Its not everyday that the curators of a film festival ask a filmmaker to submit his films to their festival, and then send him away with 5 awards, including the top 3 prizes and cash! Yesterday, however, was one of those unbelievable days.
Here’s the awards from the My Hero Film Festival, held yesterday at USC.
When inspiration is the only currency that powers your work, you come out ahead whether or not anyone recognizes you or contributes financially. And if you keep planting those seeds of inspiration, every so often, one will blossom into a tree that drops a ripe fruit in your lap 🙂 And if every tree has hundreds of fruits and thus thousands of seeds, in enough time you may just witness the birth of a ‘rain forest’ with enough ‘oxygen’ for everyone to inhale inspiration all day!
The feedback from the festival was that I should enter films in bigger festivals, and find a way to complete the feature-length Friends Without Borders documentary spanning 70+ hours of footage and 2 years of shooting. I’ve been reluctant to enter festivals because I’m averse to self-promotion or even talking about myself, but I’m realizing that I may be blocking many people out from being inspired and in turn propagating that inspiration. My reluctance has been facilitated by having no money for festival entry fees in the first place, what to mention the time to complete a feature-length film. But if people want to see that happen, I’ll play my part 🙂
So in the spirit of allowing more people to participate in propagating the inspiration, I’m launching a new experiment here: Inspiration Investment !
Here’s how it works
If either the Law of Love or Itipini Community Project films move you, you have the opportunity invest in more people becoming inspired by these films by paying the cost of entering them into an upcoming film festival. You can do so at 4 convenient levels, depending on your financial and ideological comfort with the gift-economy:
Livin’ It & Givin’ It – Inspiring others and giving of yourself is your reward. Karmic ROI: potentially infinite. Financial ROI: minus 100%
Payback is Sweet – Get your money back. Karmic ROI: 100%. Financial ROI: 0%
Dow (Tao?) and a Half – Get your money back, plus 15%. Karmic ROI: <100%. Financial ROI: 15%.
Double Your Money – Get your money back, and then get your money back again. Karmic ROI: ? Financial ROI: 100%
Financial prizes at these festivals can be hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. So, if these films win at ANY festival, than EVERYBODY who invested will get the return on investment that they requested. ‘Payback’ will happen on a first-come, first-paid basis. After everyone has received what they need, I will accept the remainder as a fund to continue to survive in the gift-economy by making short films, and even longer ones if the universe facilitates that. And If I win nowhere else, then every investor falls into the Livin’ It & Givin’ It category by default 🙂
To simplify the process for everyone, I’ve listed some upcoming film festivals along with entry fee and deadlines below.
When contributing to the Inspiration Investment Project, please add a note specifying the 1.) film you’d like to invest in (Law of Love, Itipini, Other), 2.) festival you would like to see it in (one from the list of festivals above, or other that you specify), 3.) dimension of your investment (from the 4 categories listed above).
Here’s a PayPal button to bring it down to a single click for you. I can’t figure out how to get it to say ‘Invest’ instead of ‘Donate’ 🙂
Also, please add a comment to the blog after you invest in a particular film and festival, so others don’t duplicate and I don’t get rich through your generosity! Remember, only one investor per film per festival!!
Nipun suggested that ChipIn might be a more fun was to raise the inspiration funds needed. It also lets people invest smaller amounts to reach the target for each festival. So here’s links to pages where you can track progress on the fundraising, in order of deadline. BTW, the deadline listed above is the date that festival organizers need to receive the film by– which means the money needs to be here at least 4-5 days earlier! So hurry up and click on the where you want to invest!
UPDATE – 11/25/08
More than enough money has been raised!
I’ve been awed and humbled by the generosity that’s flowed in. Multiple people have told me that they want to fund every single festival, and where possible, I’ve stopped them so that others have an opportunity to be a small part of the inspiration. One friend was just hospitalized from a fire in her kitchen with 2nd & 3rd degree burns, and she sends in a donation and offers to compose a score for a future film! Another friend in India lives on $200 a month, and donates $65 of that to inspiring people on the other side of the globe!! Yet another friend made films in Seattle, and not only funds both for the Seattle Film Festival, but offers to forward to all her film-investor friends in the city!!! Another friend steps in and sends over $800 as a gift to his wife, joking that this is the true ‘Law of Love’!!! What’s more astounding is that everyone simply wants the ‘Inspiration Capital’ returns instead of the financial returns, and most are bypassing the ChipIn system to remain anonymous to the world in the process. Truly amazing.
I feel like I’ve already ‘won’ so many times over with this process– the conceptualizing, shooting, writing, and editing were all gifts before the first person saw any of the work, and then the hundreds of people who have been moved have made it even sweeter. With this kind of energy behind these films, I feel like we’re going to touch a lot of people out there!
Thank you all for Investing in Inspiration!