Featured image from Flickr by Paul Hudson - Free to use under all Creative Commons. Available at: Isle of Dogs set pictures by Paul Hudson
130,000 still photographs, a team of 670, and a whole Isle of Dogs. It’s no doubt that Wes Anderson’s new film has become a labour of love with many. But what also made Anderson’s film a huge team effort, was his use of crowdfunding to widen his network even more. Have you ever used crowdfunding before? Have you ever donated to your friends’ three-legged 1k races? Ever donated to a school friend’s up and coming band? Or even donated to a film foundation? Well done if you’ve done all three, you philanthropist. You’ve taken part in crowdfunding.
Oscar-nominated director Wes Anderson utilized crowdfunding to fundraise for Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation – a charity aiming to restore old films. Not only did Anderson set out to raise awareness for his new film but also used Isle of Dogs encourage this crowdfunding mission. Wonderful Wes ended up raising a quarter of a million dollars. That’s a lot of dollars. And that’s a lot of crowdfunding, too. Crowdrise, the company founded by Mr Edward Norton nonetheless, gave a platform to raise money for Scorsese’s Film Foundation. The Foundation aimed to combat the insufficient funding problems that they face, with only 800 being restored since the foundation’s beginning in 1990 – this may sound a lot initially, but this is only a measly quarter of the films that applied for restoration. That means 2800 films have applied in total, hashtag quick maths.
And even though the Foundation receive help from film big boys, Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola, the Foundation is still stuck struggling. The Foundation states it generally costs a mighty $50,000 to $450,000 for restoring a film, so it’s not cheap. This struggle unfortunately rises with the ever growing number of films that are in need of restoration. With moving image being found in a bountiful of environments, there becomes the misconception that film that can be found on a variation of platforms are also protected. But shock horror, they’re not. The Foundation states that the original elements that create even a decent film, still possess the ability to deteriorate or become lost. Preservation is a continuous cycle and requires the need to be upgraded every few years to catch up with fast-moving technologies and digitalisation. These hurdles and hindrances therefore require a lot of money and provide an even bigger incentive for Anderson to contribute to the cause. The digitized domain we live in is a mighty big problem and has therefore encouraged the Foundation to centre towards independent filmmakers, and documentary creators who struggle most.
Anderson viewed these struggles and created varied prizes for his Crowdrise donors as it’s all about those initiatives, guys. One incredibly lucky winner would win a trip for them and a plus one to London, to meet Wes, a tour of the Isle of Dogs set, receive a miniature figure from the film and even record the voice of a canine character in the film. I have never wanted to practice woofing and barking so much. Every $10 that a donor would give to the cause, would mean one entry to winning the grand prize, whereas donors could buy the grand prize for a whopping $50,000. Other prizes that could be won included a DVD signed by Wes, and other winners a signed Wes Anderson Collection book.
Film preservation had always been a key adoration of Wes Anderson, and the concept of the film becoming a charitable platform by its future audiences is nothing short of exciting and fulfilling. The audience are also rooted in the film’s production, quite literally in providing a voice for the film too.
Anderson’s relationship with his audience grows closer, and becomes more rewarding. But moving from just boundaries of a video box, harmonizes a stronger bond between audiences and art philanthropy – a move forward for our creative industries, don’t you think?