Basketball star Jeremy Lin made a guest appearance in Los Angeles last week when the Houston Rockets played the Los Angeles Clippers at STAPLES Center on February 13. But the popular NBA point guard is now eyeing a starring role in Hollywood as the producers of “Linsanity” the movie build on the momentum from the film’s showing at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah last month.
This film project began just as Lin was launching his professional basketball career, well before “Linsanity” became a household word and Jeremy Lin became the most watched athlete on television in China. For those who like to dream the American Dream, it’s better that way. The audience can see Lin handle a few disappointments after leaving the Golden State Warriors and just getting by during the NBA labor dispute of autumn 2011.
Even the most successful athletes in America do not have the red carpet rolled out automatically in Hollywood. The producers of “Linsanity” the movie are classic “indie” filmmakers using “bootstrap finance.” Their brand “408 Films” uses the Silicon Valley telephone area code to reflect the Palo Alto area roots of both Jeremy Lin and the filmmakers.
The team has begun accepting donations on the website Kickstarter and is building an audience on YouTube without a large investment in advertising the film. Kickstarter raised over $160,000 from over 2,000 donors in just one week! After good reviews at the Sundance Film Festival, they are on their way to an encore at the South by Southwest program in Austin, Texas next month.
The future prospects for showing “Linsanity” in movie theaters and on television show how the angel investing community can play an important role in financing film distribution, especially for enthusiast subjects like sports figures and documentaries. It is still possible that a conventional film distributor will add the film to its portfolio, but venture funds focused on the creative industries and investor groups seeking closer ties to Asia are also evaluating the property. This changing landscape for film finance is on view each November at the American Film Market in Santa Monica, a likely destination for the backers of this film project.
“Linsanity” was directed by Evan Jackson Leong and is narrated by Daniel Dae Kim. Over ten-thousand fans have signed up on Facebook where they share their attraction to the film’s inspirational message.