Spike Lee turns to Kickstarter

Veteran filmmaker Spike Lee is a hustler. After funding his films using credit cards in the early days, the Brooklynite once turned to prominent black celebrities to raise the cash he needed to complete Malcolm X. Although Lee’s found success and had a few box office hits, he’s been unwilling or unable to work within Hollywood’s system to get a film made within the last few years.

His last project, “Red Hook Summer,” was self-funded, but now it seems the 52-year-old director is turning to a new source: Kickstarter.

In a letter to his fans, Lee explained why he is turning to crowd sourcing to raise the capital for his film (which he offers no details about). Basically, it’s hard out here for independent artists and Lee hopes to sidestep Hollywood’s machine by turning directly to fans.

Will it work?

Read Spike’s letter and judge for yourself:

Human beings who are addicted to blood. Funny, sexy, and bloody (and it’s not “Blacula”)…

July 21, 2013

Dear Faithful,

I say my Prayers every night because I have been able to do what I Love and I Love what I do. I am a Filmmaker and I’m blessed. Most people on this God’s Earth go to the grave hating the occupation they had. When you Love what you do it’s not a job, it’s something you would do for free because it brings True Joy to your Heart and Soul. When you are blessed to do that especially if you’re an Artist it can bring those emotions of the Human Experience to your Audience (if you are Lucky). The catch is Filmmaking is an Artform that costs M-O-N-E-Y. That is why I’m appealing to the Kindness in your Hearts, to the Faithful who have given me the much needed Love and Support over my 3 decades of Spike Lee Joints. You have been there from BACK IN DA DAY with my Feature Film debut SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT (1986) to the present with RED HOOK SUMMER. Your support has been instrumental in helping to launch the Film Careers of Halle Berry, Rosie Perez, Martin Lawrence, Queen Latifah, Samuel L. Jackson, Giancarlo Esposito, Tisha Campbell, Jasmine Guy, John Turturro, Robin Harris, Anthony Mackie, Mekhi Phifer, Kerry Washington, Bill Nunn and Delroy Lindo who were showcased in my Films.

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.

I have a different vision of what Cinema can be, a different vision of what some under-served Audiences might want to see. That is why I am here on KICKSTARTER, to raise the Funds for The New Spike Lee Joint, to get this BAD BOY financed. Nothing in Life is Free and if you want something you got to pay for it. If you have liked any of my Films in the past, this is the price it costs to see another one (which can be less than the cost of one Movie Ticket). We feel the different levels on contributions make it affordable for everyone to GET DOWN FOR THE CAUSE.

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.

As I stated in the Video, I promise on my Mother’s Grave and Right Hand to the Almighty – every Red Cent, every Wooden Nickel, every Dollar will go up on the Screen and not into my pocket. I’m not taking a Fee, your generous contributions will get this Film made.

Kickstarter is an all or nothing venture. If we don’t attain our goal of raising $1,250,000 in 30 DAYS all pledges will be released and it won’t get made and we can’t let that be an option. So tell yo Friends, Relatives, Co-Workers, everybody to chip in LET’S GET DOWN FOR THE CAUSE.

In closing I will continue to do My Thang and this Joint, which YOU THE PEOPLE financed is gonna be HOT and DAT’S DA TRUTH, RUTH. Ya-Dig? Sho-Nuff.

Spike Lee – Filmmaker
Da Republic of Brooklyn, New York

What do you think of Spike Lee’s decision to turn to Kickstarter to fund his next film?

h/t Shadow & Act.

  • Ask_Me

    The reality is Spike Lee’s films aren’t that great. He should probably just produce and direct and avoid writing the script. Maybe then he will get a box office smash.

  • VDUB

    If the creators of Veronica Mars can do it, why can’t Spike? He doesn’t make the types of films that will have a hundred million dollar budget like a Batman or Spider-Man. If you’re a fan, it shouldn’t hurt to donate $1 or $5, if you are able to do so.

  • Ads

    Exactly, i think of all the comments on here lamenting depictions of the black community on reality tv, tyler perry – or the non-depictions/ invisibility. There’s usually plenty of talk on supporting what u want to see – here’s the chance

  • MommieDearest

    I have loved some of Spike’s films and some of his others… not so much. I would like for him to give us some info on what his new film project will be about so that I can decide whether I want to contribute or not. I would hate to give money “blindly” and it ends up being something that I do not agree with.

  • Santi

    No shade, but Spike Lee is a well known filmmaker with industry connections. I am tired of filmmakers who are in the Hollywood system like Zach Braff and the director of the Veronica Mars movie asking for our money. Will we be able to see the movie for free if we donate? I rather give my money to upcoming filmmakers, thats what Kick Starter was started for.

  • Me27

    I have to shake my head at this. I watched the video and basically what I heard was “I heard you gave them money, so give me money too!”

    I think Spike fails to realize the reason why Veronica Mars was able to raise so much money so quickly is because 1) they have a very strong and loyal fan base, and 2) the money is for a very specific project. It seems like Spike is simply asking for money for the sake of asking for money. If he was raising money for an actual project, then I would consider giving; but this (as it is currently presented) I cannot support.

  • Pseudonym

    Seriously. He has the clout to seek INVESTORS- he just has to be willing to share the profits. (Speaking of, does anyone from Kickstarter who’s out to make $$ share any of their profits with the people who initially invest in their idea?)

  • ruggie

    I’d like to see Spike use his brand and clout to push new, up and coming black filmmakers with new stories to tell. I heard he played a part in getting “Pariah” made.

  • Shanti

    If Spike Lee wants people to invest in his movie he needs to do better than “it’s about the addiction to blood and I’m going to sex it up for you”. No thanks. Red Hook summer was a poorly done movie with holes in the story and poor acting. Instead of trying to find money he needs to work on modernizing his technique for the 21st century movie goer. School Daze had its time but it over. Spike Lee needs to evolve.

  • ArabellaMichaela

    “F” Spike Lee. I haven’t liked him since “School Daze.” And then he went on to marry a “black blonde,” so obviously that “jigaboo” bs in School Daze reflected his true colorism. “Malcolm X” was a great film. Other than that, Lee is basically a mediocre filmmaker. As I recall, he was given a $20 million dollar deal several years ago. I guess he spent it on court side seats for the Knicks. Sorry but he gets no sympathy here.

  • SayWhat

    As someone who would not support Spike, when I think of supporting black film, I think of ‘ black and sexy tv ‘, Spike is not struggling, they are.

  • Georgia

    I’ve generally liked Spike’s films, but he really needs to quit with that “da joint,” “ya dig,” and “sho-nuff” nonsense, and he hasn’t represented for Brooklyn in quite some time. He’s a wealthy, mainstream filmmaker who lives on the Upper East Side, and it’s like he’s trying to still prove he’s “down” with the “homies.” Grow up, Spike, and earn your money like the rest of us.

  • Ash

    Wow, only one day in and he’s at $84,700. Crowdfunding is effective.

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