Spike Lee’s plans for a movie about blood-addicted humans will soon be a reality. Lee surpassed the goal for his Kickstarter campaign today, raising nearly $1.3 million to finance “the newest hottest Spike Lee joint.”
Lee launched the campaign in July so he could bypass the Hollywood production process for his next film.
“With the current climate in The Hollywood Studio System, it’s not an encouraging look for Independent Filmmakers,” Lee said on the campaign page. “Super Heroes, Comic Books, 3D Special EFX, Blowing up the Planet Nine Times and Fly through the Air while Transforming is not my Thang […] I have a different vision of what Cinema can be, a different vision of what some underserved Audiences might want to see.”
Lee is fuzzy on the details about the film, although he has revealed that Zaraah Abrahams will play the female lead and that it is a thriller.
“I’m doing a semi-genre film about ADDICTION. These people are ADDICTED to BLOOD. Yet however they are not VAMPIRES. It’s going to be SEXY, HUMOROUS and BLOODY. To me that’s a unique combination.”
Kickstarter was founded as a platform to help creative people get their projects off the ground. Its film and video section mainly consist of unknowns who do not have connections, money, or access to filmmaking resources. With 20-plus films in his portfolio and a slew of film and awards and nominations, Lee is hardly the typical Kickstarter campaigner. As a result, his effort generated some criticism from people who expressed that it isn’t fair for an established wealthy filmmaker to be on Kickstarter and that he is hurting young filmmakers.
Lee responded by saying that independent filmmakers always have to search for alternative financing, no matter who they are, and that he has “been doing KICKSTARTER before there was KICKSTARTER.”
“I say this all to say, what we are doing on KICKSTARTER is not new,” he said. “Indie Filmmmakers need MONEY to do their ART. The ARTFORM of FILM COSTS MONEY. We are appealing to people who have enjoyed and supported my work in the past and would like it to continue into the FUTURE.”
Lee is not the first celebrity to wage crowd funding campaigns. This year the producer and star of popular TV show Veronica Mars raised $5.7 million to turn it into a movie and actor Zach Braff raised $3.1 million to make his next film. Lee said that efforts like these can help young filmmakers because it brings more exposure and credibility to the platform.
The major film studio system in Hollywood consists of six major media corporations that command around 90 percent of North American box offices. Independent filmmakers operating outside of the system tend to make films with considerably lower budgets, but they are able to adhere to their personal artistic vision without having to cater to studio executives or mainstream preferences. Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites have been powerful for these creators who now have a place to attract support for their projects.
While the number of celebrity projects remains in the minority, it’s an interesting shift in thinking. Crowdfunding as a way to appeal to consumers directly for support, rather than primarily as an alternative to institutional financing. Crowdfunding has caused a similar shift in other areas as well. Thousands of fashion brands, artists, technology entrepreneurs, etc… are turning to platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, rather than following traditional financing routes.
Deloitte predicts that crowdfunding portals will raise $3 billion in 2013. The sector is booming and could transform the way businesses and projects of all kinds get off the ground. Entrepreneurs have created dedicated platforms for specific sectors, like health and consumer goods, and projects like Pebble and the Ubuntu Edge have shown it is possible to raise as much as $10 million this way.
Lee just asked for $1.25 million. The campaign still has four days to go.