2012 really seems to be shaping up as the year of crowdfunding for New Zealand documentary. I recently wrote about Pietra Brettkelly’s campaign to raise funds for Maori Boy Genius, and now
four five more crowdfunding campaigns for NZ documentary projects have come to my attention:
Cloud South Films is using the New Zealand crowdfunding platform Pledge Me to raise funds for Fracking Whakatutu. It’s the first flexible funding campaign on PledgeMe, which means that every dollar pledged to this project will be charged to the pledger, and donations start from $5.
Filmmakers Tom and Sumner Burstyn demonstrated how effective social media can be (when used skillfully) to mobilise audiences with This Way of Life, which now has over 9,000 Facebook followers. Fracking Whakatutu promises to be equally successful; the campaign trailer represents a community of interest lending their support to the project and appealing to the audience to get involved, and it’s a compelling call to action.
The Fracking Whakatutu Pledge Me campaign has 77 days to go, check it out here.
Running For His Life
Wellington Filmmaker Anna Cottrell has been filming Terefe Ejigu for over six years:
Terefe left Ethiopia when he was 13 to join his refugee mother in Wellington, New Zealand. He hadn’t seen her for seven years. He spoke no English when he enrolled at one of New Zealand’s top boys’ schools, Wellington College. Five years later, he was a school prefect and a role model. Early on he was spotted as a gifted athlete and represented New Zealand on the track. His dream – to follow in the footsteps of other internationally known Ethiopian athletes to the Olympics.
Anna has turned to Indie Go Go to raise money to travel to the USA with Terefe’s mother Mulu to see Terefe graduate from Eastern Michigan University. At the time of writing this post, Running For His Life was just $85 short of the film’s US$7,050 fundraising target (with 34 days left), so it’s pretty safe to say that this campaign has already been successful.
Taranaki filmmaker Paora Joseph won the Best Up and Coming Director Award and Best Short Film Award at the Documentary Edge Festival last year for the film Hiding Behind the Green Screen. Paora has used the Australian crowdfunding platform Pozible to raise funds for Tatarakihi and successfully raised A$8494, exceeded the target of A$7500.
TATARAKIHI – THE CHILDREN OF PARIHAKA tells the journey undertaken by children who are the survivors of Parihaka. The children retrace the steps of their Parihaka ancestors who in the late 1800s were forcibly removed from their peaceful village in Taranaki and incarcerated for indefinite periods without trial over a thirty-year period in South Island prisons. The children’s bus journey through New Zealand weaves a delicate tapestry of narration, poetry, song and archival image to tell a haunting story that spans five generations.
Broke But Sexy
Broke But Sexy, a series of short films about New Zealand artists living and working in Berlin also exceeded its target, raising NZ$3,320 on Pledge Me. The project is a collaboration between German filmmaker Gaby Lingke and New Zealand journalist Julie Hill. Broke But Sexy was the first documentary project funded through Pledge Me and has just screened at Te Papa.
It’s really exciting to see so many New Zealand filmmakers successfully using alternative methods to raise funds for their films. To me, the fact that audiences have been so supportive of these projects is evidence that audiences really are hungry for quality New Zealand documentaries.
All of these projects are distinctly New Zealand, but they tell stories that are universally appealing, and I’m curious to know how much international interest has been generated by these crowdfunding campaigns and what the benefits have been for filmmakers, beyond financial support.
It gets even better! I’ve just been informed me that another NZ documentary has reached its target on PledgeMe recently…
Dregs – NZ Street Art Documentary
Karl Sheridan and Cinzah Merkens reached $5,555 towards
… an editor, post production VFX (including titles and transitions), the final grade to be done at a professional post house, DVD creation and distribution and hire costs of premiering the film on the big screen.
Visit www.dregs.co.nz to find out more about this documentary on New Zealand’s street art culture.