...at a time when film financing is facing increasing budgetary constraints, even the most powerful directors are harnessing the power of the web to attract investment (financial or artistic) for their latest projects.
Ridley Scott, the director of Robin Hood - which opened the Cannes Film Festival this year - is producing a film that asks people to upload videos of themselves on to YouTube, which will in turn, form the basis of a documentary to be premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
A growing crop of websites offer anyone willing to donate money to film projects an "executive producer" credit at the end of the film. One example is the collective effort in fundraising for the big-budget Spanish film, The Cosmonaut, a sci-fi movie that used online crowd-funding methods.
Rob Fletcher, a British film producer who is in the process of making a documentary called Driven, is employing a "people powered" form of funding. The film focuses on a couple who first fall in love in the 1950s, travel around the world in a black taxi cab and have a son, only to separate and reunite decades later. The film focuses on an eccentric 2,500-mile trip that the man, now in his 80s, makes with his estranged son. Fletcher said his production team was offering film credits for donations received in the shape of miles, so for $25 (or one mile), donors are given a film credit; for $100, they are given a credit and a T-shirt.
"Documentary films always struggle to find financing from the usual sources and this economy is making it even more challenging for us.... The normal paradigm of distribution is not working so producers are having to think of other ways," said Fletcher.
In 2008, the film Faintheart, partly funded by Vertigo Films and Film4, was hailed as the first to make use of online imput by selecting several cast and crew members from the web.
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