Spike Lee pans in on Kickstarter for next indie film

Lee is the latest (and probably most influential) filmmaker to turn to the crowdfunding site for financing. He hopes to raise $1.5 million for his next feature film, which he says is about people "who are addicted to blood."

Famed filmmaker Spike Lee turns to Kickstarter to raise money for his next project. Kickstarter/Screenshot by CNET

Acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee on Monday launched a campaign on the Kickstarter crowdfunding site in hopes of raising $1.5 million for his next feature flick about people who are "addicted to blood."

"Filmmaking is what I do. Filmmaking is what I love. And you guys help me keep it going. This is a mother******* tough business, and I'm going to keep fighting the powers that be," Lee said in a video on the Kickstarter site (and embedded below) as he explained his plea.

For now, Lee is only calling his next project the "Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint" and he has offered very little in the way of details about what it's about.

"As human beings, we have many addictions: drugs, alcohol, power, sex. This film is about the addiction of blood. A lot of sex in it, too," he said.

The maker of such films as "Do The Right Thing" and "Malcolm X" is just the latest famous creator to turn to Kickstarter for fund-raising. Lee, who is artistic director of the graduate film program at New York University, said one of his students alerted him to two recent successful Kickstarter campaigns -- one for the "Veronica Mars" film that raised $5 million and another for Zach Braff's "Wish I Was Here" film, which raised $3.1 million.

"I heard about that and I said, 'Oh snap!'" Lee said in the video.

And so far, so good. Midway into day 1 of the 30-day campaign, he already has raised $14,468 among 272 backers.

"It's a very different climate now, and the only way to ensure as an independent filmmaker that your vision gets on screen is when you bring the money to the table," he said in the video. But Lee is much more specific in his concerns about Hollywood in his Kickstarter post:

With the current climate in The Hollywood Studio System, it's not an encouraging look for Independent Filmmakers. I'm not hating, just stating the facts. Super Heroes, Comic Books, 3D Special EFX, Blowing up the Planet Nine Times and Fly through the Air while Transforming is not my Thang. To me it's not just that these Films are being made but it seems like these are the only films getting made. To The Studios it seems like every Film must be a Home run on a Global scale, a Tent Pole Enterprise, able to spin off Sequel after Sequel after Sequel after Sequel after Sequel after Sequel...

Do you wish to see Human Beings dealing with each other on a Human Level? How many more explosions with Ear splitting Sound Effects can you take? C'mon People, please get behind this Joint.

The campaign is offering "some fly awards" as fund-raising incentives, Lee said. A $10,000 donation, for example, gets the donor a courtside seat with Lee -- a well-known NBA fan -- for a New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. A $5,000 pledge gets the donor associate producer creds. $1,000 gets the donor a part in the film as an extra. And for $750, he or she receives a pair of shoes Lee has worn.

And to all donors, Lee offers this: "I promise you, my hand to God, on my mother's grave, every red cent every wooden nickel will go up on the screen."

CNET reached out to Lee for some firsthand insight on the project. We'll update this post if we hear back.

About the author

Michelle Meyers, associate editor, has been writing and editing CNET News stories since 2005. But she's still working to shed some of her old newspaper ways, first honed when copy was actually cut and pasted. When she's not fixing typos and tightening sentences, she's working with reporters on story ideas, tracking media happenings, or freshening up CNET News' home page.

 

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