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Monday, January 14, 2008

IndieGoGo: A Social Network for Filmmakers Raising Money (and Their Backers)

Almost a year ago, I wrote about IndieGoGo in Variety, as part of a new wave of efforts to use the Internet for film financing. (Back then, the site was still mostly a concept, and it was called Project Keiyaku.)

Now, the site has officially launched.

I do want to see someone succeed, and create a networking hub where filmmakers can raise money. But I think filmmakers and financiers are right to be skeptical... you can see some of the debate about the model on this earlier post about IndieMaverick, a UK-based financing site. (One thing that would make me more comfortable with IndieGoGo would be an actual address, and names listed on the site of who is behind it. I know the principals, and that they're based in Berkeley, Calif., but I'm not a filmmaker or financier coming to the site for the first time...) What will it take for someone to succeed? A well-known filmmaker successfully using one of the sites to raise money for a project.

From IndieGoGo's official press release:

    “DIY has been long the mantra of independent filmmaking and financing. At IndieGoGo, we push that to the next level with DIWO, “Do It With Others” which more accurately reflects the active communal process required to launch film projects”, said Slava Rubin, IndieGoGo Founder and Chief of Strategy and Marketing. “Using the tools IndieGoGo offers, we aim to empower artists to realize their goals and bring more relevant films to the people. Online fundraising is accelerating, the cost of production is falling, social networking is approaching mainstream, and user-controlled media is the future. As these trends accelerate, IndieGoGo offers a new marketplace to turn ideas into film, and fans into insiders.”

    ...In its pre-launch phase, IndieGoGo sought developmental feedback from a wide range of filmmakers and industry leaders. FLOW: FOR LOVE OF WATER, directed by Irena Salina and produced by Steven Starr, was selected by IndieGoGo to be its first Showcase project and was subsequently selected to World Premiere in competition at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Other noted filmmakers planning to include projects on the site include Christopher Roberts (THE BELIEVER), Lance Weiler (THE LAST BROADCAST, HEAD TRAUMA), Michael Roiff (WAITRESS, AMERICAN SON), M dot Strange (WE ARE THE STRANGE), Michealene Cristini Risley (TAPESTRIES OF HOPE), Brett Gaylor (BASEMENT TAPES), Beth Murphy (BEYOND BELIEF), and Yung Chang (UP THE YANGTZE) which is also featured in the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

    ...Slava Rubin will represent IndieGoGo on the GOING IT ALONE: DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION FOR INDIE FILMMAKERS panel at the Sundance Film Festival on Wednesday, January 23, 12:30 pm at the New Frontier on Main Microcinema.

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