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Filmmakers, There's Still a Chance for You to Be a Part of Spitfire's Ambitious Crowdsourced Documentary Contest

Photo of Bryce J. Renninger By Bryce J. Renninger | Indiewire November 7, 2013 at 4:27PM

Tongal, the company that has made a name for itself by encouraging the production of television and moving image web commercials through crowdsourcing ideas and production, is onto the next step of its partnership with Oscar-winning production company Spitfire Pictures. Spitfire Pictures is the documentary production arm of Exclusive Media, and Spitfire was a producer on the Oscar-winning feature-length doc "Undefeated."
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Tongal + Spitfire

Tongal, the company that has made a name for itself by encouraging the production of television and moving image web commercials through crowdsourcing ideas and production, is onto the next step of its ambitious crowdsourced documentary contest in partnership with Oscar-winning production company Spitfire Pictures.  Spitfire Pictures is the documentary production arm of Exclusive Media, and Spitfire was a producer on the Oscar-winning feature-length doc "Undefeated." 

After accepting concepts from the public, five have been chosen to advance to the next level.  The five winners from this level will be invited to develop their concepts into a pitch.  Each of these five winners has received $1,000, and no matter who produces the concepts, the people with the ideas will receive 5% of net profits from their completed film. 

Now, it's up to filmmakers (that means you!) to develop a pitch on one of these five ideas or to pitch an idea of your own.  (The idea here is that some of those pitching concepts did not want to carry out their subjects to production.) From these pitches, eight pitches will be chosen to produce a sizzle reel with $2,500 in funding from Tongal.  

From there, as Tongal describes it, "Two sizzle reels will ultimately be 'green lit' for production and the associated filmmakers will enter into a production agreement with Tongal, entitling them each to a budget of $35,000 to produce a director’s cut of their film. Finally, at least one of the two final filmmakers will receive an additional $15,000 in funds to complete their documentary.

"In addition to judging the submissions, Spitfire pictures will steer the development, production, marketing and ultimately distribution of the winning film."

For more information or to submit a pitch, visit the Tongal Spitfire Project website here.

Here are the five winning ideas from Tongal:

·      The Geeks of Twin Peaks – Robert Peterson, Los Angeles, Calif. – A documentary that explores the lives and obsessions of Twin Peaks super fans and the show itself, how David Lynch smuggled art house cinema onto broadcast television and how it became a cultural phenomenon.

·      The Viral Age – Jason Kraynek, Chicago, IL – An examination of the history and cultural relevance of "viral videos" and what impact it has had on our culture, entertainment and advertising. For example, "Charlie bit my Finger" has 600 million views. That's as many as the last six Super Bowls! Who was the first person to name it "viral"? What's the most viral video? What day was it? Who are the stars of these videos and the effect micro fame has had on their lives. This should be a broad/accessible and academic examination.

·      A Matter of Lights and Death – Nathan von Minden, Richmond, TX – The story of the housing community called Pecan Grove in Texas, whose intense and outrageous holiday lights competition is a lighting rod for controversy.

·      The Mole Man – Cognitive Films, Brooklyn, NY – What's a mind capable of in the absence of mainstream treatment? This is the story of Ron, a grown man with mental illness (likely autism) whose parents decided to avoid institutionalizing him at an early age. They kept him home and continued to fulfill his simple requests for building materials. He has since built a 28- room maze/structure in the backyard and created his own world.  

·      Life Changer – James Foltice, Chicago, IL – A documentary that follows a person immediately after winning the lottery and examines the effect it has on their relationships with friends, family and work. The film will also focus on the history of the lottery in all its forms. 

Key Program Dates:

Subject Submission Phase: September 17 – October 17, 2013

Pitch and “Wild Card” Submission Phase: November 7 – December 17, 2013

Sizzle Reel Submission Phase (8): January 7 – February 17, 2014

Director’s Cut Phase: March 7 – July 7, 2014

Final Cut Phase: July 21 – September 17, 2014

This article is related to: Crowdsourcing , Documentary, Filmmaker Toolkit: Documentaries, Filmmaker Toolkit: Production, Tech






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