By Suzanne Jaszcz:
A new trend is emerging for film makers as more and more of them look for new ways to raise money for their productions. What is being called Crowdfunding is gaining popularity with both large and small films alike. Whereas in the past a filmmaker would reach out to one or two investors with deep pockets, now they are reaching out to the masses that can help to collectively fund a project.
Filmmakers large and small are able to leverage the passion of their family, friends and fan base as a way to raise significant amount of money in a relatively short period of time and without some of the complications that comes from drawing money from one major sponsor. Through the power of social media we are seeing more and more local films turn to Twitter, Facebook, Kickstarter and Indiegogo to release updates on their films in order to keep generating interest in projects, as well as to keep the funds rolling in.
The locally made film Granted, which is airing at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, raised 100% of its budget through crowdsourcing efforts via Indiegogo and there will be a discussion after the film on the changing market of fundraising in the film industry. Justin Sammarco, who is doing public relations for the film, weighs in on the permanence of this trend stating, “I definitely feel, 100%, that this is going to change and shape the way films are funded, made and distributed through all platforms. This is completely sidestepping the heavy restrictions placed on filmmakers by the SEC by asking for donations/contributions, and as long as you’re savvy in marketing yourself, the film, and have a great great message you WILL get funded.”
As to why the film Granted decided to take this route instead of using the more traditional methods, director Anthony Vescio explains, “We decided we wanted to control everything from day one, and we decided that we wanted to open it up to everyone. Why just go to one or two who we knew had money? We made a name for ourselves in the area with our short films so we decided to open it up to the public for support, and they did like we could never have imagined.”
As previously stated this trend is not just happening on the local level but we are seeing Hollywood tapping into loyal fan bases to fund their larger budget films like the Veronica Mars feature length film for example. A short lived TV series with a loyal fan base, the producers of this film were able to meet their monetary goal within days simply by appealing to a fan base that they knew was out there. When asked if Hollywood perhaps has an unfair advantage since their projects often feature actors and directors with higher profiles Anthony states, “It is a blessing and a curse, the more people that are attracted to these sites, the more they are apt to venture off the beaten path and maybe try something different. Of course, the flip side is this creates room for more majors and mini-majors to come in and dominate the market.”
Still both Anthony and Justin are confident and optimistic that this trend is not just a passing fancy but truly the future of film fundraising. The screening of Granted will take place on April 12th at 9pm at the Market Arcade and will be followed by a panel discussion on crowdfunding and its place in the film industry.
To learn more about Granted, refer to this Buffalo Rising article.