Steven Soderbergh Explains Why He Backed Spike Lee's Kickstarter; Raphael Saadiq Lined Up To Provide Music

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by Kevin Jagernauth
July 28, 2013 9:58 AM
13 Comments
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...and the great Kickstarter experiment continues with Spike Lee, who launched the campaign for his next untitled movie last week. As it gets to its seventh day, he has raised $310,000, which means he will need to keep the cash rolling it at the current rate just to get to the $1.25 million he's looking for by time the Kickstarter project ends in just over three weeks. But Spike hasn't been quiet. On Friday he drew more attention to his campaign by sharing his list of Essential Films for filmmakers he gives his students at NYU, and there's been even more from the filmmaker over the weekend.

First up, Lee has revealed that smooth soul artist Raphael Saadiq will be providing the music to the movie, about which there are little details except that it will be about blood and feature lots of skin. It's certainly an interesting direction for the director who usually teams with Terrence Blanchard on his various joints (though Bruce Hornsby scored "Red Hook Summer," and Michael Nyman is tuning up "Oldboy"). But perhaps the biggest piece of press surrounding this whole Kickstarter thing has come from Steven Soderbergh.

The filmmaker dropped $10,000 of his own cash on Lee's venture, giving him a reward of a dinner and a seat at a Knicks game with Lee. And he's since released a statement about why he's supporting Lee's movie, which we've shared an excerpt from below (you can read it in full here):

"...as I was attempting to find my own voice and place in the film world, three independent American filmmakers in particular attracted my attention and expanded my idea of what was possible; David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch, and Spike Lee. These were distinctive new voices, and the freedom (and success) they represented was liberating and energizing; these were shoulders I would try to stand on, that I would be proud to stand on.

Certain filmmakers exist outside the traditional parameters of criticism; their point of view and body of work make discussions about individual films interesting but ultimately irrelevant because each project is merely a chapter in a very long book that must (and will) be acknowledged and appreciated for its breadth, ambition, and contributions to the art of cinema. For me, Spike Lee is one of those filmmakers."

Meanwhile, just as in the "Veronica Mars" and Zach Braff campaigns, questions have been raised about whether or not it's right for Lee to be asking for public money, when his own bank account could likely withstand funding the movie all on its own. And he addresses the issue, somewhat, in the video below, claiming that he's been hustling for money ever since "She's Gotta Have It" in 1986, and it's no different now, except that the power of social media is now available. (Though, the fact that he arguably has many more doors open now goes unacknowledged.) He also adds that he's bringing a whole new audience of people of color to Kickstarter in general, who may have never heard of the crowdfunding tool. Finally, he says that it's harder to raise $1 million for a movie than $25 million, as the perception is that it's more difficult to make your money back on the former.

Lots to talk about for sure, so check out Lee's comments in full below. [Shadow & Act/Deadline]

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13 Comments

  • Adam | August 1, 2013 1:35 PMReply

    Remember when Spike Lee made commercials with Michael Jordan. How about making a few more commercials and he can make his movie.

  • Meindert | July 29, 2013 7:10 AMReply

    What about asking for 25mil and donate the 24mil left over to charity?

  • Grace | July 29, 2013 4:04 AMReply

    I went to NYU grad film in the late 1980-early '90s, and I remember first walking down its"hallowed" hall lined with film posters by all the directors who had gone there: Spike, Jarmusch, Scorcese, Oliver Stone, Ang Lee, etc. you name it; the filmmakers who had inspired me to go to NYU. And then as the years passed, it was amazing to see that none of them gave back to NYU - there were no endowments, scholarships, guest teaching, NOTHING. Except for Spike Lee - only Spike Lee had set up a fund for black filmmakers, and I loved him immediately for that. He was the only one who gave back. Kickstarter is easy compared to what one has to do raise money to make your films at NYU. What Spike Lee has done with his talent and heart is extra-ordinary. I wish he was there when I was attending; there were no filmmakers teaching. I can't say enough how rare what Spike Lee, as a mega-successful filmmaker, is doing for young filmmakers. Even the great filmmaker Steven Soderbergh pays his respect. Keep on rockin' Mr. Lee; we need you. And oh yeah, thank you.

  • ben | August 1, 2013 1:17 PM

    yeah we know its you spike

  • Michael | July 28, 2013 7:09 PMReply

    I bet if David Lynch Kickstarted, he'd walk away with twice as much as he asked for.

  • Mark | July 28, 2013 10:59 AMReply

    I'd rather see 250 $1 million Spike Lee movies than 1 $250 million Lone Ranger movie.

  • james | July 28, 2013 9:13 PM

    I'd evenly spilt $250 million to 250 other filmmakers before I would even consider giving a penny to the great hack Spike Lee.

  • james | July 28, 2013 9:12 PM

    I'd evenly spilt $250 million to 250 other filmmakers before I would even consider giving a penny to the great hack Spike Lee.

  • Steven Flores | July 28, 2013 5:07 PM

    HELL YEAH!!!!

  • Chris | July 28, 2013 2:11 PM

    Right on.

  • LeonRaymond | July 28, 2013 1:32 PM

    @ Mark I agree 100% I do agree

  • Skywater | July 28, 2013 1:18 PM

    Ah, so you've contributed?

  • Zach | July 28, 2013 11:46 AM

    Hear hear.

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