Sports Comedy ‘Blue Mountain State’ Seeking Movie Resurrection Via Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign

By | Tuesday April 15, 2014 @ 6:14pm PDT

Blue Mountain State movie KickstarterSpike comedy series Blue Mountain State was cancelled in 2012 after three seasons, but a second life on Netflix and Hulu reinvigorated fan interest. Now the show’s creators are hoping to channel that demand into a big-screen film continuation with a Kickstarter campaign launched today. “We’ve seen fan activity on social media since the show ended and went on to Netflix, and we’ve seen the audience continue to grow through that platform,” said Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), who played high-strung All-American linebacker Thad Castle on the show and is aboard to produce the film project with co-creators Chris Romano and Eric Falconer. “When they find it on Netflix, they also find out it’s no longer airing on Spike or being made. A lot of them are asking for another season. We didn’t get our senior year and we want to do that.”

Ritchson, Romano and Falconer seek to raise a minimum of $1.5M to produce a Blue Mountain State movie based on the series, an idea that’s been brewing since Spike cancelled the show. Producer Lionsgate TV passed on doing a feature film but sold the rights back to Ritchson and company and retain a first-look option on the potential movie.

Taking a beloved TV series to the big screen through crowdfunding worked well for recent Kickstarter successes Veronica Mars, which raised $5.7M and opened day-and-date via Warner Bros last month, and Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here, which raised $3.1M and opens July 18 through Focus Features. Both high-profile films, however, also encountered their own high-profile snafus. Read More »

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Oscilloscope Buys Kickstarter-Funded Rock Docu ‘The Past Is A Grotesque Animal’

THE PAST IS A GROTESQUE ANIMALThe Past Is A Grotesque Animal centers on the Athens, GA-based indie pop band of Montreal and is in postproduction after a Kickstarter campaign that raised almost $95,000. Oscilloscope has acquired worldwide rights to the Jason Miller-helmed pic, and plans to release it this year. The movie focuses on frontman Kevin Barnes, whose pursuit to make transcendent music at all costs drives him to value art over human relationships. As he struggles with all of those around him — family and bandmates alike — he’s forced to reconsider the future of the band, begging the question is this really worth it? “As fans of of Montreal, we have been excited by this project since we first became aware of it via Kickstarter,” Oscilloscope’s Dan Berger and David Laub said today in announcing the pickup. “We were exceptionally pleased when The Past Is A Grotesque Animal turned out to be an incredibly well-made, relatable film and are extremely excited to come on board at this early stage to unleash it upon the masses.” Read More »

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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 … Read More »

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‘Veronica Mars’ Kickstarter Donor Furor Over Inability To Download Movie On Flixster/Ultraviolet

By | Friday March 14, 2014 @ 8:47pm PDT

Veronica Mars key artAngry comments have erupted on the Veronica Mars Kickstarter site from donors upset that they are unable to download the movie via the service provided: Flixster/Ultraviolet. The film, which was funded on Kickstarter, promised that donors who pledged $35 or higher would “receive a digital version of the movie within a few days of the movie’s theatrical debut, plus the T-shirt, plus the pdf of the shooting script.” After Warner Bros declined to finance the idea based on its 2004-07 TV series, Veronica Mar’s creator/exec producer Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell went to the crowdfunding site with an intention of raising $2M to bring the popular TV series to the big screen, but it quickly ended up raising a whopping $5.7M.

Related: ‘Veronica Mars’ Movie Opening Scene Hits Web: Video

The comments range from, “This is a bunch of crap. Where is the MP4 download that just works, for everyone, with no problems?” and “This is ridiculous. I can’t even get a full download of Flixter (sic) to even attempt to watch the movie. Both I and my husband have been alternately trying to download it for over an hour. I have never been so disappointed … I’ve been looking forward to this for a year” to “I’m disappointed that the Flixster streaming/download isn’t working when we had a whole evening planned around watching the movie. I ended up paying $7.00 to rent the movie through amazon … ” Others wrote: “What a way to say ‘screw you’ to backers” and “I regret this funding.” And still another: “Giving up getting digital download to work. Happy movie got made but can’t help but feel ripped off for not getting the copy of the movie I was promised.” In response, Thomas sent out this statement to donors:

“We’ve read all of your comments since yesterday’s update. We know that some of you have strong opinions about the decision to provide digital versions of the movie through Flixster. As you’ll see in the original FAQ on our Kickstarter page, we’ve always planned to include Flixster as a digital distribution platform. But I also know that many of you use iTunes, Amazon or other platforms, and would prefer to claim your digital copies on your favorite service, so we hoped we’d also be able to arrange for more options. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t possible. In the end, Flixster was the best option for getting the digital movie reward out to all of you, worldwide, at the same time.”  He suggests calling the customer support team … okay, a total debacle.

elated: ‘Veronica Mars’ TV Series To Stream On Amazon Prime

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.tentsquareRead More »

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Zach Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’ Gets July 18 Release Date

By | Thursday February 27, 2014 @ 11:10am PST

zach-braff-directing__131219181810Focus 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 Read More »

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UPDATE: Forbes Reports Hacking Attack; Kickstarter Also Hit, User Data Exposed

By | Saturday February 15, 2014 @ 3:05pm PST

Kickstarter_LogoUPDATED, 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 … Read More »

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

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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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

Sundance2014_badge__140109214059__140116020608Just 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 page1image392today. 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. Read More »

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Sundance: Focus Features Closes Zach Braff-Helmed ‘Wish I Was Here’ For Around $2.75 Million

Mike Fleming

zach-braff-directing__131219181810UPDATED 9:49 PM: Focus has sent out a release about its acquisition of Zach Braff’s pic. Read it below.

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.

Related: Zach Braff On ‘Wish I Was Here’ Kickstarter Campaign, His Critics & Industry Change

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.

Related: Zach Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’ Kickstarter Hits $2 Million Goal In 3 Days
Read More »

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Sundance: Zach Braff On ‘Wish I Was Here’ Kickstarter Campaign, His Critics & Industry Change

By | Saturday January 18, 2014 @ 11:27am PST

14086-1Sundance2014_badge__140109214059__140116020608Zach 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.

Related: ‘Wish I Was Here’ Kickstarter Hits $2M Goal In 3 Days

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.” Read More »

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‘Honey Boo Boo’ Producer Authentic Entertainment Turns To Kickstarter To Mount Scripted Sci-Fi Spoof

By | Tuesday December 17, 2013 @ 3:52pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: Authentic_logoAuthentic Entertainment, the reality-TV production company behind Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Toddlers & Tiaras, Flipping Out, etc, has turned to Kickstarter to try to raise the $350K it says it needs to pilot its first scripted program, … Read More »

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Sean Astin Gets Political In Kickstarter Plea

By | Tuesday October 1, 2013 @ 6:30pm PDT
Mike Fleming

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. Read More »

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Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro Back Controversial Harry Knowles Kickstarter

By | Wednesday September 4, 2013 @ 2:16pm PDT

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. Read More »

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Investor Leaves Them $250,000 Short; John Herzfeld And Sly Stallone Hope Kickstarter Can Raise Finishing Funds For ‘Reach Me’

By | Wednesday August 21, 2013 @ 5:45pm PDT
Mike Fleming

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. 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 … Read More »

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Spike Lee Responds To Crowdfunding Critics: I’m Not Bogarting Kickstarter

By | Saturday July 27, 2013 @ 6:29pm PDT

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 … Read More »

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Spike Lee Offers Courtside Knicks Tix To Crowdfund New Film; Steven Soderbergh Among Early Backers

By | Tuesday July 23, 2013 @ 12:40pm PDT
Mike Fleming

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. Read More »

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Produced By Conference: Stacey Sher On Zach Braff Kickstarter Success & Scrutiny

By | Sunday June 9, 2013 @ 1:58pm PDT

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. Read More »

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