SXSW films prove power of crowd financing

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SXSW films prove power of crowd financing

The crowd-financing Web site has electrified the traditional structures of filmmaking, aiding 33 films at the South By Southwest Film Festival. That’s 10 percent of the festival’s entire slate. Even SXSW Film head Janet Pierson was surprised.

“I’m fascinated that this is a viable tool, or seems to be,’’ said Pierson, who produced indie films in the ’80s and ’90s. “How great that this vehicle exists that’s working for all these filmmakers.’’

The budgets for even small films often get into hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. Typically, Kickstarter money makes up a portion of a film’s budget. And most of the Kickstarter films still struggle to find theatrical distribution and promotion.

But it’s undoubtedly emerged as a realistic option to help get a film made.

“It’s gone from being possibly a novelty, a different way of doing things, to becoming much more of a tool, much more of a standard thing that people think about,’’ said Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler. “It’s giving audiences the power instead of executives.’’

Kickstarter, the leader among crowd-funding companies, has funded 19,000 projects in its three years. It funds a variety of things, including music albums, tech products and art projects.

Projects are only funded if they reach their target amount. Kickstarter doesn’t have any piece of ownership in the finished product, but they take 5 percent from successful funding. (Amazon Payments, which facilitates the financial transactions, also takes about 3 to 5 percent.)

Movies have been its biggest success. Of the first $140 million pledged via Kickstarter, $50 million was for movies.

Earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, 17 films with Kickstarter backing played.

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