5 Cinematic Gems That Made A Mark In Film Crowdfunding History

By: Visakha, Diamond

Published On: September 02, 2021

For many creative projects to see the light of day, independent filmmakers require a substantial amount of money that may not be readily available. This is where crowdfunding becomes an enticing solution. It is a way to raise funds online for numerous ventures, passion projects and more from donors across the country. Many films from across genres, languages, and regions, came into being because the public chose to support their unique ideas and creativity by donating to their cause. Crowdfunding has gained much traction amongst independent artists who now have the confidence to pursue their dreams with the help of donations across the country. 

Here are 5 underrated films from across the world that transformed from scripts to stories with the help of people who believed in its potential: 

1. Manthan, 1976 (Translation: The Churning): How a small, generous contribution can make a large, impactful difference

This Hindi film from 1976, is the first crowdfunded film in India. The touching detail about this project is that it was funded by 500,000 farmers who donated 2 rupees each. Starring the evergreen Late Girish Karnad in the lead role, the film revolves around the ‘White Revolution of India’— a 1970 dairy development project that boosted dairy-farming and provided farmers with control over their resources. This poignant film went on to achieve the National Film Award for the Best Feature Film, and we have 500,000 farmers to thank for helping bring this film to life. 

2. Kothanodi, 2015 (Translation: The River of Fables): For the ones that enjoyed their grandma’s tales growing up 

Created by two filmmaking gems from the North East of India, Bhaskar Hazarika and Dr Arupa Kalita, Kothanodi is an anthology of folk stories that offer unconventional and fable-like narratives. Starring now one of Bollywood’s finest, Adil Hussain, and Zerifa Wahid in lead roles, this film was able to cover their production costs with the help of a successful crowdfunding campaign.

3. Greater Elephant, 2012: A film where loss breeds purpose

We have all found ourselves looking for a purpose in life at some point of time. Indie filmmaker Sunderrajan found his purpose in the art of storytelling and used his gift to make the Greater Elephant. Released in 2013, this independent feature film assembles an interesting set of characters, all of them bound by something they have lost. The film covers nuances ranging from material possessions to human virtues and vices, held by complex characters, who embark on a self-reflective journey, navigating their purpose amidst the absurdity of life. For this delightful narrative to be released to the masses, crowdfunding proved to be a blessing. Upon receiving funds from the public via Facebook, Sunderrajan was able to finance the release of this well-received existential film. 

4. Peddlers, 2012: A film where the corrupt and the innocent share one common sentiment- loneliness  

“You do whatever is needed to tell that story”, said Producer Guneet Monga, in a speech at the FICCI Frames in 2019. An Academy Award winner with films like ‘Masaan’ and ‘The Lunchbox’ to her name, Monga is also a fierce believer in the power of stories. Written by Vasan Bala and produced by Monga, the 2012 film ‘Peddlers’ was crowdfunded via social media after the latter publicly posted the film’s script online for the world to see and deem worthy. It is a thrilling tale of poverty-stricken boys in Mumbai who get trapped in a rut of drug trades and police hunts. This promising crowdfunded film was also screened at the famed Cannes Film Festival. 

5. Veronica Mars, 2014: This film was a gift to and from the drama’s loyal fans

We might have heard of the popular Veronica Mars television drama starring Kristen Bell that first aired in 2004 and became every teen’s favourite. It is not underrated per se, but has made quite a mark in crowdfunding history. While we may assume that a drama this popular would have no trouble being funded, our assumption would be misguided. In 2007, Veronica Mars was cancelled by its streaming network and replaced by reality TV. Upon cancellation, the maker of the drama, Rob Thomas stated, “I would write it if anyone would finance it” (Source: Wikipedia). For six years after, there was no hope of the show’s revival. However, in 2013, crowdfunding came to the rescue. Thomas and Bell launched a fundraiser on a crowdfunding platform and their goal was met within 10 hours of the start of the campaign. The fundraiser helped them create one last film in the name of Veronica Mars, which did not only surprise and impress the fans, but also provided the makers with a chance to wrap up their artistic pursuit of 9 years in a way that they desired. 

Needless to say, crowdfunding platforms have proved to be of immense support to creative minds looking for a chance to make their voices heard. From creative ideas on start ups and business ventures to specific personal causes, ambitious artists no longer need to worry about insufficient funds to bring their genius to the forefront. You can bring your passion project to life by starting a fundraiser on a crowdfunding platform and let the community of generous donors around the world help you turn your dream into a tangible reality. 

If you are looking for top crowdfunding platforms in India for the purposes of creative crowdfunding, personal cause crowdfunding, start-up crowdfunding or more, you can take a look at the verified crowdfunding guide in India, here.