Filmmaking may be democratized by more-affordable technologies, but it still costs a hell of a lot of money to get your film seen. From making prints to booking theaters to sales agents to publicists, the expenses stack up. From the 2011 crop of Sundance films, three are currently searching for funds to get their films out to a wider audience.
U.S. Dramatic Competition film "On the Ice" joins Park City at Midnight alums "Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same" and "The Oregonian" in a quest for funds from, yes, People Like You. Take a look at what they're looking for below.
The Project: Andrew Okpeaha MacLean's "On the Ice" debuted as part of the U.S. Narrative Competition and Native Showcase at this year's Sundance Film Festival, won a Crystal Bear in the Generation 14+ youth section of the 2011 Berlinale. In "On the Ice," set in the ice-cold reaches of Barrow, Alaska, two young Iñupiaq men, Qalli and Aivaaq, must cover up the death of a friend of theirs -- a death that was partially their fault.
Amount Project is Looking to Raise: $80,000
Distribution Plan: From Kickstarter: "Despite the success we’ve had on the festival circuit, traditional distributors are scared of a film with no famous faces, set in a community far outside the mainstream. Awards or not, they don’t want to take a chance on a small, independent film without recognizable stars to help sell it.
"It’s been great taking this film all over the world and introducing it to audiences, but we didn’t make this film just to play it in festivals. So we’re finding another way. Through Kickstarter we’re hoping to raise enough to be able to release the film in at least ten theaters across the country.
"Many great films over the past few years never made it to theaters because the industry couldn’t find a place for them, but with your help we can prove that it is possible for a film like ours to succeed - that audiences will come to a film with a fresh voice, a story full of suspense and humor, with characters and a world unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. We think 'On the Ice' deserves to be seen, and we hope you do too."
The Project: Calvin Lee Reeder's creepy atmospheric "The Oregonian" creeped out the Kickstarter staff as well as audiences at Sundance and beyond. The film sends the viewer into the deep forest in the Pacific Northwest, where a host of surprises -- a lost and wandering woman, an intimidating trucker, a woman with strange powers -- await.
Amount Project is Looking to Raise: $8,500
Distribution Plan: Able to find theatrical distribution with Cinemad Presents and digital distribution through the Sundance Institute, "The Oregonian" writes: "With the money we raise here we will be hiring a publicist, printing posters and hopefully running a few ads in local weeklies. These things will get the word out and we need that. The Clinton Street theater in Portland is an amazing venue, but it's way cooler when people are actually there. So, in an attempt to fill some seats and make people aware of its very existence, we need some help!"
The Project: Part of Sundance's Park City at Midnight genre program, Madeleine Olnek's "Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same," about the troubles of a group of intergalactic visitors in the New York lesbian dating scene, had audiences rolling in the floors. Now, the film is setting out on its own course to bring the film to a larger audience.
Amount Project is Looking to Raise: $7,000
Distribution Plan: She's looking more for finishing funds than money for self distribution. Says Olnek on her Kickstarter page, "While the film is in watchable shape -- and getting great responses -- I need money to finish the details and get it ready for distribution. It's not much, and it will allow me to really get the film out there to the underserved lesbian space alien community. There is already interest but only if I do the final push and get all the i's dotted and t's crossed. I really appreciate anything you can give. I believe in making films for as little as humanly possible -- and in making them as funny, interesting, and great as inhumanly possible."