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Crowdfunding Start-Up Aims To Match Big Ticket Investors With Hollywood Financiers

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 6:01pm PDT

Junction logo copyIt’s too early to tell if movie crowdfunding just got a platinum card membership level or if serious investors now have a new way to potentially reap the rewards of a hit pic but Junction Investments is looking to evolve at least one of those business models. With Midas touch producer Jason Blum and casino king Steve Wynn on board as advisors and the Tom Hanks-starrer A Hologram For The King as its first offering, the San Francisco-based members only investment start-up launched today. The basic idea is that big-ticket investors will get “the chance to invest in fully-financed movies, film projects that will get made regardless of whether Junction participates,” according to Junction. In the case of Hologram, financier Silver Reel Entertainment are offering a piece of their deal in the big screen adaptation of the Dave Eggers novel via Junction’s online platform to outsider investors.

Unlike Kickstarter or Indiegogo, the upmarket oriented Junction isn’t about  getting the pics off the ground at all. Instead it aims to allow original investors to offer Junction investors a portion of what they put into a particular film. The real selling point here is the access and that the new Hollywood newbie investors get the same terms as the original investors. Which means, unlike more wide spread reward or credit granting crowdfunded movies like the Zach Braff-directed Wish I Was Here or the recently released Veronica Mars, backers who get onboard a film via … Read More »

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SXSW: Tentsquare Launches First Crowdsourcing-Based Production Studio

By | Monday March 3, 2014 @ 5:47pm PST

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.tentsquare Debuting in time for SXSW is another new digital film hub using crowdsourcing as its hook. Tentsquare, created by Modernciné and Modern Distributors CEO and filmmaker Andrew van den Houten, is a new web platform that integrates a social networking element in the making of short and feature-length film projects in what van den Houten describes as a digital production studio. He’s recruited fellow indie filmmakers including the McManus Brothers (2012 SXSW Official Selection Film, Funeral Kings) and Jeffrey Reddick (the Final Destination franchise) to the budding platform, in which members can track and interact with each other via the Tentsquare network and, in theory, contribute input into story, character development, and casting of Tentsquare projects. SXSW 2014 moviesUsers also can submit themselves as directors, screenwriters, actors, and cinematographers, with fellow members and a panel of expert judges voting on who gets selected to work on the company’s films. “The goal is to democratize the filmmaking process,” said van den Houten. “No creative executive at any studio has ever been willing to give control over to the audience.” The platform officially launches this week at SXSW, where Tentsquare will have a … Read More »

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Matthew Modine Launches ‘Rocking Horsemen’ Crowdfunding Campaign – But Not On Kickstarter

By | Tuesday January 28, 2014 @ 4:25pm PST

Matthew Modine Rocking HorsemenEXCLUSIVE: 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.

Related: Zach Braff On ‘Wish I Was Here’ Kickstarter Campaign & Backlash

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. Kickstarter_LogoFans 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.

Related: Sundance: ‘Dogfight’ Producer Richard Guay Floats New Crowd-Funding Model

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. Read More »

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Spike Lee’s Kickstarter Passes $1.25M Goal

By | Friday August 16, 2013 @ 1:30pm PDT

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.

Related: Spike Lee Offers Courtside Knicks Tix To Crowdfund New Film

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James Franco Seeks Crowdfunding For ‘Palo Alto’ Films

By | Monday June 17, 2013 @ 7:00pm PDT

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: Read More »

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Donald Trump’s FundAnything Hires Producer Brad Wyman, Aims To “Celebritize” Crowdfunding

By | Tuesday June 4, 2013 @ 5:22pm PDT

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.” Read More »

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Financing Vet Launches Crowdfunding Consulting Firm

By | Tuesday April 2, 2013 @ 6:39pm PDT

Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo got a significant visibility bump from the Veronica Mars campaign, which has collected a record-setting $4.4M and counting. Now one financing company is looking to cash in on the fundraising mania. BlueRun Media today announced the launch of BlueRun Crowdfund, created to help filmmakers manage crowdfunding campaigns and handle the fulfillment of reward prizes for backers. “Film crowdfunding has already matured significantly, from just a year ago when we were only seeing $40,000 deals for full budgets”, said BlueRun’s David Marlett in a statement. Marlett is also a filmmaker and attorney/CPA and the founder and Executive Director of the National Crowdfunding Association. He predicts a big 2013 for film crowdfunding. “This year we will see the rise of combo deals — combinations of reward-based crowdfunding with matching dollars from equity financiers, and then eventually equity crowdfunding when it goes live next year”.

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Karen Black’s Cancer Fight On Crowdfunding

By | Tuesday March 26, 2013 @ 5:50pm PDT

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 today.

PREVIOUSLY, MONDAY PM: Karen Black has turned to online crowdfunding to help with her two and a half year battle with cancer. The Five Easy Pieces and Easy Rider actress started a page on to raise $17,000 for a two-month treatment in Europe. Since Black started her campaign on March 14 the actress has raised $12,611 from 183 donors as of today. “In the last two years we have used up all of our savings keeping Karen alive – traveling – treatments, getting people to help her. We have nothing left. And the European treatment is not covered by insurance,” writes her husband Stephen Eckelberry on the fundraising page. Black was first diagnosed with ampullary cancer back in November of 2010. She had an operation taking out 1/3 of her pancreas as well as extensive chemotherapy and radiation therapy and was declared cancer free. Unfortunately, the disease returned last June to her lower back and infected her lungs. According to Eckelberry, Black can “hardly move around and is mostly bed-bound”.

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