elizabeth Henstridge, Terry Crews and Danny Trejo, you wouldn’t imagine they would have any trouble finding the coin for a film about a group of very different people connected by a self-help book written by a reclusive football coach. Herzfeld says he put everything he had into the film and that he and his producers Elwes and Rebekah Chaney went through hell to get this far. Stallone himself does most of the talking in the Kickstarter pitch along with Herzfeld.
Like the celeb crowdfunders who came before him, Spike Lee attracted some criticism when he launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $1.25M for his next joint. Lee hits back at the haters in a new interview: “I’m bringing to Kickstarter who’ve never even heard …
UPDATE: Spike Lee‘s gotten some Kickstarter love from fellow filmmaker Steven Soderbergh, whom Lee revealed backed his project to the tune of $10K – AKA the “courtside Knicks seats” level of donation. “I can confirm that Steven indeed supports his fellow filmmakers, especially when that support leads to courtside seats for the Knicks,” Soderbergh’s manager Michael Sugar tells me. Lee’s still got 28 days left to raise his goal of $1.25M.
PREVIOUS, 7:01 AM: Spike Lee has joined the likes of Zach Braff and Veronica Mars in going the Kickstarter route to get funding for a film that might not otherwise exist. Lee just started the clock on a 30 day attempt to raise $1.25 million for an untitled movie about human beings who are addicted to blood that he calls “funny, sexy, and bloody (and it’s not Blacula).” While most Kickstarter solicitations promise crowd funders little more than a seat at the premiere and some tchochkes of negligible value, give Spike credit for digging deep for his biggest benefactors. For bidders who put up $10,000, Lee promises to take each of them to dinner, and that person will then sit beside Lee in his wife Tonya’s courtside seat at a New York Knicks game. That has become a storied, and sometimes infamous spot at the world’s most famous arena, as Spike is to the Knicks what Jack Nicholson is to the Lakers.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s conference coverage.
The Kickstarter model of financing movies was front and center this morning at a Produced By conference panel entitled “The State of Producing — Finding Funding, Lining Up Talent & Securing Screens,” which replaced the scheduled session with Tom Cruise (postponed to next weekend). Before the seats were even warm, producer Stacey Sher (Django Unchained, Erin Brockovich, Pulp Fiction) was quizzed about her groundbreaking Kickstarter effort in April on behalf of Zach Braff that found his project Wish I Was Here meeting its $2 million fundraising goal in a mere four days en route to a 30-day total of $3.1 million from a grand total of 46,520 pledgers). “We were absolutely shocked,” Sher admitted. “We became these people who lived for 30 days under both a microscope and a spotlight. And it was excruciating.” Why “excruciating”? Sher explained that by virtue of being Exhibit A in the new media funding model, the haters were inspired to come out of the woodwork wondering why they deserved this kind of support. But she stressed that the experience has been overwhelmingly encouraging and positive. “The people who backed the film are going through every step of its production with us, with more access to how it’s being put together than some of our interns,” she said. Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin and Josh Gad will join Braff in the film about a thirtysomething actor who is trying to figure out who he is.
Kate Hudson has been cast as Zach Braff‘s wife in Wish I Was Here, the indie film Braff will direct that landed funding via Kickstarter in a campaign that surpassed its $2M fundraising goal in three days. Braff wrote the script with his brother Adam. It centers on Aidan Bloom (Zach Braff), a struggling actor, father and husband who at 35 is still trying to find his identity and a purpose for his life. He and his wife (Hudson) are barely getting by financially and Aidan passes his time by fantasizing about being the great futuristic Space-Knight he’d always dreamed he’d be as a little kid. Mandy Patinkin and Josh Gad have already joined the cast. Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg are producing the pic through their Double Feature Films.