×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tongal, Spitfire Enter Film Crowdfunding Game with Documentary Contest

Spitfire Pictures will co-produce a $110,000 film with Tongal over the next year

Backing a movie on crowdsourcing platforms like Indiegogo or Kickstarter is a fairly simple process: You give your money and walk away, providing little to no creative input on how the project gets made.

Tongal is taking a different approach over the next year as it turns to crowdsourcing to produce its first film, a full-length documentary.

The company, which has provided high-profile marketers like McDonald’s, Lego and Procter & Gamble an opportunity to produce commercials by turning to their consumers for ideas, has paired up with Spitfire Pictures (“Undefeated”) to ask audiences what kind of documentary they would pay to watch at the local multiplex.

On Sept. 17, the companies launched “The Spitfire Documentary Project” on Tongal.com, which has already received over 100 submissions from around the globe.

Tongal will stop accepting ideas — limited to 500 characters — for the film on Oct. 17, after which it will begin a second phase in November in which filmmakers within the Tongal community will create a pitch based on one of the five winning subjects or submit a “wild card” entry. One of the eight will receive $2,500 in funding to produce a sizzle reel for the documentary.

Two sizzle reels will ultimately be greenlit for production, and the associated filmmakers will be offered the opportunity to enter into a production agreement with Tongal and offered $35,000 to produce a director’s cut of their film. At least one of the directors will receive an additional $15,000 in funds to complete the documentary. The final cut phase ends Sept. 17, 2014.

Making movies was always going to be the next step for Santa Monica, Calif.-based Tongal, according to company co-founder and chief product officer James De Julio.

It originally thought it would start with a traditional script, turning to the masses to help write the script. But getting it made would have still required working through Hollywood’s often time-consuming constraints of dealing with agents, producers and distributors.

That isn’t what Tongal is known for.

In making its commercials for major marketers, Tongal has sped up the development and production process, and it can get a 30-second spot on air or other form of video online within weeks, not many months, at a fraction of the cost (Tongal likes to tout its process as 10 times cheaper and 10 times faster).

A $30,000 project for Fox Sports and Lego was produced as a Web series that stars Fox Sports’ robotic football mascot Cleatus as a mashup with Lego’s Hero Factory toys.

One Tongal-produced spot for Colgate-Palmolive’s Speed Stick brand, produced for $17,000, wound up airing during the Super Bowl this year after originally being pitched as a digital-only video.

In each case, Tongal goes out to its creative community and provides a brief on what the client is looking for. Tongal is now accepting ideas for a Hasbro campaign, with the toymaker offering up $40,000 to promote its board games. P&G recently completed one worth $150,000.

In Spitfire, Tongal has found a partner with a similar entrepreneurial approach to getting projects made.

Spitfire, owned by Exclusive Media, produced the Oscar-winning doc “Undefeated,” Grammy-winning “Foo Fighters: Back and Forth” film, and Martin Scorsese’s Bob Dylan music doc “No Direction Home,” which took home an Emmy.

“Our partnership with a forward-thinking creative company like Tongal is a great opportunity to support emerging talent and discover new stories,” said Alex Brunner, deputy chief operating officer at Exclusive Media, which recently backed Ron Howard’s “Rush.”

SEE ALSO: Ron Howard’s ‘Rush’ for Independent Film Financing

Spitfire will work with Tongal to help judge the submissions and steer the development, production, marketing and ultimately distribution of the winning film. Tongal is putting up the $110,000 to complete the project.

“Breaking into the filmmaking industry is not without its challenges, and our mission at Tongal is to remove the barriers and help our creative community realize their full potential,” De Julio said. “The biggest brands in the world have embraced the Tongal platform and our creatives – and paired with an innovative, award-winning company like Spitfire, this project will show that the Tongal approach can produce world-class feature films.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Bull

    Annie Silverstein's 'Bull' Takes Top Awards, Robert Pattinson Starrer 'The Lighthouse' Wins Jury Prize at Deauville

    Annie Silverstein’s feature debut “Bull” swept three awards at the 45th Deauville American Film Festival, including the Grand Prize, the Revelation Prize for best first film and the Critics’ Prize. “Bull,” a portrait of a rebellious teenage girl from South Texas, world premiered at Cannes’s Un Certain Regard and marks Silverstein’s follow up to her [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Jennifer Lopez's 'Criminal' Striptease: How 'Hustlers' Landed the Fiona Apple Hit

    Contrary to what you might be expecting, the number of songs by Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo and Cardi B in “Hustlers,” their newly released acting vehicle, adds up to … zero. Meanwhile, the standout music sync in a movie that’s full of them belongs to no less likely a choice than Fiona Apple. The scene in [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers' Win Big at 45th Annual Saturn Awards

    As Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her first trophy ever at the 45th Annual Saturn Awards Friday night, she had a good luck charm on her arm: former manager Chuck Binder, whom she said was the reason she became an actor. “I was in college and had no thought of being an actor,” Curtis told [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Dances Toward $32 Million Opening Weekend

    “Hustlers” is eyeing the biggest opening weekend ever for STXFilms, following a Friday domestic ticket haul of $13.1 million from 3,250 theaters. If estimates hold, the stripper saga could take home around $32 million come Sunday, marking the best live-action opening of Jennifer Lopez’s career. “Hustlers” follows a group of former strip club dancers, led [...]

  • Hustlers intimacy coordinator

    Meet the Stripper Consultant Who Gave 'Hustlers' Authenticity, Dignity and Sexual Freedom

    At last week’s Toronto Film Festival premiere of “Hustlers,” an audience of Hollywood heavyweights and Canadian locals applauded as a statuesque woman strutted on stage, rocking six-inch platform heels and a pastel tie-dye bodysuit. This adoration was not for stars Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu or Keke Palmer, nor was it for the film’s acclaimed writer-director [...]

  • Kristen Stewart

    French Director Olivier Assayas Pays Tribute to Kristen Stewart at Deauville

    French director Olivier Assayas paid tribute to Kristen Stewart, whom he directed in “Clouds of Sils Maria” and “Personal Shopper,” at the Deauville American Film Festival on Friday evening. Stewart received a honorary award in Deauville before the French premiere of Benedict Andrews’s “Seberg” in which the actress stars as Jean Seberg, a French New [...]

  • Liam Gallagher: As It Was

    Film Review: 'Liam Gallagher: As It Was'

    Liam Gallagher is nearly as fascinating a rock ‘n’ roll figure as he thinks he is … which is saying a lot. After the breakup of Oasis, one of the most self-avowedly arrogant stars in pop culture found himself severely humbled, fighting to become relevant again without the help of Noel, his ex-bandmate and, for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content