[There is] new trend of celebrities using crowd-funding...
Zach Braff, writer/director/star of the great indie film Garden State, used Kickstarter to fund his movie Wish I Was Here. He wanted $2 million, and quickly raised $3 million.
Kickstarter should be used by a new [independent] filmmaker..., not Braff – who has millions of his own money and…could’ve just used his own $2 million to make a movie of his choice.
Here’s where it all gets even more controversial. Braff ended up selling his movie to Focus Features, for a reported $2.75 million at Sundance this year. Now a few of the backers of the movie are wondering if they get any special benefits for their financial contributions. They were given a big fat “NO!”
The Kickstarter page states the legal position. It reads: “Current SEC laws prevent Kickstarter from offering equity or financial returns. Project creators keep 100% ownership of their work. Kickstarter cannot be used to offer financial returns or equity, or solicit loans. Some projects that are funded on Kickstarter may go on to make money, but backers are supporting projects to help them come to life, not financially profit.”
Tina-Desiree Berg: "The main problem I see with Kickstarter and IndieGoGo has to do with the elimination of financial risk. For the most part, filmmaking is a for-profit industry. You have investors and they should be rewarded with ROI if they invest in your project. Most film producers are not 501(c)3’s and they are clearly in it for the money. ...They are taking in a lot of money that they have no intention of repaying. Further, they are keeping 100% of the profits from film sales and advances. Those making the donations seeing none of the tax benefits of so-doing…unless, of course, the project is a legitimate 501(c)3. ...
This was the correct way to go about it. It should be the norm and not the exception....But it has truly morphed into something that can effectively damage the way indie film production is financed and perceived. If you fleece your fans in this way, they will become disgusted. And rightfully so. They gave you more than $3 million. You collected $2.75 million in profit from the first sale, without putting any of your own money up – ergo, no risk, and without paying a dime of it back to your investors. All you gave them was a lousy T-shirt. Not a good trend.”
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