California Fire Relief Efforts: Harrison Ford PSA To Affected Fellow Actors; Thanksgiving For Malibu’s Displaced; Donations & Crowdfunding Efforts

As the fire-relief effort continues in California, Harrison Ford has reached out to SAG-AFTRA members affected by the wildfires to let them know that help is available. “If you need help, ask. If you can help, give,” he said in a pre-Thanksgiving publi…

As the fire-relief effort continues in California, Harrison Ford has reached out to SAG-AFTRA members affected by the wildfires to let them know that help is available. "If you need help, ask. If you can help, give," he said in a pre-Thanksgiving public service announcement for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation (watch it below). "Because we're not just actors, voice-over artists, broadcasters and recording actors — we're family, and family sticks together. "The devastation and…

‘Shadowhunters’ Producer Updates On Furture As #SaveShadowhunters Campaign Goes Global

EXCLUSIVE: While it may not be the confirmation Shadowhunters fans are hoping for just yet, producer Martin Moszkowicz tells Deadline discussions are ongoing as to “how we can continue to bring Cassandra Clare’s vision to television.”
The …

EXCLUSIVE: While it may not be the confirmation Shadowhunters fans are hoping for just yet, producer Martin Moszkowicz tells Deadline discussions are ongoing as to “how we can continue to bring Cassandra Clare's vision to television.” The series is currently due to end after its 3rd season on Freeform in the U.S. and Netflix internationally with two extra episodes ordered to act as a finale and wrap the story. The expanded 12-episode final season, dubbed Shadowhunters: Th…

Sony Pictures Television Acquires Wattpad Story ‘Death Is My BFF’

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Television has acquired the rights to Katarina E. Tonks’s story series Death Is My BFF, which bowed via Wattpad, the Toronto-based storytelling app that combines crowdsourced content and other material.
Paul Shapiro, who brough…

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Television has acquired the rights to Katarina E. Tonks's story series Death Is My BFF, which bowed via Wattpad, the Toronto-based storytelling app that combines crowdsourced content and other material. Paul Shapiro, who brought the project to Sony, will executive produce under his All In Media banner, along with Wattpad’s Aron Levitz and Eric Lehrman. Tonks's Death Is My BFF series of stories have more than 92 million reads to date on…

Cassian Elwes Launches Crowdfunding Venture Movie Collective With Indie Filmmaker Marcus Markou

Indie film producer Cassian Elwes has launched Movie Collective, a new crowdfunding film venture which invites fans to invests in a slate of upcoming film projects via equity on social platform Crowdcube.com. The joint venture is being done with another indie filmmaker Marcus Markou.
“The exciting part of this is to try to find alternative financing for film,” Elwes told Deadline. “It’s really difficult right now to get financing for anything other than superhero films. I…

Indie film producer Cassian Elwes has launched Movie Collective, a new crowdfunding film venture which invites fans to invests in a slate of upcoming film projects via equity on social platform Crowdcube.com. The joint venture is being done with another indie filmmaker Marcus Markou. “The exciting part of this is to try to find alternative financing for film,” Elwes told Deadline. “It’s really difficult right now to get financing for anything other than superhero films. I…

Neill Blomkamp Is Crowdfunding an Indie Studio That Will Make a ‘Firebase’ Feature

The “District 9” director sees Pixar and video game distribution as models for building a sustainable community for Oats Studios.

For the last few years, Vancouver-based Oats Studios has been home to director Neill Blomkamp and key collaborators, where they make experimental shorts when they aren’t working on his Hollywood-backed sci-fi films. This morning, the company launched a crowdfunding campaign for its first indie feature, but it’s not on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or Seed & Spark. Instead, they’re using a platform built on the studio’s website, promising backers they will shoot something no matter what they raise.

Blomkamp explained the campaign isn’t simply about raising funds for “Firebase,” the feature follow-up to Oats’ popular short, but that this a first step in a multi-year journey to making Oats sustainable.

“For the average audience, crowdfunded films tend to be films that Hollywood wouldn’t make, so crowdfunding is a stepping stone toward making your film,” said Blomkamp. “This is not that. This is, ‘How do we build a studio that exists as a venue that people can always come to and get the content that we are making.’ Even though I don’t think crowdfunding should be in our model too much — we should just be making stuff for the lower price that we can sell it to keep the lights on — but I want it to be: If you want this weird sci-fi fantasy stuff, go to oatstudios.com.”

Behind the scenes of production at Oats Studios

Behind the scenes of production at Oats Studios

MIKE BLOMKAMP

Blomkamp, who is still working on larger studio projects, including one he believes will start production next winter, looks toward the gaming industry as a model for Oats.

“I look at games and the games industry a lot,” said Blomkamp. “It’s really fascinating that you have these self-enclosed ecosystems that are game companies that sell the entertainment they are making directly to the customers that like the stuff they are making, and they have this one-on-one relationship with them. Film is totally different. Coming out of this 100-year old model, it just behaves differently.”

Blomkamp believes the concept behind Oats is strong and worth the experiment, even if it means operating at a loss for a few years. At the heart of the indie studio is many of Blomkamp’s collaborators from his bigger movies, including producer Steven St. Arnaud and VFX supervisor Chris Harvey, who live in Vancouver when they aren’t shooting on location. A large part of Blomkamp’s vision for Oats is creating a “closed ecosystem” that’s constantly creating and working on projects.

“Is it possible to make more of a Pixar-esque approach to live action, where all of your crew that you get along with and work well with can be under one roof forever and don’t really break apart after every film,” said Blomkamp. “Everyone is freelance, everyone is contract, there is no snow globe they exist together in, you have to bring them together. I’m just very into the idea of building a very cohesive, creative thing, that is home base for us.”

The concept is for a under-one-roof creative place where everything from manufacturing costumes and prosthetics, to production, editing and visual effects is done in house. In addition to Pixar, Blomkamp again points to how the proposed model mimics how many 21st century game studios.

Blomkamp knows the first step toward these lofty goals is finding the global audience who wants Oats content. He admits that the crowdfunding campaign will likely not make as much money had he used an established platform, but that part of the motivation for the campaign is to making the Oats website a central hub.

“If you are trying to build a venue online that this kind of work comes from, you should also be crowdfunding it from that venue,” said Blomkamp.

The “Firebase” crowdfunding campaign is live here.

Blockchain Email Banned By Mailchimp Service, Denting Fundraising

In a move that further restricts entertainment and technology startup fundraising efforts, email service provider Mailchimp has declared it will no longer allow emails related to blockchain and initial coin offerings (ICO).
Mailchimp announced its policy change in an email to users, and has already begun shutting down accounts, including some from tech journalists and analysts who cover the nascent blockchain and cryptocurrency industries. The move comes on the heels of…

In a move that further restricts entertainment and technology startup fundraising efforts, email service provider Mailchimp has declared it will no longer allow emails related to blockchain and initial coin offerings (ICO). Mailchimp announced its policy change in an email to users, and has already begun shutting down accounts, including some from tech journalists and analysts who cover the nascent blockchain and cryptocurrency industries. The move comes on the heels of…

Telegram Set For Biggest Initial Coin Offering – But Skepticism Lingers

A messaging app that has drawn comparisons to Facebook’s WhatsApp has already raised $850 million in advance of its initial coin offering, and is seeking a second round of funding before launching to the public. That would make it the biggest ICO in history.
But reports are surfacing questioning Telegram’s plans, with some financiers questioning its technology claims, the lack of a revenue plan for the service, and concerns on who is using it. The venerable Forbes called…

A messaging app that has drawn comparisons to Facebook’s WhatsApp has already raised $850 million in advance of its initial coin offering, and is seeking a second round of funding before launching to the public. That would make it the biggest ICO in history. But reports are surfacing questioning Telegram’s plans, with some financiers questioning its technology claims, the lack of a revenue plan for the service, and concerns on who is using it. The venerable Forbes called…

Attention, Filmmakers: Crowdfunding Platform Seed&Spark Has Thousands of Dollars It Wants to Give You For Your Film

Exclusive: Seed&Spark is teaming up with the Duplass Brothers, WeTransfer, Bow and Arrow Entertainment, 3311Pictures, and The Orchard to offer fresh funding.

It’s Seed&Spark’s birthday, but filmmakers are the one poised to receive some very big gifts from the film-focused crowdfunding platform with built-in distribution. In celebration of its fifth birthday, Seed&Spark has announced a massive slate of crowdfunding rallies for 2018, bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars in matching loans, grants, and investments from prestige brands and production company partners to the filmmakers using their platform.

“It was just a rag-tag group of filmmakers who launched a rickety little crowdfunding and streaming platform in December of 2012, and we wanted to leverage the tools of the internet age to put the power of independence in the hands of filmmakers everywhere,” says Emily Best, founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, in an official statement. “Our goal was only a small part about raising money, and more about empowering creators to build a direct, lasting, and sustainable connection with their audience — to gather the data they need to make efficient marketing and distribution decisions, and most importantly, to provide them the tools to grow their careers.”

Over the past five years, Seed&Spark has continued to evolve, and Best has made it her business to develop and democratize crowdfunding to better serve those creators who need it most.

“What we saw was that by and large, if you and your audience came from money, it was easy to raise money. If you came from an under-resourced community or one that doesn’t have a lot of experience with online giving, it was harder to raise money,” said Best. “We met the challenge by building the educational tools that would make it possible for any filmmaker, anywhere to build a crowd from which they could raise money, to set reasonable goals, take it step by step, and succeed.”

Today, the Seed&Spark team teaches around 80 live events per year across the country. As a result, the platform has the highest crowdfunding campaign success rate in the world — more than 75% — and a pipeline of diverse creators from all over the country.

As part of the plan, the Duplass Brothers will host the second #HometownHeroes crowdfunding rally in 2018, and Bow and Arrow Entertainment, The Orchard, and premiere file sharing platform WeTransfer will host new rallies. Per Seed&Spark, A crowdfunding rally is a large scale call for crowdfunding campaigns around a certain theme or format, where all the campaigns launch and run for the same time period. During the 2017 #HometownHeroes crowdfunding rally for narrative feature films, the Duplass Brothers put up a $25,000 no interest loan and joined two projects as executive producers.

“The best thing about a crowdfunding rally is that there are no losers. Just by participating, the filmmaking teams raise money and gather audience for their films, proving, in a sense, they don’t really need the prestige partners in the first place,” said Best.

In 2018, the rally will take on many facets, including:

– In mid-January, they’ll launch the #100DaysOfOptimism crowdfunding rally in conjunction with WeTransfer, seeking stories in any format (feature, series, short, doc or narrative) about inspiration, redemption, connection and hope. Participating filmmakers will be eligible for up to $50,000 in grants and hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing support from WeTransfer.

– During the same time period, Bow and Arrow Entertainment will be distributing $25,000 for short and feature documentaries with a unique lens on their subjects.

– In March, 3311 Productions and The Orchard will join forces to offer $25,000, executive producership and a first look distribution deal to a high concept feature horror film under the theme “Communal Nightmares.”

– In late June, the call for submissions will open for the second #HometownHeroes rally with The Duplass Brothers, which expands this year to include both fiction and nonfiction feature films.

In order to participate, filmmakers must launch crowdfunding campaigns that fit within the parameters and guidelines for each rally during the rally period. More details are available at Seed&Spark’s dedicated rally page, which will be updated regularly throughout 2018.

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GoFundMe Launches Studio to Produce Content Based on Site’s Fundraising Campaigns

GoFundMe is looking to turn heart-warming stories of people raising money on its crowdfunding platform for good into original content — designed to inspire others to pay it forward. The company has established GoFundMe Studios, a video-production unit that will generate short-form documentaries, feature-length films, podcasts, and other content. GoFundMe has hired former GoPro exec […]

GoFundMe is looking to turn heart-warming stories of people raising money on its crowdfunding platform for good into original content — designed to inspire others to pay it forward. The company has established GoFundMe Studios, a video-production unit that will generate short-form documentaries, feature-length films, podcasts, and other content. GoFundMe has hired former GoPro exec […]

‘Hebrew Hammer’ Sequel: Adam Goldberg Wants to ‘Make America Kosher Again’

The actor has launched a campaign to help finance his long-gestating sequel, one directly inspired by the rise of Donald Trump.

The Hebrew Hammer is coming out of retirement, and he needs your help to make it happen. Nearly 15 years after the original film — an amusing send-up of blaxploitation films and superhero tropes starring Adam Goldberg as the eponymous hero — bowed at Sundance, and the team behind the be-yarmulked crime fighter is back for another big time fight. Goldberg, director Jonathan Kesselman, and producer Harrison Huffman announced earlier this week that they opened up crowdfunding for their long-planned sequel: “The Hebrew Hammer vs. Hitler.”

Goldberg and Kesselman have promised a “bigger, funnier sequel” that will somehow involve both time travel and original leading lady Judy Greer, a project at least partially inspired by the current political climate.

“We are bringing the Hebrew Hammer out of retirement because of a clarion call for us to do so — in part based on Trump’s rise and infectious anti-Semitism, racism and sexism,” Goldberg said in a statement. “We had various iterations of the script which we conceived years ago but retooled to make it a bit more contemporary and finally got our butts in gear because the timing seemed right — if not essential. You could say the campaign is a byproduct of the Resistance, but with more IBS references.”

One look at the film’s first promotional video hammers (sorry) that point home, reintroducing the Hammer to a very different world than the one he left. Surprise: it heavily involves the Trump campaign and the current administration. No wonder the Hammer is back.

Goldberg, Kesselman, and Huffman are aiming to raise $3 million to produce the project, though they’re asking for a maximum of $1.07 million from equity crowdfunding. It’s not their first dalliance with crowdfunding the project, and in 2013 they used the Jewish crowdfunding platform Jewcer to raise an initial $50,000 for the film. The fate of the free world hangs in the balance.

Check out the promo video for “The Hebrew Hammer vs. Hitler” below, via Entertainment Weekly, and find out more at the film’s official crowdfunding site right here.

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Kal Penn Turns Troll’s Tweet Into Refugee Fundraiser; Donations Pass $200K

Update 8:47 am Penn’s fundraising page just passed the $200K mark, hitting $201,666.
Previous Kal Penn, the Harold & Kumar actor who served as a public engagement advisor to President Barack Obama, has turned a troll’s racist tweet into nearly $200,000 for Syrian refugees.
Yesterday, Penn – born Kalpen Suresh Modi in Montclair, New Jersey – received a bigoted tweet that said, in part, “you don’t belong in this country you f*cking joke.” Penn responded by starting a…

Update 8:47 am Penn’s fundraising page just passed the $200K mark, hitting $201,666. Previous Kal Penn, the Harold & Kumar actor who served as a public engagement advisor to President Barack Obama, has turned a troll’s racist tweet into nearly $200,000 for Syrian refugees. Yesterday, Penn – born Kalpen Suresh Modi in Montclair, New Jersey – received a bigoted tweet that said, in part, “you don’t belong in this country you f*cking joke.” Penn responded by starting a…

‘In Search Of Liberty’ Wraps Production Despite Labor Walkout

EXCLUSIVE: Tea Party activist Norm Novitsky‘s In Search Of Liberty, a crowdfunded feature film about the U.S. Constitution that ran into labor problems earlier this year in Georgia, has completed production in South Carolina and will be heading straight to DVD early next year, according to a recent posting on the film’s website.
“Principal photography is complete,” the site says, “and it is going to be an outstanding movie! The next stage is post-production. We are…

EXCLUSIVE: Tea Party activist Norm Novitsky's In Search Of Liberty, a crowdfunded feature film about the U.S. Constitution that ran into labor problems earlier this year in Georgia, has completed production in South Carolina and will be heading straight to DVD early next year, according to a recent posting on the film's website. "Principal photography is complete," the site says, "and it is going to be an outstanding movie! The next stage is post-production. We are…

Sprockerfeller Pictures To Produce Jenna Laurenzo Coming Out Comedy ‘Lez Bomb’

Sprockerfeller Pictures will produce Lez Bomb, an upcoming comedy from writer and director Jenna Laurenzo (Girl Night Stand), who will star. A family ensemble comedy, Lez Bomb is about a closeted young woman who brings her girlfriend home for Thanksgiving, only to have her coming out plans thwarted by the unexpected arrival of her male roommate.
Also starring are A.B. Farrelly (Treading Yesterday), Brandon Micheal Hall (Search Party), Elaine Hendrix (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll)…

Sprockerfeller Pictures will produce Lez Bomb, an upcoming comedy from writer and director Jenna Laurenzo (Girl Night Stand), who will star. A family ensemble comedy, Lez Bomb is about a closeted young woman who brings her girlfriend home for Thanksgiving, only to have her coming out plans thwarted by the unexpected arrival of her male roommate. Also starring are A.B. Farrelly (Treading Yesterday), Brandon Micheal Hall (Search Party), Elaine Hendrix (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll)…