“Show me the money” are immortal words from the 1996 Oscar winning film “Jerry Maguire” starring Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. While not the intent of those magic words they very much control virtually all of Hollywood film making from the mega dollar behemoths from the major studios to the tiny budget independent films that do on occasion rise to the top of the mountain. But in every case before any film project can go from concept to release there is always a critical demand for essential money. Getting that money is in itself a major and often insurmountable task. However these days that task is made somewhat easier through a process known as crowd funding.
Maybe you have heard of or even participated in one of the now numerous crowd funding campaigns. Indie Go Go, Kickstarter and Go Fund Me seem to be the leaders in the contemporary crowd funding world. People use these services to raise money for all manner of things including very personal situations. I recall one very small but touching campaign involving a woman in need of money for her cancer treatment. Yes, I gave a little to that campaign. But it is also a great place for independent film makers to raise essential capital for their projects. Now I will introduce you to three such projects each of which I feel well deserve your attention and even your contribution. These are not investments they are contributions. Contributing will not make you financially wealthy but it may well make you emotionally gratified, especially if any or all of these films go on to becoming significant theatrical successes. And you too can become a part of film making history with donations starting as modest as only $10.00.
I will start with the most ambitious film, “Cottonwood.” To get a good understanding of the power this film carries consider the words of its Producer, Julie Campbell. “Cottonwood is a very special film that I am proud to be a part of. Set in the depression era of West Texas, this poignant, heartfelt story is filled with mystery, intrigue, and tension, with strong characters including Jack the mule. The images will be stark and haunting as the story is dark. Based on relationships, friendships, death and healing with bonds not to be broken in a racially charged town, with a surprise ending that leaves the audience with lingering emotions, Cottonwood is a compelling film, a classic some say similar to “To Kill a Mockingbird” with the quiet, dignified wisdom of a Horton Foote film. With its strong subject matter, I feel Cottonwood will be viewed by audiences of all ages and will be seen for years to come…” said Julie Campbell – Producer. The film features several top actors including Lou Gossett, Jr., Anthony Michael Hall, Ethan Suplee, Alison Eastwood, Waylon Payne. Joe Perry and Kari Irwin to name but a few of the stunning cast. It is a great timeless story with a spectacular cast and you can join the team with as little as just $10.00. Check it out at: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/cottonwood/x/5939504.
Next is a story I have been personally involved with for awhile. It was a little over a year ago I happened to meet Eric B. Ramsey. Eric is an imposing gentleman as you would expect of a man who once was a star football player at Auburn University. As Eric and I chatted I quickly learned that despite all of the good things that can come from being a star athlete at a major university, there is a dark side as well. Perhaps you will recall the huge scandal that erupted out of Penn State and Coach Jerry Sandusky. Well as it turns out Jerry Sandusky and Penn State are not the only demons in the pile. Indeed Eric has witnessed far too many cases of gifted young athletes being severely abused by some very evil men. This led Eric B. Ramsey to launch his film project “Unspoken Indiscretions.” Eric is so driven by this story that he went forward initially using his own money and is about half way through to completion. But he wants to get this film done and out because he feels and I agree, it tells a very important story that must be told. You can help Eric get this story told with a contribution of as little as $25.00. Do check out his Indie Go Go campaign and then do get involved. SEE: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/unspeakable-indiscretions/x/5939504.
Finally there is a project I take very personally because I have known the principal characters for a long time and they are truly an amazing family. This one is a documentary about one of the most interesting families on planet earth today. The Akana family, mom Roni and dad Stacy travel around the United States in their old motor home with eight of their children ages 5 through 19 years. They compete in inline skating competitions all across the country and even in France. They win many of these competitions and are thought of fondly by the inline skating community. Their ultimate goal, however, is not personal glory. Their personal goal is to gain the attention and respect of the International Olympic Committee and to ultimately get inline speed skating into the Olympic Games. As they pursue this goal the ten of them spend almost the entire year, each and every year in their motor home. Yet despite this obvious and deep hardship they are some of the most genuinely nice people I have ever met. And mom Roni home schools her children and she does a great job. All of them consistently score above grade level on the mandatory examinations they take periodically. Now here is a story that deserves to get told and so I helped them launch a documentary film project. When done this documentary film will most likely go straight to DVD. It will also be used to help them sell their story to reality TV producers. None of this has anything to do with personal aggrandizement. For the Akanas it is all about their beloved sport. You can help them get their documentary done and in this case the total contribution sought is a very modest $5000 with individual contributions starting at only $10.00. Check out their campaign at: http://www.gofundme.com/amazingakana.
Make 2014 your year to get involved. Pick any one or all three of these deeply worthwhile projects and get involved. You will be rewarded in many ways.
Copyright 2014 Ron Irwin