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5 Projects That Kickstarter Helped Get Off The Ground Featuring Talent Such As Paul Schrader, Charlie Kaufman, Jeremy Renner & More

The Playlist By Leah Zak | The Playlist October 12, 2012 at 2:00PM

While risky or unconventional films have always had their share of challenges making their way to theatres, it seems that lately, the well has run dry for studios that were at one time willing to bet on a project with less mainstream appeal. And thus the rise of crowd-funding and the growing popularity of websites like Kickstarter as a way to fund the production and distribution of new independent films. Those of us watching such a trend, however, have been surprised to discover the pedigree of filmmakers popping up on the site in the past year, from names like Paul Schrader to Charlie Kaufman to Barry Mendel -- directors and producers who have spent most of their Hollywood career on the fringes are embracing a new found freedom in funding that doesn’t come with a barrage of studio notes, re-edits and the risk of creative compromise.
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Hotel Noir

Hotel Noir
This stylized black-and-white tale comes to theatres this weekend care of 1,871 backers who raised $81,552 (that’s $31,552 over the production’s goal). Perhaps one of the most surprising of the Kickstarter graduates, ‘Hotel’ rode out of the festival circuit on positive reviews and boasts a solid cast, including Rosario Dawson, Mandy Moore, Carla Gugino, Malin Ackerman, Danny DeVito, Rufus Sewell, Robert Forster and Kevin Connolly ("Entourage") amongst others, yet could only find distribution on VOD. The project came to the site completed, but looking for funding for distribution in theatres, which writer/director Guttierez hopes will give it a better shot at being seen by bigger audiences. A theatrical debut will also qualify it come awards season. The film premiered on VOD on October 9th and can be seen in theaters at Cinema Village in New York starting this Friday.

Ingenious Jeremy Renner

Ingenious
Another project that came to Kickstarter already complete but looking for funds to help with distribution is “Ingenious.” Starring Jeremy Renner and Dallas Roberts, “Ingenious” is the true story of how an invention took off -- the name of which the filmmakers have kept a mystery. Sales from the product on which the film is based are what actually funded the production of the film, and in coming to Kickstarter, producers hoped that they would be able to finish and distribute “Ingenious” outside of the studio system as well. The project is still live on the site, and with two days remaining, the goal has already been surpassed, and producers will receive their funding. Hopefully we’ll see a theatrical release in the coming months (and we’ll learn what the mystery product is that inspired and funded the film).

God Help The Girl

God Help the Girl
Last but not least, another film that boasts a few familiar names but one you might not suspect to find under the “film” category. “God Help the Girl” is the brainchild of musician Stuart Murdoch, who wrote the screenplay with the intention to direct. With an appropriately melancholy, yet whimsical premise we’ve come to expect from work by the Belle and Sebastian frontman (the campaign site describes the project as “a story of renaissance over a long, dream-like summer”), the musical has been in the works for some time; producer Barry Mendel came on board as far back as 2007, and an album of the same name -- meant as a pre-cursor to the film -- was released in 2009. ‘Girl’ made its way to Kickstarter in early 2012, and by the February deadline had raised their $100,000 goal with a few extra thousand to spare. Production began this summer with Hannah Murray and Emily Browning in the leads, and the latest on the project comes from Murdoch himself, who posted on the film’s website in mid-August, announcing production had wrapped and editing was underway.

There are more films popping up on Kickstarter every day and if these models work, expect even more. Want to support what hundreds have backed? If you’re in New York, check out “Hotel Noir” in theatres this weekend, care of “viewers like you.”

This article is related to: Kickstarter , Ingenious, Hotel Noir, Anomalisa, The Canyons


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