Documentary filmmaker seeks Kickstarter funds ... for Oscar race

You’ve heard of directors using crowdsourced funding to help make a film. Here’s one trying to Kickstart his movie into the Oscar race.

Steven Charles Jaffe, the director of Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still Weird, is hoping to raise about $50,000 on Kickstarter.com to qualify for the Academy Awards by renting screens in New York and Los Angeles for the requisite one-week theatrical run, plus local advertising buys.

The movie explores the life of the macabre cartoonist whose ghoulishly funny panels have appeared regularly in The New Yorker and Playboy, with interviews from admirers such as Stephen Colbert, Lewis Black, Neil Gaiman, Guillermo Del Toro, and Stan Lee.

“The money we raise with your help will not go towards paying my producers or myself.  It will be used to book the theaters, pay for advertising, hire a publicist, do a technical finish to the sound and picture, pay for final music and stock footage licensing,” says Jaffe, whose producing credits include Ghost, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and K-19: The Widowmaker.

On his Kickstarter page, Jaffe is blunt about his reasons for wanting to enter the Oscar race — and downright harsh about his chances.

“The Academy Awards are one of the most fiercely competitive cinematic races and the odds of winning are very slim. However, It’s widely accepted that with the right marketing, an Oscar nomination and of course a WIN, can propel a documentary at the box office,” he writes. “Realistically, I don’t expect to win an Oscar® but this is the best opportunity to get the documentary exposed to the WIDEST AUDIENCE POSSIBLE and launch its release.”

As of publication, Jaffe had raised $20,113, with only 10 days left to reach his goal of $49,999.

If he qualifies for the race, he will find there are still costs associated with entering the Oscar race full-force if he intends to host special showings of the movie for Academy voters. And sending out DVD screeners to the roughly 6,000 members (let alone voters from critics groups and guilds) comes with a pricetag of over $20,000.

Those who want gold have to be willing to spend plenty of green.


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