Seize The Future

A daring documentary film festival crowd-funding experiment from Sheffield Doc/Fest

Seize The Future Crowd Funding Pitch

Hello from Sheffield Doc/Fest in Yorkshire, UK. We're one of the biggest financing forums in the world for documentaries and factual media, and this year, we're trying something new. Instead of a session where filmmakers present their ideas to big Commissioners and Executives, we've introduced a pitch for factual projects that are looking to be financed by the best funders on the planet - YOU!

The Seize The Future pitch will be the moment that crowd funding for docs goes mainstream in the UK. It's the year punk rock broke, it's seeing Elvis on TV, it's hearing The Queen is Dead for the first time. But only if you help us with this...

How does it work?

We've selected six projects who will pitch live on stage on Saturday 6th November at Sheffield Doc/Fest - you can read about them all here, and there's short teasers for them all in the clip. We're asking you to pledge money to a central pot. We'll then ask the audience to decide on an overall winner who will win the pot.

But of course, they're all winners really - you can also contribute to them individually as well - now or after the pitch on their own IndieGoGo or other crowd funding site pages.

However, we want there to be this central public pot for a winner to get so that we can showcase how revolutionary crowd-funding is to all the Doc/Fest delegates - the more you contribute, the more we'll all be able to prove that this is a viable way for filmmakers to raise finance outside of the usual (restrictive...exhausting...heartbreaking...loveless...insert as appropriate) doc funding channels.

What are the projects? 

The 10th Lego Master - There are 62 Lego bricks for every person on the planet, and Duncan owns more than his fair share. Duncan is 35 years old, and an AFOL (adult fan of Lego), and one of over 250,000 people around the world that take their obsession with the brick to unimagined levels. With serious ambitions to join an elite group of individuals endorsed by Lego as a professional, Duncan has decided to quit his job to try and become the ‘10th Lego Master’. This is a Buzz Films crowdsourced project, looking to generate funds to create a pitching trailer.

This is Me - Steve Burton, filmmaker, uses his disability to open a doorway into the secret world of autistic children, unable or unwilling to communicate. By confronting them with his total paralysis and lifelong confinement to a wheelchair, Steve motivates these children into taking photographs of what it means for them to be alive.  But to engage the children, Steve has to acknowledge his limitations, which he has tried to avoid all his life. We need funds to kick start this project for the children to spend longer with Steve, crew and equipment to produce a most involving film.

SOUND IT OUT is a documentary portrait of the very last surviving vinyl record shop in Teesside. (45 mins). Starring: Tom, Kelly, David, Daniel, 70,000 records and the good people of Teesside. A distinctive, funny and intimate film about men, obsession and the irreplaceable role music plays in our lives. High Fidelity with a Northern Accent. The official film of Record Store Day 2011. SOUND IT OUT will be the first fully independent film by director Jeanie Finlay who grew up in the North East, three miles from the shop. In our first fundraising phase 67 people from 8 different countries supported the shoot. We now need your help to support the post-production of the film to ensure it looks and sounds amazing.

Just Do It: Get Off Your Arse and Change The World - During 2009, in the lead up to the COP15 climate talks, Emily James immersed herself in filming the world of UK environmental direct action. The result will be a behind the scenes portrait of a community of actively engaged citizens who aren’t prepared to sit back and allow the destruction of the worlds ecosystems and climate. It is a call to action in the face of catastrophic climate change, ineffective world leaders and greedy corporations. We need funding for a lot of things, through this fund we’re looking to contribute to our marketing and distribution pot helping us to ensure the film is seen by 1 million people throughout 2011

Ibogaine: The Way Out? For heroin addicts, Ibogaine is gaining a reputation as a miracle drug. This psychoactive plant extract has its roots in African spiritual traditions, and is known for its anti-addictive properties. While Ibogaine is gaining in popularity around the globe, it is banned in the United States due to insufficient testing. For this reason, Justin Minnich is traveling to an Ibogaine treatment center in South Africa in the hopes of finding a lasting cure to his deadly heroin addiction. IBOGAINE - THE WAY OUT? is an intimate portrait of his journey. Funding is urgently needed to cover Justin’s travel expenses.

The Green and Gold Revolution - A film following the incredible journey of a grassroots campaign to buy back Manchester United from American billionaire Malcolm Glazer, and reclaim it as a supporter owned club for the people. In this extraordinary David versus Goliath battle, ordinary football fans are proving that against all odds, a community can unite to make a change. This documentary will bring these important social issues to a global audience. Your contribution will enable us to licence essential TV news footage and create vital graphics to help explain the inconvenient truth about the unsustainable levels of debt in football today.

Why you should care? 

Because this is the time to be excited about participatory culture - it’s changing how documentaries are being produced and consumed. You can be cynical if you like, but in an economic crisis, the best radical ideas always flourish, so join in. Together we can create a new way of funding docs together, and this is a public declaration of it.

What's the Background?

Sheffield Doc/Fest is the UK's major festival, marketplace and conference for documentary and factual media, taking place from November 3rd-7th.

This year, we're having a whole day devoted to community-oriented media called Beyond Broadcast. The Seize The Future Crowd Funding Pitch is part of this day, in which the sessions will look at innovative and meaningful ways of involving communities in film and digital media production, the empowerment of communities through storytelling in all media, in their own voice and with their own vision - against a vision of culture-from-high that often portrays communities from outside.

This pitch arose from the Seize The Future Workshop, conducted in July 2010 by Peter Broderick and Sandi DuBowski, in partnership with the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation

What we need and what's in it for you?

We're looking for £2000 (roughly that's $3090) to award to the winning pitch - these projects are all at different stages, so it may help with development, production, post-production, outreach or another side of making their film. We've asked the filmmakers to tell you in the section above.We hope you'll get a warm glow inside from being part of this new way of doing things....but we also know that you like prizes and special treats so there's lots on offer if you can contribute - from a good firm hug, to a mysterious tour of Sheffield, through to being named as the main sponsor of the session at Doc/Fest

And then what?

Come and see the 6 projects pitch live on stage at Doc/Fest on Saturday 6th November. And whether you can make it here or not, you can then donate more to each of the projects individually after the 6th!

Team on This Campaign: