Aesthetica Short Film Festival – Crowdfunding

During the recent Aesthetica Short Film Festival we talked to Miranda Fleming, UK head of film for Indiegogo to talk about the recent launch of a new campaign for the upcoming film ‘Gaslighting’.

By Callum Morrison


During the recent Aesthetica Short Film Festival some of the top names in the film industry presented a number of masterclasses. Fascinating for both film makers and the general public alike one of these masterclasses was on the topic of crowdfunding.


Crowdfunding is a new process on the independent filmmaking scene during which a filmmaker pitches their idea to the general public using an online forum. They ask for a set amount of the total project budget and those interested in supporting the project can give as much as they wish, usually with a reward incentive. If the target for the budget is met then the project goes ahead.


Crowfunding has been successful for films such as Zach Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’ and Rooster Teeth’s ‘Laser Team’.


Why do you think so many British filmmakers are turning to crowdfunding?

It’s because it gives you an alternative to waiting for the one gate keeper or one company to finance your film. It’s really important for short filmmakers as most short filmmakers now can only get one festival premier to get press attention. I recommend it should go out online and I think the real value that short filmmakers gain is that you start growing an audience, and when it comes time to make your first feature you have that audience and that data into what people want. I think it’s great to start that during the financing stage of a short and the more you put your films out there for free, the more you will start to see that comeback from the audience.


What do you think crowdfunding allows filmmakers to do outside more traditional funding?

I think it helps to build their audience; not being told what to do in the development process as well as to help empower them artistically is something that crowdfunding really helps.


What reactions have you had from the larger studios with regards to the rise of Indiegogo?

I think it’s more interesting to look at the reactions of the larger independent production companies and studios rather than the giants of film and trying to get the independents to engage with Indiegogo and crowdfunding and perhaps get them to try crowdfunding and launch big campaigns with already established UK film brands and see what happens if they crowdfund. I think they would get some very good results. I think the studio system is moving further and further away from any kind of independent sector and I think it’s massive and they both sit at polar opposites on the scale for crowdfunding.

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Image taken from their Indiegogo page


One of the films that has just launched on Indiegogo is ‘Gaslighting’, directed by Elaine Wickham, and is currently looking to get £10,000 for post-production, promotional materials and an online campaign. Miranda Fleming explains what the film is and what it means.


The film comes from the director Elaine Wickham’s time working with a charity for children where she met a girl, who was about 12 and was a twin, whose entire family had been systematically abused with incestual child abuse to the point that the 12-year-old thought her Grandfather was her boyfriend.


Elaine, alarmed by this, wrote a script and applied for funding from the BFI two years ago. She got a standard rejection letter and with the feedback they said it was just too hard a subject matter, which of course just made Elaine want to make it more.

She got turned down by all the funding bodies she approached and the feedback was always that they couldn’t stomach the first four pages because it was such a difficult subject. That’s why she raised the money from family and friends and I knew that she was looking for money for post-production and I said to her “why don’t you think about Indiegogo?” She agreed and here it is. It stars Stephan Graham (‘Boardwalk Empire’, ‘This is England’) and is scored by Clint Mansell (‘Black Swan’, ‘Noah’) and is even giving away an exclusive ringtone as part of the funding perks.


Is this story purely based on one girl’s story and, if so, why did Elaine pick this girl’s story?

It is based around one girl’s story and I think it just came from how closely Elaine was working with her and she went through all the troubles with her while she was with Elaine at the charity project and got very involved in her story.


Who is it you want to see this film?

Other children and teenagers and anyone who may have had the trauma of being abused by a family member. It would give them the courage to come out and know they are not alone and that there is support for them out there and in the long term this non-profit production is hoping to make two more films which will be set around child abuse and set up a charity to help those affected by it.


What is the effect you wish this film to have on the general public?

It’s to help raise awareness for the subject as well as watch a compelling short film by an award-winning director with some brilliant actors who all give stunning performances and the fantastic score.


Estimated release date?

If the crowdfunding is successful and everything goes smoothly, around March as an estimate.


What other projects have sought funding through Indiegogo?

Another amazing short film to mention that is currently undergoing funding on Indiegogo is ‘A Horse Called Oz’ by director/writer Paul Young, which was brought about because the director met a homeless woman and ended up having a friendship with her, which inspired him to make a film. It’s a project to really take a look at.


Both Gaslighting and A Horse Called Oz are on Indiegogo right now looking for funding with links right.


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‘A Horse Called Oz’

Image taken from their Indiegogo page