Fest mulls lessons of Cinema Reloaded experiment

The Rotterdam Film Festival has emerged battered but unbowed from its experiment with crowd funding, Cinema Reloaded.

“There is unquestionably a tangible end-product in the shape of two short films, but it took a year to fund them and we endured a number of painful stages of evaluation and re-evaluation,” the fest concluded in a report released Monday.

Alexis Dos Santos’ “Random Strangers” and “No One Is Illegal,” by Ho Yuhang, bowed at the fest Sunday night, in front of an audience of its public co-producers.

Coin fell far short of target, and both projects had to be completed with help from fest coffers. Two other Cinema Reloaded projects dropped out because of time conflicts.

The fest concludes that building closer connections between filmmakers and auds is still valid but that crowd funding may not yet be up to the job. It concedes that it got the price-point wrong when it asked for a minimum investment of €5 ($6.86).

“The lesson looks to be that people will pay more but expect more in return,” the report stated. “More for more seems to be the basic economic model for crowd funding.”

The report also highlighted the need for full-time staff, particularly to make social networks hum and give films a higher profile.

The fest is mulling how to continue Cinema Reloaded.

“We think that a platform like this could be beneficial to African filmmakers, for example, who can’t rely on local funding bodies for finance,” said fest topper Rutger Wolfson.

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