It seemed too good to be true, and it was. While raising funds on Kickstarter
for his latest film “Ned Rifle,” the third in a trilogy that began in 1997 with “Henry Fool,” director Hal Hartley
announced an innovative new backer reward — the rights to distribute the film theatrically in various territories.
As he explained in an e-mail recently, Hartley believed that offering distribution rights was a way around the
crowd funding rules which prohibit offering equity.
The U.S. rights were quickly nabbed for $9,000.
But soon after he announced the new rewards, Kickstarter notified Hartley that the offer was outside of their rewards guidelines as a form of investment, so
the distribution reward had to be eliminated as an option.
“After Hal offered limited distribution rewards for pledges Kickstarter notified him that it falls outside their rewards guidelines as a form of investment. He took down the rewards. But before he could do so, the US reward was pledged. The pledge will not be processed by Kickstarter and Amazon. The pledger has been notified.”
As the rules regarding equity crowdfunding change, selling pre-sales via a platform such as Kickstarter might one day become a reality, but for the moment, it’s a deal-breaker.