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Tag Archives: Indies

Investors Provide $1 Million Investment to Shore Up Seed&Spark, a Crowdfunding Platform that Funds and Distributes Independent Films

12 Aug

The investment in documentary and narrative films gives a huge boost to women due to the fact that within the entrepreneurship film space, 58% of all films successfully funded on Seed&Spark are led or co-led by women

By Robert Hoskins

Los Angeles, CaliforniaSeed&Spark closed an important round of $1 million in seed venture capital to expand its operations. In addition to the cash infusion, two seasoned film and entertainment executives will join the crowdfunding platform’s board of directors.  Julie Parker Benello (co-founder of Chicken & Egg Pictures and Gamechanger Films) and producer and Veritas Prep founder Chad Troutwine (Oscar-winning UndefeatedFreakonomicsPrint the Legend) will join the board later this month.

Seed&Spark is building a truly independent filmmaking community where filmmakers and audiences come together for crowd-funding, production, and streaming distribution

Seed&Spark is building a truly independent filmmaking community where filmmakers and audiences come together for crowd-funding, production, and streaming distribution

Earlier this year, Parker Benello, along with Chicken & Egg Pictures co-founder Wendy Ettinger, launched Gamechanger films with Dan Cogan and Geralyn Dreyfous of Impact Partners to “shift the gender disparity in the film marketplace.” Parker Benello’s commitment to women in film both in documentaries and narrative films now extends to entrepreneurship in the film space. 58% of film projects successfully funded on Seed&Spark are led or co-led by women, a statistic Seed&Spark founder and CEO Emily Best attributes to the fact that women are so marginalized in the film industry they’re willing to take a risk on newer platforms. “It could also be that our company leadership is almost entirely women.”

Says Parker Benello, “I am excited to join Seed & Spark as an advisor, given the company’s interest in promoting women directors, both documentary and narrative, on their innovative crowdfunding and streaming platform. I look forward to working with the team to help build out the company while furthering the work of many filmmakers supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures and invested in by Gamechanger Films.”

“We are honored to add two incredibly experienced film producers to our board who are deeply invested in the social impact of the films they make,” says Seed&Spark founder and CEO Emily Best. “What’s more exciting is that we have been able to communicate our company’s mission as an impact investment. We are deeply committed to building tools to give access to a greater diversity of creators—tools we believe can help creators make a sustainable living from their craft.”

“We’re not taking the approach of building this company with money. We wanted to engage the community and grow organically only on the strength of what the community finds valuable about what we’re offering. It means we’ve been able to get a long way with a tiny fraction of the money our competitors have raised. It also means that more of our resources can get poured back into the community because we don’t have so much to pay back,” says Best. “We also hope that we can demonstrate to filmmakers that the strength of this community is more powerful than money. And we can build a sustainable business this way – together!”

Says Troutwine, who most recently produced Print the Legend, which was nabbed by Netflix Originals at SXSW, “There is an exciting new frontier in distribution, one that can more greatly benefit both creators and audiences. Seed&Spark’s founding team of filmmakers understands they’re working for the audience.”

The lead in this round is the Wadsworth Family investment fund Manitou Ventures. Other investors include producer and philanthropist Abigail Disney, Catapult Film Fun co-founder Lisa Kleiner-Chanoff, Emmy-winning producer and Spacestation Founder Matthew Mills, Mitro founder Vijay Pandurangan, and angel investor Deborah Meijer among others.

Having just announced a distribution partnership with American Express, Seed&Spark plans to pursue more distribution partnerships, “to put truly independent content in front of the widest possible audiences and make sure the creators benefit,” says Best.

Seed&Spark is a truly independent film community where filmmakers and audiences join forces to fund, promote and watch the best new independent films. As a selective crowdfunding platform and curated streaming service, Seed&Spark is an online destination for engaged audiences to get involved in exceptional projects at all stages. Seed&Spark’s film specific crowdfunding tool – the “WishList” – allows supporters to buy or loan specific items to a production. Every time an audience member supports a project, they earn rewards points called “Sparks” which they can spend to watch films on the streaming platform. Supporting films gives audiences greater access to watch them.

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Indiegogo, Kickstarter and Tugg Headline Crowdfunding Event at SXSW in Austin, Texas

24 Feb

 John Trigonis, Indiegogo; Elisabeth Holm, Kickstarter; and Nicolas Gonda, Tugg to Headline One-Hour Crowdfunding Presentation on the Potential of the Crowd

By Robert Hoskins

The Art of the Hustle/Hustling for Art: Kickstarter + Indie Filmmaking
by Elisabeth Holm
From 2010-2013 over 90 Kickstarter-funded films have played SXSW, raising funds and engaging communities throughout their creative process. From GIMME THE LOOT and 12 O’CLOCK BOYS to “Slomo” and GIRL WALK ALL DAY, Kickstarter-funded films of all stripes are the toast of Austin and beyond, and they’re made by some of the 12,000+ successfully-funded filmmakers who’ve seen over $188M pledged to their films.

SXSW Interactive March 8 Austin 2014 Crowdfunding Events

Indiegogo and Kickstarter to Present Crowdfunding Films Presentation at SXSW Film Crowdfunding Event on March 8 in Austin, TX

These creators are true hustlers — growing communities, raising the profile of their projects, gaining new resources, contacts, and insights into their audiences, all while funding and making their art. To date 50,000+ Kickstarter creators have connected with over 5M backers pledging not only for rewards but to be part of projects they love. Can’t knock the hustle. Time to get yours on. Read more…

Crowdfund a Simple Idea to the Silver Screen” by John Trigonis
Take a look at crowdfunding films on Indiegogo with John T. Trigonis, Indiegogo’s Campaign Specialist for Film & Video, and Author of ‘Crowdfunding for Filmmakers: The Way to a Successful Film Campaign,’ and learn how it is a very smart option for up-and-coming filmmakers and not just A-list movie stars.

Trigonis will discuss how he helps hundreds of industry professionals use Indiegogo to open doors and create the movies they want to make with less hassles afforded them by the more traditional modes of film financing. With new campaigns launched on the platform daily, Trigonis will use the latest, hottest film and video campaigns on the platform as examples on how future filmmakers can successfully crowdfund their upcoming projects. Read more…

Why We Should Crowd Source” by Nicolas Gonda
Crowdsourcing is the most powerful new tool for building communities and engaging fans. As co-founder of the audience-driven theatrical distribution platform, Tugg, Nicolas Gonda will explore how crowdsourcing is democratizing the entertainment business, by empowering artists, influencers, and audiences to collaborate and achieve together what would otherwise have been impossible.

By looking at examples of crowdsourcing today – from funding consumer products like Pebble to bringing together a city for Batkid – we’ll assess the future of crowdsourcing and its increasing presence in our lives. Read more…

Click here to see the full Crowdfunding SXSW Event Lineup in Austin, Texas beginning March 7, 2014

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Crowdfunding Industry Rolls Out the Red Carpet to Hollywood and Indies with First Crowdfunding Film Festival in California

29 May

Crowdfunding Film Festival Set to Roll Out the Red Carpet to Hollywood and Independent Filmmakers to Promote Revolutionary New Public Equity Crowdfunding Finance Tool

By Robert Hoskins

The First Annual International CrowdFunding Film Festival will be held October 2-6, 2013 in San Francisco. The film fest will bring together artists, filmmakers, entertainment and video game creators to showcase their craft, network and  raise money through the new crowdfunding finance tool. The film festival has plans to collaborate with film schools in New York, London and Paris.

Crowdfunding Film Festival Set to Roll Out the Red Carpet to Hollywood and Independent Filmmakers to Promote Revolutionary New Public Equity Finance Tool

Crowdfunding Film Festival Set to Roll Out the Red Carpet to Hollywood and Independent Filmmakers to Promote Revolutionary New Public Equity Crowdfunding Finance Tool

Film students from universities all around the country are increasingly looking to crowdfunding to find backing for their projects. With over countless films successfully funded through crowdfunding portals such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, Hollywood is now paying close attention to all this movement.

Director/Writer Rob Thomas has raised over $5.7 million for his movie “Veronica Mars” while Zach Braff’s feature “Wish I Was Here” has raised $2.6 million in donations. San Francisco State Student Sterling Cook keen on exploring crowdfunding of finance for production projects.

“I see in these directors, writers, and cinematographers, the same core passion for innovation. They are not only artists but more importantly, entrepreneurs – they are seeking to touch the world and make a difference through their films. We know of their struggle to find financial backing and I believe crowdfunding will be the answer,” stated the ICFFF’s organizer Sydney Armani.

A film production involves collaboration between dozens of creative groups and getting all the individual pieces to fit together is similar to managing a business. Crowdfunding is changing the production landscape and the movie industry is currently experiencing a real game changer

Ted Hope, advocate of America’s Independent Cinema Movement and Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society, provides deeper insight into the current state of the film industry in his blog post “Why I Left New York for the San Francisco Film Festival.”

He said, “Our entertainment economy and the art it supports, was built upon the concepts of scarcity and control, but today’s reality is one of super-abundance and access – the exact opposite. To survive and flourish, today’s artists/entrepreneurs–and those who support them–must all embrace practices that extend beyond the core skills of development, production, and post-production of their art and reach beyond the attention and practice of marketing and distribution.” The meaning behind Hope’s words echoes the exact spirit and foundation that is the core of Silicon Valley’s passion for entrepreneurship and reflects the same spirit represented by the film festival.

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Sundance Film Festival Announcements Reveal Crowdfunding Trends

22 Jan

By Robert Hoskins

Seed&Spark, Dogfish Accelerator, and Nice Dissolve revealed today at the Sundance Film Festival a group of independent film makes are building  a  new community forum, www.stayindiefilm.com, to help independent filmmakers Crowdfund their films in order to remain independent filmmakers.

“We are three companies working together to innovate the industry from different angles to restore true independence to filmmaking. This includes introducing new business models, financing and distribution channels as well as using technology and social media for film projects,“ said Emily Best, founder and CEO of Seed&Spark. “Creative collaboration and transparency are the cornerstones of innovation. We want to gather and share the wisdom of the independent filmmaker’s crowd to move the film industry forward together.”

Beginning at Sundance, the three partners will engage with filmmakers around the world to share best practices and new ways of creating movies that combine artful storytelling with audience engagement and sound business practices. They will meet them at film and media festivals. In addition, filmmakers can participate via the website, Twitter and Facebook.

“By getting all great minds together, we can form a community around best practices across the film industry. We won’t waste our time trying to reinvent the wheel, instead we will build a very fast, energy-efficient car, “ added James Belfer, co-founder and CEO of Dogfish Accelerator.

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