Crowdfunded Movies

cumberbatch trek 01

It’s a great week for Benedict Cumberbatch. Moviegoers around the world (though not yet in the U.S.) are currently flocking to see Star Trek Into Darkness, in which he plays the villain. And another film he’s set to star in has already become a humongous success thanks to a quick crowdfunding drive at Indiegogo. The newer project is a short titled Little Favour and will feature the Sherlock Holmes star as a PTSD-suffering man enlisted by an old friend (Harry Potter actor Nick Moran) to “help with a deal gone wrong.” With six days still remaining in the effort, Little Favour has already greatly surpassed its goal of £25,000 ($38,385) and looks to possibly triple that amount. This is a pretty remarkable achievement for a campaign that has nothing illustrating its potential, not a video nor storyboards nor any other sort of proof of concept. We don’t even know how long it’ll be. And the film is written and will be directed by newcomer Patrick Viktor Monroe, who is otherwise best known as Tom Hardy’s personal trainer and assistant (he also beefed up Cumberbatch for Star Trek). Producers on the project are also relative unknowns, Adam Ackland (second AD on The Killing Gene) and Ben Dillon, whose usual job is coordinating vehicles for movies including the upcoming Kick-Ass 2.

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aaron swartz documentary

One of the best documentaries of last year is We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, a film that looks at the history of Internet activists/hackers/pranksters Anonymous while remarkably tying together stuff like LOLCats and the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement (stream it now via Amazon or download from iTunes). Now that doc’s director, Brian Knappenberger, is taking on another web-based story, which will show how the movie WarGames led to the suicide of one of the 21st century’s greatest geniuses. Not that it will put any blame on a 1982 movie starring Matthew Broderick nor focus on that particular chain of events. The Internet’s Own Boy will tell the short life story of computer programmer Aaron Swartz, one of the minds behind numerous Internet-related projects including RSS (at age 14!), Reddit, Markdown, Watchdog.net, and Creative Commons and an activist against SOPA and for WikiLeaks. Sadly, he hung himself in January of this year (at age 26), following two years of being hit with felony charges stemming from illegally accessing and downloading material from the online journal database JSTOR.

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Touch the Wall

The goal of MYCLW is to act as a quick-glance guide for movie and TV fans who are looking for work they might be interested in. To find worthy in-progress campaigns, please check out Fund This Film. To make sure you’re recently funded project is included, please email us.  A ton (exactly 2,000 pounds) of projects are being funded far outside the studio system’s walls. In fact, plenty are happening outside the traditional indie model as well. Crowdfunding has proven its feasibility in a short amount of time, and it’s also offered us as fans a brand new channel to discover worthwhile movies and shows. After all, the gatekeepers haven’t gone away — there are simply more of them, and in the case of crowdfunding, there are a lot more. In launching this feature, I had no idea how many movies were successfully funded every week. I dumbly assumed that there would be a handful, maybe a dozen or so that secure their public budgets, and I was encouragingly wrong. All told, this inaugural edition boasts over 40 crowdfunded movies and TV-style projects, delivering a wide spectrum of styles and subjects. It’s time to start keeping an eye on release dates that don’t come from studio press campaigns. Hopefully MYCLW can help you find something you don’t even know you’re looking for. Clicking through to individual pages can give you more information, including official websites and ways to keep informed on individual projects hitting theaters (and the internet) near you.

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