Earlier this summer, indie stalwarts Mark and Jay Duplass, alongside Seed&Spark, the film-focused crowdfunding platform with built-in distribution, announced a brand new initiative designed to find and bolster new filmmaking talent all over the country. Their Hometown Heroes partnership was designed to challenge “filmmakers from all over the country to tell stories that have never been told from wherever they are,” including a large-scale call for crowdfunding campaigns for narrative feature films on the Seed&Spark platform.
Submissions opened for the initiative in August, and campaigns began running last week (going through October 13). In the first six days of the rally alone, the campaigns have altogether raised $259k and gained 11k followers. As of this writing, 73 projects from 26 states (aiming to raise over $1 million in total funds) are currently in the running. A number of projects directly impacted and displaced from Hurricane Harvey are also still in the competition. (You can check out the full scope below in the map infographic.)
Homespun filmmaking is a topic (understandably) close to the brothers’ hearts. “Our motivation for supporting Hometown Heroes is to provide the next generation of filmmakers with resources that may otherwise be out of their reach,” Mark Duplass told IndieWire. “Having started out as two brothers with a camera, we know the incredible effort, resourcefulness, and creativity it takes to make a film on your own. Partnering with Seed&Spark on Hometown Heroes means we get to celebrate and empower new and diverse voices, and give an opportunity for these undiscovered teams and talents a chance to shine.”
People can support each campaign by funding directly through the Seed&Spark platform, or by simply following the projects. The 10 successfully funded campaigns with the most campaign followers at the end of the rally will go on as finalists to pitch the Duplass brothers in October.
Up to five winning projects will be picked from those that apply, and the Duplass brothers will then contribute up to $25,000 total, while also joining each project as executive producers. The pair also hope to use their knowledge and industry clout to further help each project on its path to the big screen. One grand prize winner will also win a 16TB G-Tech hard drive and a week-long Canon 4K Cine Rental Package from AbelCine. Filmmakers in select states are also eligible for additional local prizes.
The initiative doesn’t just encourage fresh talents, but furthers the idea that indie filmmaking can happen anywhere.
“Hometown Heroes is a part of Seed&Spark mission to create sustainable filmmaking anywhere and everywhere,” Seed&Spark founder Emily Best told IndieWire. “It’s a chance for filmmakers everywhere to get a shot at a Hollywood opportunity – not by moving away from home, but rather by investing in their hometown community – using their local resources and talent. It’s a chance for communities to come together to recognize and support the talent right there.”
Find out more over at Seed&Spark, including how to contribute and follow the various Hometown Heroes projects.