EXCLUSIVE: Five-year-old Miles Scott touched hearts all over the world last November when he donned a cape and cowl to “save” Gotham City – aka, San Francisco – as “Batkid.” Now award-winning filmmaker Dana Nachman (Witch Hunt) is taking his story to the screen in a feature-length crowdfunded documentary (watch the trailer exclusively on Deadline).
The Batkid phenomenon went viral after the Make-a-Wish Foundation staged its most elaborate wish to date: The charity, with the help of The City, President Obama, and thousands of supporters, turned the streets of San Francisco into Gotham City on Nov. 15, 2013. Scott, a leukemia patient now in remission, got to live every superhero-loving child’s fantasy as he played sidekick to the Caped Crusader in a series of staged missions as onlookers cheered him on. It all culminated with Scott receiving the key to the city from Mayor Ed Lee. The entire event sparked more than 400K tweets in 117 countries, among much else social-media attention, and received a Digital Visionary Award from the Producers Guild.
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Besting previous record holder Gosnell, which raised $2.24M for its telefilm about the Philly abortion physician who murdered babies born alive, Rooster Teeth‘s Indiegogo campaign for its live-action sci-fi movie Lazer Team now becomes the most funded film campaign in Indiegogo’s history and is now the second-largest most-funded to date. Lazer Team is a live-action, sci-fi comedy that takes place in the 1970s about a secret government project that has been training a warrior to take on new alien enemies.
The record for a crowdsourcing campaign continues to be Veronica Mars on Kickstarter, which pulled in $5.7M after hoping to raise $2M for the film. Read More »
Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix has added a new credit to his résumé: Associate Producer. He’s come aboard youth leadership project CAMP: The Documentary, which will track a diverse group of 20 teens from across the country who gather in Big Bear, CA, to participate in a transformative weeklong art and leadership project called Camp M.O.R.E. Phoenix, the Be More Heroic org, and The River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding are currently stumping for an Indiegogo campaign to raise a $40K budget with aims to begin filming with DP Bobby Bukowski (Arlington Road, Saved!) in mid-July. Here’s Phoenix’s video appeal in support of the project, which has seven days of crowdfunding to go:
Add Don Cheadle to the ranks of filmmakers turning to crowdfunding to empower passion projects. Cheadle has aligned with Indiegogo to raise $325,000 in funds by July 6 to enable him to make Miles Ahead, a movie about jazz legend Miles Davis. As he has intended to do for years, Cheadle will star, produce and make his directing debut, and he’s got Ewan McGregor ready to star with him. The story they’ll tell is about a few dangerous days in the life of Davis, as he emerged from a silent period to conspire with a Rolling Stone writer to steal back his music. The intention is to shoot this summer.
Now, the knee-jerk temptation will be to sound a sour note about a famous star of screen (Iron Man 3) and TV (House Of Lies) for going the crowdfunding route, as was done when Spike Lee and especially Zach Braff did it. I don’t expect much blowback here. It’s not a lot of money he’s chasing, and Cheadle says that he in fact has put a lot of his own money at stake on a project he’s been trying to get made for years (I first wrote about it back in 2007). He’s also got the jazz man’s estate behind him. And frankly, there should be a movie made about Miles Davis, one of the pioneers of an inherently American art form. It would be hard to find someone more passionate about that than Cheadle. Read More »
Gosnell, the crowdsourcing project for a TV movie about the abortion doctor convicted for murdering babies born alive, just reached its $2.1M goal on Indiegogo – four days early. It now becomes the highest crowdfunding campaign for a movie (a telefilm) ever done on the crowdsourcing site, and is the third-highest crowd funding movie project ever. Veronica Mars still holds the record with more than $5.7M collected, and Zach Braff’s is second with $3.1M for Wish I Was Here. Both of those were done on Kickstarter. Gosnell has 23,500 donors.
Related: ‘Gosnell’ Crosses $1M On Indiegogo
The Gosnell telefilm, which will be produced by Phelim McAleer, his wife Ann McElhinney and Magda Segieda through McAleer’s Hat Tip Productions, will now hire a director. “We will be bringing in an experienced team skilled in TV drama,” said McAleer. The telefilm is about Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia physician convicted of three counts of first-degree murder for horrifically and mercilessly killing babies of botched abortions who were born alive by driving a scissors into their necks and snipping their spinal cords. It is believed that the practice went on for years. The case rocked Philadelphia and the nation in 2010, and he is serving a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole. The story is often used by both sides of the abortion argument to push their individual agendas. Read More »
As celluloid gives way to the digital era, filmmakers Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master) and Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) are some of the names lending their support to a new crowdfunding campaign to save and restore 35mm film prints. The campaign was launched today by the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA), a non-profit org whose mission it is to undertake high-resolution 2K digital transfers to preserve film prints too fragile for active circulation. Older and rare prints are an increasingly endangered treat on the repertory/art house exhibition scene and unless restored or digitally archived, frequently deteriorate too far to be screened and can be lost forever. AGFA specializes in horror, sleaze, action, independent regional film, and international genre cinema and has over 3,200 film prints in its archive. Organizers are looking to raise $15K by May 30 to fund AGFA’s first digital restoration, of Craig Denney’s 1975 sci-fi pic The Astrologer, which real life psychic Denney self-financed and stars in as a fortune teller who discovers psychic abilities and rises to fame by advising the President of the United States. Refn and Anderson have recently joined the AGFA advisory board which also includes Alamo Drafthouse founders Tim and Karrie League. “By any means necessary, we need to watch movies on film, because that’s why God created cinema,” said Refn. “The American Genre Film Archive has begun a mission to preserve what I consider … Read More »
UPDATED: Saturday, 1:26 PM: Gosnell crossed the $1M threshold today on Indiegogo. The telefilm, which took to crowdfunding to raise funds, is about Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia physician convicted of three counts of first-degree murder for mercilessly killing babies of botched abortions who were born alive by driving a scissors into their necks and snipping their spinal cords. It is believed that the practice went on for years. The filmmakers have set a goal of $2.1M.
PREVIOUSLY, Thursday, 1:53 PM: Gosnell has just become the most funded movie ever on Indiegogo after bowing less than three weeks ago, surpassing efforts by the likes of James Franco and Shemar Moore. Both Kevin Sorbo, who last starred in God’s Not Dead, and Nick Sercy (Justified) filmed videos in support of Gosnell‘s crowdsourcing campaign. “After Kevin Sorbo and his wife Sam and Nick Sercy (Justified) who released a video two days ago on YouTube we noticed huge spikes after those videos were released,” said producer Phelim McAleer. “I think it really shows that people really respect Hollywood celebrities who reflect their views and tell their stories. They were really crucial to the success so far.” The producers still have a long way to reach their goal of $2.1M. To date, the producers of the anticipated TV movie, McAleer and his wife Ann McElhinney have raised $907,460 to date and the total continues to climb. The record for a crowdsourcing campaign continues to be Veronica Mars on Kickstarter, which pulled in $5.7M after hoping to raise $2M for the film. In comparison, Franco collected $327,929 for Palo Alto Stories on a goal of $500,000 falling short and Moore raised $638,983 on a goal of $500,000 for the romantic comedy The Bounce Back. Read More »
It seems everyone has an opinion on Sharknado — even if they never saw it. Maybe especially if they never saw it. Those who are obsessed or distressed over the hit Syfy telefilm now can vent their glee or anger by pitching in (or not) to pay for an extra scene in the upcoming sequel. The Asylum, which produced the 2013 original and is working on Sharknado 2: The Second One, has come up with a plan to use Indiegogo to raise $50,000 to create another scene for the new pic, which is due to air in July. Those who contribute to the campaign, which runs through May 30, will get some Sharknado 2 swag and an exclusive window on production, from behind-the-scenes footage to breaking news and advance DVD copies. Naturally, the more they plunk down, the better the booty: People who pony up for the “Platinum Rewards Level” get a paid trip to the premiere party, plus an associate producer credit. (Don’t forget to tell IMDb.) No details on what will happen in the new scene, if indeed it gets funded. Your guesses are welcome. Hey, maybe a sharknado will touch down in on a joint session of Congress! Or a Real Housewives convention! While we wait, here’s a reminder of how Round 1 of Humans vs. Sharknado went: Read More »
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.
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. 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.
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 »
While Hollywood figures out how to tap into the Hispanic and Latino demo that reps 18% of the moviegoing public but watches 25% of movies seen, one specialty fansite is jumping into content creation to cater to the growing niche audience. Latino-Review.com, an independently owned website covering Latino-themed film and entertainment, is spinning off start-up Mayimbe Media to produce, acquire, and distribute original microbudgeted films. Umberto Gonzalez, who goes by the scoopster handle “El Mayimbe” on Latino Review, will kickstart the new venture with his own directorial debut. “In recent years studios came to us directly to advertise their Latino-focused movies,” he told Deadline. A few studios, like Lionsgate and Paramount, have begun to focus efforts on Latino-themed properties — most notably Paramount in its Paranormal Activity franchise. But for the most part, Gonzalez says, “the content out there is lowbrow” and not well attuned to the genre-hungry American Latino audience. Mayimbe Media has launched an IndieGogo campaign to raise $109K to shoot its first feature, an action thriller titled Breakneck billed as “Bourne in the barrio” that Gonzalez wrote and aims to direct in NYC in August. To that end Mayimbe Media isn’t just tapping the Latino Review readership as potential consumers. It’s also capitalizing on filmmaker relationships cultivated over years of covering and promoting films. Read More »
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 »