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Is Kickstarter the Future of DIY Distribution?

Photo of Paula Bernstein By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire February 13, 2014 at 2:19PM

Evince Productions and Create Entertainment announced the launch of a 45-day exclusive Kickstarter limited release of the independent feature film, "The Projectionist," the first time a film has been distributed via Kickstarter.
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The Projectionist
The Projectionist

Most filmmakers turn to Kickstarter or other crowdfunding platforms looking to fund production for their projects. But the filmmakers behind "The Projectionist - A Warrior Reduced to a Shadow" had another idea. They had already funded their film independently through family, friends, and private investors, and decided to use Kickstarter to raise funds for distributing it.

Unlike Kickstarter campaigns which sometimes promise an advance screening or DVD of the film that won't be available for another year or two, in the case of "The Projectionist," the filmmakers are giving backers the ability to see the film immediately -- via an HD download file and/or a private link on Vimeo.

"The contributions that are received get them an instant incentive. The moment they contribute to our campaign, we send an HD download file and a link to stream the film," the film's director Ryan M. Kennedy told Indiewire. "Most people like instant gratification and they want the payoff."

Written by Kennedy, the psychological drama focuses on a former soldier (Russ Russo) attempting to cope with undiagnosed PTSD. The film also features Doug E. Doug ("Cool Runnings," "The Cosby Show"), Kiowa Gordon ("Twilight"), Natasha Alam ("True Blood") and Joseph R. Gannascoli ("The Sopranos").

Read More: Watch this film for free and raise money for charity

The film's producer Atit Shah told Indiewire that they fielded "various distribution offers" but they "weren't matching up to expectations." They also applied to some of the "A-list festivals, but without the connections and A-list stars, it seems to be impossible to get in them," Shah said.

Instead of settling on a distribution offer they weren't comfortable with, Kennedy and Shah decided to keep the rights to the film and self-distribute -- using Kickstarter as a platform. They've already raised more than $7,000 towards their $10,000 goal with 31 days still left.

The funds raised on Kickstarter will go towards renting theater space and promoting and marketing the film, for which they are planning a four-walled limited US theatrical release across major cities starting in New York and Los Angeles. Their goal is for their film to be available through VOD and streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon and iTunes.

It's not the first time that filmmakers have raised distribution funds via Kickstarter, but Shah and Kennedy are hoping to be a model for other filmmakers who want to go it their own way when it comes to distribution.

"We're trying to finance our own limited theatrical release and to be able to get the film on prominent streaming networks," said Kennedy. "Now with access to technology, not only can we make a film outside o the studio system, but we're trying to prove that a small film like ours can have a life outside of traditional distribution."

Check out Kickstarter page here and the campaign video below:


This article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit: Crowdfunding, Crowdfunding, Kickstarter , Filmmaker Toolkit: Distribution, Tech





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