Is crowdfunding beginning to mature as a viable platform for screen finance in Australia?
The web platforms that enable anyone to fundraise for projects took off last year and will grow even more in 2013. The best-known US example, Kickstarter, has received pledges of more than $100 million for screen projects since April 2009. The pace is accelerating: nearly $US60 million has been pledged in the past year.
US crowdfunding has matured to the point where it is becoming a significant funder of small and medium-sized projects, including feature films. Perhaps the best-known success story is pioneering climate change documentary maker Franny Armstrong, who raised 1.5 million pounds for her feature The Age of Stupid. Kickstarter claims
the platform has funded 86 films that have gained theatrical release, screening in more than 1500 North American theatres. Another 14 films have theatrical premieres slated for 2013.
An impressive 10% of the films screening at prominent film festivals Sundance, South By South-West and Tribeca are Kickstarter-funded. There have been two Oscar nominations, for docos Sun Come Up
and Incident in New Baghdad
Australian start-up Pozible is the biggest player locally -- Crikey profiled its place
in the arts community last year. The smaller, younger Pozible is starting to catalyse film investment for independent projects. According to Pozible co-founder Alan Crabbe, $2.47 million has been pledged to screen projects since mid-2010, with $2.21 million collected across 330 projects. More than 21,000 individual donors have chipped in. Screen is the largest category, ahead of music.
Half-yearly donations pledged to Australian screen projects on Pozible, 2010-2012 (source: Pozible)