Indie filmmaker Spike Lee, director of numerous celebrated films set in pre-gentrified Brooklyn such as Do the Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues, Jungle Fever and the much-acclaimed She’s Gotta Have It, is using the crowd-funding website, Kickstarter, to fund his latest film. His campaign started last Monday and has so far raised $356,388 from 1,848 pledges. His goal is a cool $1.25 mil.
Lee, who was recently named artistic director of New York University’s graduate film school, has not revealed much about the new film, only saying that it is a thriller, of sorts.
Though critics argue that Lee’s move to use Kickstarter detracts from money that could benefit younger, emerging filmmakers, Lee defends his position. "I understand why people might think that, but that's not the case at all," he said. "I'm bringing people to Kickstarter who've never even heard of Kickstarter. I’m talking a lot of people of color who never heard of Kickstarter. Who never made a pledge on Kickstarter. So I really think that it's a fallacy, it's a misconception and it's plain-out wrong with a capital 'w' that because someone puts $5 on my film, someone who backs my film with $5. That was $5 that a young filmmaker was gonna get. And that logic does not follow through,” he said in a recent interview with Film Courage.
The lifelong Knicks fan and pop culture icon, best known for making films that portray positive images of African Americans, is no stranger to creative fundraising. As many might recall, several of Lee’s films were made “guerrilla style” and on shoestring budgets, most notably, She's Gotta Have It. It took $175,000 to make and it grossed $7,137,502 at the box office. (Shortly after, he authored the book: Spike Lee's Gotta Have It: Inside Guerrilla Filmmaking.) And during the making of Malcolm X, he made cold calls and visits to a long list of celebrities such as Bill Cosby, Prince, Janet Jackson, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan, among others, who invested large sums of money towards the completion of the film.
Production of the new film is set for the end of 2013.
Read more at Kickstarter.
For a related article about raising funds via Kickstarter, click here.