Zach Braff's Kickstarter Film Lands Josh Gad and Gets Full Financing
Just last month, Garden State director and "Scrubs" star Zach Braff turned to Kickstarter in order to help get his new directing effort, Wish I Was Here, off the ground as an independent production. Well, the film raised more than $2.6 million from more than 38,000 people, exceeding the $2 million goal, in about a week. Nice job, Kickstarter! Well, maybe not. THR has news that the Kickstarter response to Braff's film has actually inspired Worldview Entertainment to fully fund the project, and it seems like the campaign was just a pawn in getting a real company to back the project as opposed to just going the indie route. More below!
Supposedly a small percentage of the money raised from Kickstarter will be returned in the form of a fee to Kickstarter, though it's not clear what happens to the money after that. Basically, the issue here is that Braff's intentions to subvert the studio system and do things his own way without interference from a financial backer don't seem genuine at all now. With backing from Worldview Entertainment, the film isn't really what Braff purported the project to be from the beginning. I'm hearing that those who donated might still have time to cancel their contribution if they feel slighted.
This is not good press for Braff and actually kind of makes me disinterested in seeing the film now, despite the fact that Josh Gad was just announced as joining the cast as well. For those out of the loop, here's the official synopsis from the Kickstarter campaign:
'Wish I Was Here' is the story of Aidan Bloom (to be played by Braff), a struggling actor, father and husband, who at 35 is still trying to find his identity; a purpose for his life. He and his wife are barely getting by financially and Aidan passes his time by fantasizing about being the great futuristic Space-Knight he'd always dreamed he'd be as a little kid.
When his ailing father can no longer afford to pay for private school for his two kids (ages 5 and 12) and the only available public school is on its last legs, Aidan reluctantly agrees to attempt to home-school them.
The result is some funny chaos, until Aidan decides to scrap the traditional academic curriculum and come up with his own. Through teaching them about life his way, Aidan gradually discovers some of the parts of himself he couldn't find.
At the very least, people who contribute to the film should be given a little something extra after being deceived about the independent nature of the project, especially now that the film has full funding. If a full refund isn't in the cards, then something should be done for all these contributors who believed in Braff enough to fork over money. Otherwise, these people are paying to fund a movie that they won't even get to see for free when it hits theaters, and they don't get any of the spoils that Worldview will get for funding the film fully. This just seems disrespectful to passionate fans. What do you think?
UPDATE: Zach Braff responds to critics and explains all the funding right here:
UPDATE #2: Here's an update from Braff about some inaccuracies in THR's story:
The movie trade publication "The Hollywood Reporter" released an article today with a lot of wrong information about our project and I need to clear up some of what they said. I seem to get called a "douchebag" quite often these days. And that's fine; not everyone's gonna root for my success… but I can't sit by while my fans get wrong facts.
This is a whole new way of making a movie. There is lots of discourse on Earth about it. Some of it is very misinformed. Let's clear it up so you have it from my mouth. I will tell you the truth. As David Mamet's writes in his masterpiece, "Glengarry Glen Ross": The truth is the easiest thing to remember:
— The story out there about the movie being fully funded by some financier is wrong.
I have said on here and in every interview I've done on this project that the film would be fully financed from 3 sources:
My Kickstarter Backers
My own money
Pre-Selling foreign theatrical distribution.
Those three amounts will bring us to a budget of around 5 to 6 million dollars.
— Nothing about the making of this movie has changed. This movie is happening because backers funded it.
This film would not be happening without my backers. The traditional way is to have a financier put up the money and then sell the foreign rights. What I did, was to say to my fans, "If you and I provide the capital, we don't need some rich dude dictating how we make the movie; we can then go sell foreign distibution and we'll be all the way to our goal. Are you interested in that? So far 38,455 people have said yes.
— What happened today is that a financial company agreed to fill in the gap between what Kickstarter backers have funded and what I have put in, and what the movie will actually cost. Shooting could not happen without this.
When you pre-sell foreign distribution, you don't get that money for some time. So you need to go to a company to provide something called "Gap Financing". They are essentially a bank. Loaning us the "gap" between what we've raised together and what we need to actually make the movie. I have no idea where a 10 million dollar number came from but it is wrong and a lie.
It sounds like there was some misinformation. Read more of Braff's explanation and defense right here.