Boy: the American Release raises $90k using micro funding website

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(Chris Keall – NBR)New Zealand directorTaikaWaititi has successfully used a micro-funding website to raise the $90,000 he needed to release his movieBoyin the US.

The money will be used for what’s known in the industry as “P&A”, or creating prints of the film to be distributed fortheatres, plus a (presumably modest) advertising campaign.

An opening is now planned in LA on March 9.

With more than $9.3 million in box office takings,Boy,released in 2010,is the most successful local film of all time in terms of its domestic gross (discounting theLord of the Ringstrilogy). Yet the director was left to his own devices to arrange US release.

Mr Waititi began his campaign on February 6, soliciting donations throughKickstarter.com.

Last week he was only a third of the way to his today, but a surge of backers has seen theBoyfund top its target this weekend.

A total of 1493 people have now donated $92,807 (via online credit card payments), or an average of $62 each.

Self-distribution is definitely harder but it feels WAY better to be doing it yourself,” Mr Waititi said today in an email to supporters.

NBRis a big supporter of MrWaititi’swork, which includes writing and directing forFlight of theConchords. And this newspaper’s review ofBoy(“I you don’t go to see of it, you’re an egg”) was used in the film’s in-store promotional campaign when it was first released on DVD.

SoNBR’sexpense account-happy technology editor was happy to chip in with $20 on the publication’s behalf.

Yet your correspondent is still fuming at a letter to the editor sent by South Pacific Pictures boss John Barnett, complaining of soft-headed coverage of alleged internet pirate KimDotcom.

No one would support DVD piracy, but complaints about online piracy from the likes of South Pacific Pictures ring hollow when some of its hit films, such asSione’sWedding, are not on popular commercial download services such as the movie section of Apple’s iTunes.

Nor doesBoy(backedby the New Zealand Film Commission and marketed and distributed by the commission’sNZ Filmagency) appear on iTunes US (increasinglypopularwith frustrated Kiwis) or iTunes NZ.

Asked whyBoywas not on iTunes US – on the face of it a cheap and user-friendly way to reach a mass audience – Mr Waititi toldNBR, “Because it’s nice to see films on a big screen in a darkened room, rather than on a laptop.”

(iTunes TVprogrammesand movies, or any digital content, can also be viewed on a normal television with help from a gadget like the $149 Apple TV).

Fair enough.

But what about in New Zealand, whereBoyhas long finished its theatrical run, DVD promotion and TV screenings?

“iTunes NZ – yep why not?”, the director messagedNBR. “Would be great but up to those who own and distributeBoyin NZ.”

Let’s hope they change their minds, and open them to the online future. Most people can and will pay when given the choice.

Meanwhile, hats off to Mr Waititi, who’s proved a dab hand at using the internet to self-fund US distribution.

1 COMMENT

  1. As an American that spend much of my childhood in New Zealand in the 1980’s, I would love to see this movie. It has only been released in a few US markets, and none of them are close to me. So it seems that I may never see this film. And some should tell the fabulous Mr. Waititi that many Americans have devices that allow them to watch movies from iTunes in our own darkened living rooms on big screen TV’s. Americans could use a little NZ culture, especially those of us that still feel like NZ is home, whether we live there or not.

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