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Zach Braff's Kickstarter movie campaign tops million dollars


UPI News Service, 04/24/2013 

Zach Braff's Kickstarter crowd funding campaign for a new film topped $1 million in pledge funds on its first day Wednesday.

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The campaign set a goal of raising $2 million in 30 days to make "Wish I Was Here," which Braff wrote with his brother Adam. By early evening Wednesday, the campaign had more than 14,400 donors who pledged about $1.1 million to back the film, a United Press International review of the website indicated.

The minimum pledge was $1.

Braff -- who first became known in 2001 for his role as Dr. John Dorian on the television series "Scrubs" -- said he used the crowd funding approach, rather than traditional backing, because he wanted the last word on his film's final cut, the version of the movie that's ultimately released for public viewing.

"Financiers are fine for lots of projects and it works out perfectly for many movies, but when you're trying to make these smaller, personal art films, the idea of giving final cut away to someone else, it doesn't make any sense for me," be told The Hollywood Reporter.

Often, after a director completes edits, additional edits are supervised by producers who represent the production company or movie studio or both. Conflicts sometimes arise between the director and the studio.

Braff said he didn't want that for "Wish I Was Here" and preferred to invite individuals to pool their money to support his efforts.

"Wish I Was Here," about a struggling actor who agrees to home-school his young son, will be set in Hollywood but feature characters originally from New Jersey, where Braff grew up.

Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon Cooper on the CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," has announced he will be a co-star.

The film's producers are Stacey Sher, who most recently produced "Django Unchained," and Michael Shamburg, whose producing credits include "Erin Brockovich," "A Fish Called Wanda," "Garden State," "Pulp Fiction" and "The Big Chill."

Braff made his writing and directing debut with "Garden State," a 2004 comedy-drama.

Braff told The Reporter he got the idea of going to Kickstarter after seeing producer Rob Thomas and actress Kristen Bell raise $5.7 million last month to fund a film version of the CW Television Network cult hit "Veronica Mars."

"I tried to make a couple of films within the studio system and also with traditional independent financing," he said. "I always hit roadblocks, whether it was having to cast a certain person or having to retain final cut with the success of 'Garden State.'

"With this movie, I'm so passionate about this movie, I was really about to sign on the dotted line with a traditional financing arrangement," he said.

But the traditional financing arrangement didn't "sit right in my stomach," Braff said, explaining it would invariably mean having to give away the final-cut privilege, put someone's brother in the film, and a host of other compromises.

"I don't want to do those many things on that list required of me to get that money, including giving up final cut, because I've been in test screenings and I've seen the way one person's commentary can steer the whole way that a financier wants a movie to go," he said.

"I'm not going to do that with this film, because it's too important to me. It's too close to my heart," he said.


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