EXCLUSIVE: Movie Collective, the crowdfunding film venture set up by Mudbound producer Cassian Elwes and Papadopoulos & Sons director Marcus Markou, has raised £100,000 (US$138,000) ahead of its Crowdcube equity drive.
The pair have raised the initial amount from private investors ahead of the launch of the Crowdcube campaign on May 1. They are looking to raise an initial £500,000 (US$688,000). Elwes and Markou say that the scheme is different from other crowdfunding offerings rather than giving investors the opportunity to back one single project and receive perks, Movie Collective has a slate of projects at various stages of development, and investors will receive equity in the production company itself. It is the intention of the company to pay prospective profits as a dividend to equity stakeholders, with remaining profits used to help finance other projects on the slate.
The first Movie Collective project is the feature film Utopia Road, with Anjelica Huston (The Addams Family), Garrett Hedlund (Mudbound) and Rebecca Hall (Iron Man 3). It is expected to shoot this summer. The film will be directed by Rosson Crow, marking the American visual artist’s directorial debut, and is written by Karolina Waclawiak (AWOL).
Elwes is very well-known in the indie film world, having sold Mudbound to Netflix for $12.5 million in the biggest deal at Sundance 2017. Other notable films on his resume that he had a hand in include Lee Daniel’s The Butler, The Dallas Buyers Club, Blue Valentine, and Lawless. Markou wrote, directed, and produced British indie hit Papadopoulos & Sons, and then self-distributed the film to becoming the second-highest screen average of any film in its opening weekend at the time. The film was eventually bought by Netflix, BBC, and ARTE.
Elwes said, “It’s been a fantastic start and I cannot wait to put this opportunity in front of the wider Crowdcube community of investors. I want us to make great movies we are all collectively proud of.”
Markou added, “It’s so exciting to engage our first investors. There is so much interest from people who want to be part of our filmmaking process. Why not have our shareholders attend readthroughs, for example, and see a movie at its inception? Or send out the treatments of new projects for the shareholder base to feedback on. Because we are a small business, we can do this. We still have distance to go but the backing we’ve already received shows there’s appetite for this model.”