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 »