Ready Set Fund

Ready, Set, Fund: Pre-SXSW Film Crowdfunding Updates

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Rat Pack Rat Still

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

Several local film projects that ran successful crowdfunding campaigns are making their regional premiere at this year's SXSW Film Festival including the experimental documentary Yakona from San Marcos-based filmmakers Anlo Sepulveda and Paul Collins, Thank You A Lot from Matt Muir and Chris Ohlson, Jeffrey Radice's No No: A Dockumentary, and Todd Rohal's Rat Pack Rat (pictured above). Yakona also received two Austin Film Society Grants (formerly known as the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund), as did local filmmaker Kat Candler for her feature-length version of Hellion, which also makes its Texas debut at SXSW.

The SXSW Film Conference will feature several sessions that should be of interest to filmmakers who want to learn more about achieving funding for their projects.

"Meet the Insiders: Funding and Special Organizations" will feature several speakers from the nonprofit film world and they'll speak about "what NOT to do in your proposals to grants, fiscal sponsors, film labs, and other programs." Independent Film Project Producer and Program Manager Rose Vincelli Gustine will moderate this panel, which includes industry experts such as Sundance Film Fund Director Rahdi Taylor, Independent Lens Senior Series Producer Lois Vossen and Chicken and Egg Pictures Operation and Programs Manager Iyabo Boyd.

Ready, Set, Fund: 'The Father,' 'Arvind' and More

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the father

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects. 

Debbie (that lucky gal) is busy covering Sundance and Slamdance this month, so in her place I'll be taking a look at some of the Austin-related crowdfunding projects currently reaching for their goals. 

First, speaking of Sundance and crowdfunding, this year 20 Kickstarter-funded features, shorts and documentaries will be featured at the festival. According to Kickstarter, this is the third year in a row that over 10 percent of the festival lineup has been made up of Kickstarted projects and several, including this year's Academy award-nominated The Square, have gone on to much success. And that doesn't count any projects that used other crowdfunding site, like Indiegogo.

Debbie will be discussing a few local crowdfunded Sundance players, including official 2014 selection No No: A Dockumentary, in the coming days.

Now, here's a look at a few Austin and Texas projects currently seeking funds for completion:

  • The Father -- This "throwback '80s sci-fi film" directed by Austinite Stephen Belyeu (Dig) tells the story of an extraterrestrial father and son who have crash-landed on Earth (pictured above). Filmmakers are seeking funding specifically to assist with creating the practical special effects for the movie, and hope to reach their goal in time to shoot during the short-lived Texas winter. (Kickstarter, ends Jan. 26)

Ready, Set, Fund: 'Crowd Speak' for Successful Crowdfunding

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Still Photo from Foreign Puzzle

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

Of all the contributions that I've made over the last 4.5 years to Slackerwood, I find this monthly feature, which can be quite rewarding for filmmakers through the promotion of their funding campaigns, to also be personally rewarding. I enjoy following the progress of many of our featured film projects from creation to production to screening at prestigious film festivals including Sundance, SXSW and Austin Film Festival.

Over the last two years, this column has expanded beyond just film projects with the inclusion of television and web media as well as tools to help filmmakers. For example, one of this month's featured fundraising campaigns is for WriterDuet collaborative screenwriting software. WriterDuet is currently available for free online, but this fundraising campaign, which is funding through Thursday, December 19 on Kickstarter, will fund the creation of a desktop version.

We also receive a considerable amount of feedback each month from filmmakers regarding their fundraising efforts. This month's column thus features two new sections: Projects that we've featured in a past column, and tips from the industry to help with fundraising efforts.

Ready, Set, Fund: Producing for a Cause

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Reel Change Film FrenzyReady, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

Local nonprofit festival Lights. Camera. Help. is changing it up a bit for the 2014 Reel Change Film Frenzy through a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to support their ten filmmaking teams in sharing stories about local nonprofit organizations. Backers can become a producer of their very own cause-driven film by donating as little as $10. The goal is to raise $10,000 to be split between the teams to cover their costs.

At higher levels, backers are eligible to receive tickets to the Reel Change Film Frenzy screening at the Alamo Drafthouse, a cameo appearance in one of the films, or video coaching sessions by Lights. Camera. Help. educators. Even if the campaign does not reach its goal, the filmmakers have agreed to split evenly any funding received through January 4.

Stuntwoman Patty Dillon has taken on a new role in the film industry as a documentary filmmaker with There Will Be No Stay, the personally intimate story of the men faced with the unbearable act of taking another person's life on behalf of the criminal justice system. Austin-based Arcanum Pictures (Grow Up, Tony Phillips) producers Paul Gandersman and Peter Hall support this salient documentary, which was filmed across the nation from South Dakota to Texas and North Carolina.

The film, which provides a rare glimpse into a difficult profession, is currently funding through Wednesday, December 11 on Kickstarter, for funds to cover post-production including final film and sound editing as well as music licensing and film festival application fees.

Watch the thought-provoking preview of There Will Be No Stay after the jump.

Ready, Set, Fund: Air Sex, Gay Retirees and Girlie Pop Culture

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The Bounceback Still Photo

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

Two local movies that were well received at their SXSW 2013 premieres are now crowdfunding for distribution: The Bounceback and Before You Know It. Local filmmaker Bryan Poyser has a Kickstarter funding campaign through Sunday, November 17, for his romantic comedy (with air sex!) The Bounceback -- check out Don's review as well as Elizabeth's interview with Poyser.

PJ Raval -- director of photography for The Bounceback -- is also seeking funding for his feature-length documentary Before You Know It through October 30. This insightful and thought-provoking film reveals the discrimination, neglect and exclusion faced by lesbian, gay and bisexual senior citizens. Raval tells the story through several inspirational individuals who have found the strength to form communities where they and others can be comfortable and accepted.

Check out the pitch video for the Before You Know It campaign, which includes some of the film's subjects, after the jump.

Ready, Set, Fund: Of Monsters and Men

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Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

Tinker Bell just didn't cut it for me as a kid. I was more about the depictions of changelings that I read about in the half-price Scandinavian mythology books my family members thought made "nice" Christmas gifts. Needless to say, when I read about the Indiegogo campaign for the independent "unreliable documentary" Preternatural I got excited -- and wished I had $35,000 to give its filmmakers. 

Austin-based brothers Sean and Tim Cunningham (part of the team behind 2012's Austin-shot indie Sick Boy) have racked up more than 60 feature film credits (nine of those received VFX Academy Award-nominations), and they now aim to put terror back into fairy folklore. No more of this post-Victorian, Disneyfied ludicousness; with Preternatural, about modern-day monsters living amongst us in plain sight, we're talking "eat your face type of creatures" like changelings (typically the offspring of fairies that's been substituted for a human child), trolls, ogres, shifters and "much, much worse."

Ready, Set, Fund: Animation Love and Movie Geekiness

Is There Anyone Out There?

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

I've had a passion for animated films for as long as I can remember, having grown up with Disney classics such as Lady and the Tramp and Sleeping Beauty ... and as an adult, enjoying The Iron Giant. A short animated film project that's currently funding on Kickstarter through September 10 caught my interest -- Is There Anyone Out There?

Texas writer/director Jonathan Reynolds has brought together a talented creative team to support this family-friendly film, which addresses the universal question in a whimsical manner. 

The score for Is There Anyone Out There? has already been performed and recorded in Austin by British composer Andy Dollerson and Austin's own Tosca String Quartet. San Antonio-based voice actor Terry Anderson is providing the narration for the tale of two boys questioning their fathers whether there's life beyond their own planet.

Ready, Set, Fund: Community and Comedy

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David Anderson Archive PhotoReady, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

Local non-profit Cinema Du Cannes Project was created to empower "at risk" teenagers in Austin by involving them in the art of cinematic digital storytelling and digital media production. Youth-led teams produce films for submission into film festivals across the nation and world, including the Cannes Film Festival Court Metrage. In addition, participants learn valuable skills and support the community by producing public service announcements and videos for other local non-profits.

This summer the organization is producing a documentary, 40 Years - On the Air, which is currently funding on Kickstarter through August 4. This hour-long documentary features local media icon David Anderson -- seen above in an archive photo-- whose radio broadcast career has spanned over 40 years.

An exciting local film-related project funding on Kickstarter through Saturday, August 17 is the Capital City Black Film Festival (CCBFF) founded by UT alumni Winston Williams and filmmaker Harrell Williams. This new Austin film festival, which takes place at the Stateside Theatre at the Paramount September 26-28, will feature films from black filmmakers as well as panel discussions with film veterans. The festival is raising funds to cover venue space rentals, with extra funding to go towards awards for film competition winners.

Ready, Set, Fund: Visiting Seed&Spark

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Love Land

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

At South by Southwest this past March, I came across a new project funding platform called Seed&Spark, which was launched in December 2012. Founder Emily Best was inspired by her experience making her first feature, Like the Water, to team with other independent filmmakers to create this funding platform for filmmakers and their audience. The name comes from their philosophy that "films are not just art, they are business ventures. They require the seed of an idea and the sparks of human and capital investments to bring them to life."

To participate via Seed&Spark, a filmmaker posts his or her "wish list" of items and associated costs needed to complete a film project. Donors can choose to either donate funds or loan an item from the project list in exchange for perks or credits in the film. Once the filmmaker receives at least 80 percent of their budget, the funds are released.

Filmmakers can also upload completed films to the Seed&Spark site, where you can view the films for a fee. Viewers can earn site credits for viewing by engaging on the site and spreading the word about Seed&Spark projects. Filmmakers are encouraged to use other distribution methods as well including festivals, theatrical release, and other VOD platforms.

Ready, Set, Fund: Bubbles, Dirt and Sharks

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Out of the Bubble still shot

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

A new chapter in life in life is beginning for many Central Texas teens with graduation ceremonies taking place over the course of the next week. My words of advice to these graduates? Take some time out from college or work to travel and get out of your comfort zone, whether it's backpacking with friends in Big Bend National Park in West Texas or trekking across Europe. Better yet, find a service project in another country where you can experience different cultures and meet people from around the world.

Brothers Colin and Michael Harman are doing just that with their film Out of the Bubble, which is funding through Thursday, June 13 on Kickstarter. However, the Harmans are taking their travels to a whole other level. What was originally intended to simply be documentation of their explorations of the landscape and culture of Norway as they venture "out of their bubble" is now intended to be the foundation of a online movement. The Harmans hope to inspire others to step out of their familiar surroundings and document their stories. These travelogues will then serve to build a network connected through an online hub. See their inspiring pitch video after the jump.

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