Over the past year, crypto has been making more and more inroads in the film industry. Movies have been distributed as NFTsnascent DAOs have form to help connect filmmakers with funding sources, and filmmakers are exploring decentralized financing.
Now a new wave of independent filmmakers are seizing the opportunity to break into the industry using cryptocurrency and NFT to finance their projects. “The first films financed in this way will have a place in history,” said screenwriter and director Miguel Faus. Decrypt. “They will be pioneering a new path that I think will be huge for independent cinema across the world.”
Faus’ first feature film, “Calladita”, launches its crowdfunding campaign on March 2, offering NFTs as rewards and unique benefits to NFT owners who contribute to the increase. Unlike a traditional crowdfunding boost on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, Faus said, “The whole reward system is sort of subverted. The interests of backers and creators are much better aligned.”
In traditional crowdfunding models, Faus explained, much of the funds go into producing physical products for rewards, such as DVDs, posters or t-shirts. With NFTs, he argued, not only are the costs of production lower, unlike conventional digital rewards, “it’s a robust and durable asset – it’s always there on the blockchain. And you never know what value it might have in the future.”
Based on her short film of the same name, “Calladita” tells the story of Ana, a young Colombian domestic worker in a wealthy family’s Spanish vacation home. The feature will star Paula Grimaldo, reprising her role as the short’s Ana, alongside Emily Mortimer of ‘The Newsroom’ and two-time Goya winner Antonio de la Torre. Jim Cummings, writer-director of “Thunder Road” and “The Beta Test”, is the executive producer.
In addition to traditional crowdfunding rewards such as Associate Producer Credits, set visits, costumes and props, backers of the film will receive NFTs. These will include stills and video from the original “Calladita” short, artwork inspired by the film, and a unique four-minute short film centered around the character of Ana, which will not be available anywhere else. Only one contributor will own the short film “Ana on a day in August”.
“It’s totally exclusive, and its sole purpose is to live on as an NFT for the collector, as a one-of-one,” Faus said, adding that the owner may choose to submit it to film festivals.
Other benefits are available to participating NFT owners. In the film, Emily Mortimer stars as an art gallery owner who has a large collection of NFTs, and Augment contributors can have their own NFTs featured as part of her collection.
Faus consciously targeted his campaign at crypto and NFT enthusiasts rather than filmmakers who may not have experimented with cryptocurrency. “I decided that I was going to focus 95% of my energy on this goal,” he said. Decryptnoting that it is still “difficult trying to onboard someone who has never had crypto to buy their first NFT.”
“I decided not to focus my energy too much on that and instead focus my energy on the NFT crowd, which is different from the crypto crowd, in my opinion,” Faus said. “There are a ton of moviegoers in the NFT space, and also people who are excited about something new. Even if they’re not particularly moviegoers, they’re excited to see a new use case for NFT.”
Ultimately, he said, “Everything in the film industry can be disrupted by this technology, and will be. Netflix’s killer is going to be Web3 native.” He pointed to the paradigm shift that comes with digital ownership – because you can trace the creator of the work and its owner, “they can relate to the public in a much cleaner way and hold both the creator and the public”.
At the same time, he added, “glorified middlemen” like Netflix and Spotify are facing disruption from a new wave of Web3 movie platforms. “Right now, OpenSea is taking 2.5% of the profits from an NFT sale. If there was a Netflix killer that was amazing and taking 50%, that would already be a huge improvement for the filmmakers.”