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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Film industry insiders share tips, tricks for indie film fundraising


    “Where’s the Money? How to Finance an Independent Film” is a panel this Friday featuring several professionals from different parts of the filmmaking industry. The panel will provide budding filmmakers with the information they need to make their dreams become reality.

    You’re sitting on your couch one day when out of nowhere—bam!—an idea for a film comes out of the blue and hits you right between the eyes.

    Soon enough you have a moving plot with incredible characters and some killer dialogue, but you’re not sure how to find the money to pay the cast and crew, rent equipment or to eventually enter the final product into festivals or begin distribution.

    Luckily, Hanson Film Institute and Film Tucson have a little something that might help.

    “Where’s the Money? How to Finance an Independent Film” is a panel being held by the two organizations this Friday in the Center for Creative Photography from 4-5:30 p.m. The event is the fifth in a series of informational programs titled “Inside Track.”

    Each panel in the series focuses on a different aspect of filmmaking and brings together various professionals with differing perspectives to discuss the topic with the public. “Where’s the Money?”is all about finding the funds to create an independent film.

    Filmmaking is a billion dollar industry, and it’s typical for blockbuster films to have budgets exceed $100 million with all the sponsorships and funding that they are able to amass.

    When you’re just starting out as an independent filmmaker, however, even a tiny fraction of that money isn’t very easy to come by.

    That is why “Where’s the Money?” is endeavoring to help UA students and the Tucson public­, providing budding filmmakers with necessary information from experienced industry people in order to make their dreams a reality.

    “Each of the four panelists comes from a different angle,” said Lorna Soroko, host of Friday’s event. “They have different skill sets and experiences to contribute to the panel.”

    Soroko, currently the president of her own company Soroko Consulting and Investigations, has been involved in entertainment law for years, has worked for a number of production companies and is also a writer of various screenplays and novels.

    She has helped run the Hanson Film Institute and Film Tucson’s annual Pitch Fest Tucson festival and workshop for about a decade as well, and this week she will be moderating “Where’s the Money?”

    One of the panelists is Jonathan Deckter, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Voltage Pictures and a 1996 UA graduate. Deckter is looking to provide panel attendees with valuable information that he was unaware of when he first broke into the filmmaking business.

    “What I really hope to do is to give a brief overview to the people who attend on how films get financed and made from a practical, real life point of view,” Deckter said. “I want to introduce people to that world.”

    Along with Deckter, the panel will feature Maren Olson, an agent in the Film Finance and Sales Group at Creative Artists Agency, Glen Mastroberte, an entertainment attorney and another UA alumus and Matthew Rhodes, an independent producer of over 20 films.

    Evan Colten, a film and television junior, is currently working on an independent film of his own and plans on attending the “Where’s the Money?” panel.

    Colten and his friend Max Cunningham, a junior studying English, are in the post-production stages of a short film noir that they funded through crowd-sourcing and donations from friends and family.

    Using the popular website Indiegogo, the pair was able to raise over $5,000 for their production, exceeding their goal.

    “It was all just being persistent with contacts we knew would be interested in the project,” Colten said. “We didn’t raise a single dollar from anyone anonymous; it was all mainly the people we knew.”

    Colten’s project was lucky to have met its goal considering the large percentage of campaigns on the website that are unable to raise the necessary funds.

    “Where’s the Money?” was created so that independent filmmakers like Colten can learn about their options when financing future projects.

    When you get down to it, financing a film is just like any other endeavor; to be successful, one has to put in a lot of effort and passion for what they’re doing.

    As Deckter said, “Do all your homework and don’t give up.”

    Follow Victoria Pereira on Twitter.

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