Corner Gas crowdfunding about the fans: producer

The purpose of the Kickstarter campaign for Corner Gas: The Movie was to give fans an opportunity to be involved, says executive producer Virginia Thompson.
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While crowdfunding is often used to get cameras rolling, the overarching goal of the Kickstarter campaign for Corner Gas: The Movie was to get fans involved in the film, says executive producer Virginia Thompson of Verite Films.

Fully financed via various funding bodies including Telefilm, Bell Media, the Canada Media Fund, Tourism Saskatchewan and Creative Saskatchewan, a 30-day Kickstarter campaign is already underway for Corner Gas: The Movie as well.

With a goal of $100,000, fans can bid on various experiences related to the film, such as a set tour or naming characters in the movie.

The campaign hit its initial goal within its first day, with about $180,000 raised as of Monday morning. The funds raised through the campaign will go directly into facilitating these fan experiences, said Virginia Thompson, executive producer on the film.

Some of the raised funds will also go towards enhancing the production value of the film, such as special effects, but the production of the film itself is not dependent on the campaign and none of the funds raised will go to the producers, she emphasizes.

“Could we make the Corner Gas movie right now, and just do nothing for our fans? Absolutely,” Thompson told Playback Daily.

The primary goal of the campaign is fan engagement and marketing.

“It’s the first time we’ve been able to have a direct conversation with [fans],” Thompson said.

The success rate of Kickstarter campaigns is about 40%, according to the most recent data available on the crowdfunding platform’s website.

Previous efforts of this nature in the U.S. garnered criticism for similar approaches. In particular, filmmaker Zach Braff was criticized by some for using crowdfunding to finance his latest project, Wish I Was Here, instead of his own personal wealth or industry connections. Fan funds, naysayers alleged, might be diverted from other projects in greater need – criticism Braff handily deflected.

Canadian filmmaker Siobhan Devine feels similarly. Her film The Birdwatcher went into production only after her team raised just over $14,000 through an Indiegogo campaign and while some filmmakers require crowdfunding to get their project made, Devine said she has no problem with Corner Gas: The Movie using the platform.

“I don’t think they take money away from me – it’s a totally different audience, and it’s an audience-specific film,” Devine said.

Corner Gas: The Movie is produced by Corner Gas The Movie (SK) Inc, and Corner Gas The Movie (ON) Inc., in association with CTV, Telefilm Canada, Cineplex, Tourism Saskatchewan and the Canada Media Fund. Requests for comment on the film’s crowdfunding campaign from Bell Media and Telefilm were redirected to the executive producers on Corner Gas: The Movie.

Along with Thomspon, Brent Butt and David Storey also serve as executive producers on Corner Gas: The Movie. Jack Tunnicliffe is producing the movie shoot in Saskatchewan, with Janice Dawe serving as a consulting producer. The film will be distributed by Prairie Pants Distribution.