Mendel Hardeman started a crowdfunding campaign for his film in Brazil, in 2007, following a series of talks with the director of Stichting Muzenois – Mariette Wildeboer. Mendel crowdfunded and raised 5000 euro on his film’s website www.antoniofilm.com. VSB Fonds agreed to add 1500 euro on top of that.
What resources do you usually approach to get financing for your projects?
I used the VSB Fonds (art fund in The Netherlands) to get started and later used my own network. There were no crowdfunding platforms at the time so only my own network was in use. Crowdsourcing became popular as a model to raise interest in projects and I thought it would be a good idea to ask the interested people in helping me with assistance and with financial aid.
Did you use specific financing resources for this project?
Besides the funds from VSB, specific resources were offered by the people who helped me manage the trip to Brazil by using alternative routes and transport means. So it was also very much about crowdsourcing.
Later on when the film was made I also used the crowd to get the film shown. I would ask to be invited for a showing of the film here and there and asked a small amount for that. I call that crowdhosting. The people involved in the film would organize showings in their circles of friends and relatives and I would host an evening telling about the project and showing the film.
How did the process of crowdfunding go? What were the biggest challenges along the way?
It is a challenge to work completely based on crowd-finance, but I love to be able to do that. I am no longer in between money, I just receive the money from people who appreciate me and my work. This makes me independent form subsidies. People become interested in me personally, not just in my product, and I find that meaningful. All in all, investments are about me and the process I start in a crowd with my film.
How did crowdfunding change your perception about getting financed?
The idea that your life is financed by a crowd makes me feel good about myself. I feel wanted, needed and valuable.
Did crowdfunding bring an added value, besides money?
Yes.Your passion is central to everything you do and not some stupid forms you need to fill in. Crowdfunding is not enough to pay all the bills but it keeps you going and looking for more opportunities to be involved with a crowd.
How would you describe the experience with the crowd? Did engagement with it made you change anything to your project (production, concept, or your expectations of it?)
The whole idea of crowdhosting makes my product change. It’s not the same story I repeat every time. Every crowd has its own dynamics, but I presume that I can’t go on with one show forever. I guess I would like to change this show once I show it more than 50 times and come up with something else. It does give me new ideas on what to do next.
You open yourself differently when you start a project with crowdfunding. The design of the project is not based on a product that needs to go to market, but a story that needs to be told. By using film this story is relevant to a specific audience.
What were the difficulties encountered? Did any aspects of crowdfunding made you feel uncomfortable? Why?
The crowdfunding is problematic in the sense that I need to go completely for it and have to let my other work go. I am a translator as well, but there was not enough time to do that work properly anymore. I have to live the myth I am creating with my work. Actually it made me feel good that art can be seen as something that is valuable by itself and recognized by a crowd. At the moment this is still very much a wish to be fulfilled.
How did you feel about the platform: did the possibilities (for sharing, for uploading, for engagement with the public) fitted your needs?
I did not use a crowdfunding platform, therefore I felt no restraints in this sense.
How many people you know are also crowdfunding?
There are a couple of people I know. Some are successful and others not. But the crowdfunding platforms are not that useful for me or my colleagues.
Where there things about crowdfunding you wish you were aware about before starting it?
Yes, it would have been good to have an idea of the dynamics of involving others in your project. It would have helped me while designing my campaign.
Would you crowdfund again?
I think about working solely with crowdfunding, crowdsourcing and crowdhosting.