October 27, 2011
Films get kick-started by the crowd
Last week we posted about how movie distribution is changing in the digital age. We’re also seeing new ideas for crowdfunding movies, giving filmmakers what they want most: the ability to make their vision a reality, without pressure from studios and others with a big stake.
Here in Brazil, Eu Maior (Bigger Me) is a film about self-knowledge whose producers are trying to raise 200,000 reais (around $114,000) through their website. The project is the first to integrate the crowdfunding model with a 2007 law that enables donors to audiovisual projects to get a tax break. Eu Maior is now more than halfway toward the funding goal and scheduled to premiere in early 2012.
Some platforms are inspired by Kickstarter but take the model a few steps further. SoKap is a platform that helps filmmakers raise money but also facilitates marketing, licensing and distribution of their works. Touscoprod, from France, supports audiovisual creations in their development, production and distribution by allowing the public (“co-prods”) to sponsor projects for as little as €10. Closer to the Kickstarter framework is the Dutch site CineCrowd, with filmmakers offering symbolic rewards like tickets to the premiere or dinner with the cast in exchange for funds.
Cinema Shares has a patented method that will let people buy stock in a movie and ultimately receive a DVD of the film as dividend, along with a share of any profits. Investors, who can buy as little as one share (for around $20), will also be able to observe the filmmaking process via streaming video from the set. Once the initiative gets under way, the aim is to fund “movies for the whole family that contribute to our society in a positive way.” And IndieShares (formerly Audience Productions) proposes to have viewers decide what films get made and then help fund them, although after several years the company has yet to get off the ground.
The crowd can also have a say in what gets screened. Mobz is a new Brazilian platform that lets consumers vote on what they want to watch on a given night. Visitors input suggestions and vote; when a title gets enough interest, Mobz negotiates with a theater to screen it and then sells the tickets through its site. So far, the most popular suggestions have been screenings of a Foo Fighters concert, the U.S. Open tennis championship and a U2 show, all in 3D.
Image credit: Capitol Riverfront BID