In Cannes, experts discuss crowd funding films

At Euromed Audiovisual’s first event in Cannes, four fascinating experts discussed crowd funding, a unique funding and marketing tool for film projects online

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These were Tero Kaukomaa, producer of Iron Sky, Matthias Lavaux co-founder of touscoprod.com, Roel van de Weijer, founder of CineCrowd, and Thierry Baujard,  founder and CEO of peacefulfish. Various film professionals from around the world attended the event at the Producers’ Villa in Cannes to hear more about crowd funding in film, or collecting funds for a film project from a large group of people online.

Tero Kaukomaa kicked off the conference with a bang by sharing his experience as producer of Timo Vuorensola’s sensational Iron Sky, a film that was funded at over 10% by fans. He detailed the film’s fantastic journey, from its beginnings as the brain child of an internet genius who had already gained a notable following with Star Wreck, his parody of Star Trek. Kaukomaa explained how this fan base enabled them to collect over € 1 million from crowd investment alone. His sensational story truly illustrates the importance of a niche market and ongoing communication between these private investors and professionals.

“So many people represent such a powerful asset,” he said, “a huge crowd who feel that ‘this is our film’ so are ready to fight for it.”

Next to speak was Matthias Lavaux, co-founder of French crowd funding website Touscoprod.com. In his presentation, he detailed the effort needed for successful crowd funding, not least of which is a time investment of two to three hours every day in order to raise an average total of € 15,000. Lavaux emphasised the importance of three steps: “First convince your friends, followed by the friends of your friends, in order to reach the world.” 

Anyone can put their project on the Touscoprod.com website, and choose how to provide a ‘return’ for their investors. For testament to their success, look no further than its two films currently in Cannes: Confession of a Child of the Century and Laurence Anyways. The English version of touscoprod.com will be launched in the next few months.

A similar crowd funding website based in the Netherlands, CineCrowd, was then presented by its founder Roel van de Weijer. After a friend of his approached him with an idea for a short film, van de Weijer realised he had to find new funding methods if he was ever going to help the project come to life. He created CineCrowd modelled on Kickstart, the American crowd funding platform, and introduced the concept into the Netherlands. 

CineCrowd’s most incredible anecdote? Famous Dutch director Eddy Terstall used the website to fund his short film Deal. When after 60 days he had not reached his goal of € 20,000, he decided to create what he called “Eddy’s Twit Flicks”, 10 to 60-second films for each individual investor. The result was a huge buzz and enough funds to make Deal into a feature film, that will now be screened at a Dutch film festival later on this year. 

“If you’re doing it for the money, then don’t,” was van de Weijer’s parting advice. “If you’re doing it for the marketing and publicity then do it – stand out, be unique, show yourself.”

Finally, Thierry Baujard concluded the conference with his own valuable insight on crowd funding. His company, peacefulfish, provides consulting services for funding in the content industry. 

At the moment, current investors in the audiovisual industry do not consider crowd funding as a major reason to invest in a project, he said, but investors’ reticence is mostly to do with the uncertainty surrounding a new concept. 

The European Commission also recently started to pay attention to crowd funding as “it’s a good form of alternative funding to harmonise the market,” according to Baujard. The Commission is beginning to question whether they should regulate the market, and whether this will facilitate accessibility to investment for all types of people.


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