Doc Ignite kindles launch with time travel doc

The new crowd-funding service from Hot Docs will support documentary projects in development, the first of which is director Jay Cheel's How To Build a Time Machine.
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Hot Docs’ new crowd-funding service Doc Ignite will fire up with inaugural project How To Build a Time Machine, a time travel doc directed by Jay Cheel and produced by Primitive Entertainment.

Launched this week, Doc Ignite aims to help independent Canadian documentary filmmakers build their audiences and raise financing for projects in development.

“Filmmakers have greater direct access to their audiences, and crowd-funding is one tool of many to engage with their public, raise funds, and ‘ignite’ their film,” said Hot Doc Forum and market director Elizabeth Radshaw in a statement from early January.

Toronto-based Open Roof Films, which presents the summer film and music series Open Roof Festival, are adding a little extra fuel in the form of a $1000 advance pledge for the first six Doc Ignite projects.

How To Build a Time Machine, which has received support from the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Development Fund, will campaign through Doc Ignite for 45 days, with an end goal of raising $25,000 towards costumes, props, locations and actors.

The sci-fi/mystery tells the story, through interviews with physicists and time travel experts, of self-professed time traveler John Titor, who claims to have travelled from 2036 to 1975, making an unauthorized stop on the return trip in the year 2000, to connect with his family, two-year-old self, and a group of time-travel enthusiasts.

Similar to global crowd-sourcing sites Kickstarter, which hosted two successful campaigns for Canadian doc Indie Game: The Movie, and indiegogo, filmmakers selected for Doc Ignite set crowd-funding targets based on specific production or post-production needs for their projects. Individuals who pledge funds receive benefits from the filmmakers and incentives from Hot Docs, depending on the level of support.

Projects will be curated by Hot Docs industry experts, and unlike their larger-scale site counterparts, campaigns for selected Doc Ignite projects will run one at a time. Projects will be promoted both by filmmakers and by Hot Docs, plus the Doc Ignite platform will allow for filmmakers to update campaign followers through blogs, video posts and social media channels.

Doc Ignite is supported by the Ontario Media Development Corporation, Telefim Canada, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Community Foundation.