Horror Funding: Reckless Excess by Studio System Makes Way for Independent Franchise

As Steven Spielberg and George Lucas predicted, the studios’ excessive spending on less-than-quality content is producing a string of high-dollar failures and is starting to drive audiences to search elsewhere for their content. Earlier this year, the idea of funding films through public-forum donation sites called crowdfunding became viable with the $5Million crowdfunded Veronica Mars movie. Now, two unknown producers are seeking to start their own major franchise independent of the studio system through that same crowdfunding paradigm, and it’s looking good. Their project Fire City is a “demon noir fantasy” taking its creative cues from movies like Lord Of the Rings, Harry Potter and Hellboy, while taking its financial models from movies closer to Saw, Insidious and Skyline. Just without studio involvement.

“There’s no place for guys like us in the studio system,” say the producers. “They don’t want us to produce, they have a list of their own guys to whom they pay A LOT of money. And they don’t want us to make creative decisions. Those are made by money guys. What actors have the best box office draw? What will look good on a movie poster? It’s almost despite that movie-making machine that movies are ever good. But with a truly independent film, you have all the rope in the world. And if you’re smart and talented, you could make a memorable film that’s worth its $12 ticket. We think we can make a whole franchise and we have the material to prove it.”

The biggest challenge now facing popular crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter is that studios and celebrities are getting in. Major controversy has been stirring over both studio-backed projects and A-list talent, often independently wealthy, overfunding their films based on their celebrity and influence, and not necessarily based on content or genuine need. Fire City’s immediate challenge is not being overshadowed by the celebrity of Spike Lee and his project, one claiming that Lee’s part of an independent film industry that’s in jeopardy despite his upcoming project being released by FilmDistrict, starring Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen and Samuel L. Jackson. Despite the Goliaths threatening their existence, the Fire City independent franchise is determined like David to win the day.

More information at: FireCity.com/Kickstarter

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