Civil Kickstarter: Film on Julian Bond needs $24K
A documentary on noted civil rights leader and retired UVA professor Julian Bond has received no support from any of the institutions with which Bond, former chair of the NAACP, is associated.
Instead, Julian Bond: Reflections from the Civil Rights Movement was self-financed by Ivy filmmaker Eduardo Montes-Bradley, until the last leg, when Montes-Bradley decided he needed help securing music licensing fees and photographic rights. That's when he turned to Kickstarter, a website devoted to raising money for creative endeavors.
Kickstarter was the vehicle filmmakers Derek Sieg and Jeremy Goldstein used in the spring to raise $65,000 in hopes of luring Nick Nolte to star in their film, Hot Air. (They raised the money, but no word on whether Nolte has signed on to the project.)
Whether it's raising $5,000 to make an album, as local musician Michael Coleman is doing, or $23,650 to finish a documentary, Montes-Bradley's goal, a Kickstarter campaign lasts for a limited time, and if the total sum is not raised, the contributions get returned.
Argentinian-born Montes-Bradley has made dozens of films, including Evita: The Documentary, about Eva Duarte Perón, which was shown at last year's Virginia Film Festival. The new film, Julian Bond, is slated to premiere at this year's 25th anniversary festival.
"Artfully directed and extensively researched, [the film] offers a look into the thoughts, mind, and life of one of our country's greatest Civil Rights leaders," festival director Jody Kielbasa blurbs on Kickstarter.
Bond, who recently received a star-studded New York retirement party, which did double duty by raising money for an endowed UVA chair in his name, gives the project a thumbs-up of his own: "The documentary shows me candidly as no one has. Eduardo Montes-Bradley brought an intimacy to the screen that surprised even me."
When he decided to make the Bond film, Montes-Bradley became so engrossed in production, "I didn't have time to go out and raise money," he says.
Now he has just 30 days to come up with cash to secure the music and photographs. The deadline is October 17– coincidentally, also the date upon which in 1945 General Perón was released from prison after mass demonstrations, points out Montes-Bradley.
Montes-Bradley calls Kickstarter a "win-win" for the filmmaker and for donors. Because the film will be distributed by Filmmakers Library to educational institutions ("Very prestigious," says Montes-Bradley), it won't be available to general audiences for five years– but for $75, donors will get a copy of the DVD.
Meanwhile, Montes-Bradley is moving on to his next film– a one-hour documentary on poet Rita Dove.