Crowdfunding Brought These 5 Films To The Screen
By: Hitesh & Chiara
Published On: January 15, 2021
Making a film is not easy. Getting the perfect cast, the right crew, the required permissions, and finding the desired location - these are all tough tasks. But all these factors themselves depend on one crucial component - funds. No film can go on the floors without funds. In recent times though, an alternate source of funds has become available for filmmakers: crowdfunding.
In India and abroad, crowdfunding has been used by filmmakers to either kick-start their projects or to complete post production for their ongoing (but cash strapped) projects. The advantages of crowdfunding a film are many; even more impressive is the number of films that have become possible due to the power of crowdfunding.
An Insignificant Man
Director: Khushboo Ranka, Vijay Shukla
Cast: Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia
Making a documentary on Indian politics requires a tremendous amount of skill, considering the detail and depth of stories within. Khushboo & Vijay’s venture aimed to document a year in the Aam Aadmi Party’s journey. To do this impartially, they turned to the people and asked for their help. Their goal was to raise about Rs. 15 lakh; instead they raised close to Rs. 80 lakh! In 2016, they finally managed to release ‘An Insignificant Man’. On their crowdfunding page, the offered incentives ranged from a hug & a Twitter shout-out, to a chance to watch the rough cut & discuss it with the makers.
A film shoot in the process
Director: Jennifer Kent
Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman
One of the best reviewed films of 2014, this film offers an alternate idea of how crowdfunding can be used. Being her first feature film, securing funding was difficult. Even though a government grant helped the team begin the film, they ran out of funds while setting up the film sets. Thus, with no other option visible, the team set up an online fundraising campaign. In 4 months, they reached their target amount of $30,000, and successfully completed the film. The film went on to earn $10.3 million worldwide.
Director: Rob Thomas
Cast: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring
A popular television series ends. The cast and the show creators propose making a film, continuing the same story. But the producers reject the pitch. What then?
In this case, they turned to crowdfunding. The initial pitch was for $2 million dollars; donor incentives included having a character named after you, to being cast as an extra in the film itself. The response shocked even seasoned Hollywood veterans; close to 1 lakh donors donated more than $5 million, and the film was on the floors in less than a year. In fact, the theatrical response was strong enough for the director to express faith in making a sequel with their previous producers!
Cast: Juhi Chawla, Rahul Bose, Nandita Das
In retrospect, it seems strange that this film failed to find studios ready to back it. But it was in this situation that Onir turned to online crowdfunding. The most successful Indian film fundraising appeal, the film managed to raise more than Rs. 1 crore. Donations for the film reportedly poured in from all across the world, from India to Austria to Nigeria. It was almost fitting that the film received rave reviews globally, and was even awarded the National Award For Best Hindi Film
Director: Shyam Benegal
Cast: Smita Patil, Girish Karnad, Naseeruddin Shah
Shot in 1976, this film’s cultural legacy survives till today; present-day Amul advertisements feature the film’s famous folk song ‘Mero Gaam Katha Parey’. Based on the impact of Operation Flood in Gujarat, the film depicted the changes created in the far-off villages of rural Gujarat. What makes the film more special is the fact that it was financed completely by farmers. 5 lakh farmers - each donating Rs. 2 - made this film possible. Even the official poster proclaims ‘5,00,000 farmers of Gujarat present: Manthan’
With the help of the internet, film crowdfunding can help connect artists with their audience - courtesy a single click. Audiences can not only watch the art they like; they can also support the projects close to their heart. All that matters is you, the artist, bringing the art to their notice. With crowdfunding, anything is possible!