The Big Picture

It’s a new year, which means that we can continue to be aware of what sorts of changes the coming year will bring (even as we seemingly march towards the apocalypse). And one of the trends that I see emerging is the inclination to fund new films with the help of the crowd.

Take for instance 99% – The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film, the motion picture interpretation of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The film itself is a collaborative effort between various filmmakers who are connecting from across the country and have documented the progress of the OWS in NYC and in its sister cities. The filmmakers will edit the entire piece together in the coming year and they’re looking to meet a Kickstarter fundraising goal of $17,500 in order to buy the hard drive storage and editing space that will allow them to begin that work. With just over a week left, the film is still looking to close the $5,000 gap.

Whether it makes its goal or not, 99% represents the new age of online film collaboration at all stages – from award-winning filmmakers amassing video online in their separate cities to the crowd’s contributions in the fundraising world.

There’s also Wundersound, a Portland-based meditational band that is looking for backing for it’s new album and associated documentary by January 5th, also on Kickstarter but has a long way to go before it reaches it’s $200,000 goal with just two more days left.

And when the UK Film Council was abolished last March, British filmmakers were nervous about what the future of independent films would be. But already, filmmakers like David Reynolds have started looking to the crowd for help in funding their projects. And Reynolds’ The Underwater Realm (which met its fundraising goal on Kickstarter just two days ago) will now go into production. Reynolds says that his turning to the crowd had absolutely nothing to do with the UKFC closing its doors, “I have always been a bit uncomfortable with the ‘hand-out’ system, it leads us Brits to hide behind the banner of ’arty’ and ‘important’ films to get our films funded, instead of thinking about what audiences actually want to see.” And what do audiences want to see?

The Underwater Realm is a series of five short films that explore a humanoid race that has been living beneath the oceans for over 2,000.

What do you think about Kickstarter’s role in supporting the independent film community? What do you think are some of the best ways to include the crowd in film production?

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