The city of Sheffield, England became known in the 19th century as an international leader in steel production. These days you’re probably more familiar with the city as a hotbed for creative talents most especially in the music world. Home to legends such as The Human League, independent music label Warp Records and artists such as Joe Cocker, Pulp, Def Leppard and Moloko, talents most recently to emerge are The Arctic Monkeys, The Long Blondes and Toddla T, all causing such a stir that NME has coined this resurgence the ‘New Yorkshire Movement’. Also born out of the city is one of the IndieGoGo partners, Sheffield Doc/Fest, one of the world’s major documentary and interactive media festivals boasting an annual attendee list of 2500 international delegates.
Building its reputation to support the independent documentary industry, the festival has pioneered new methods in funding, distribution, marketing and exhibition – all areas of business they continuously enforce even outside the festival period. Marketplace Director to the festival, Charlie Phillips states, "Sheffield Doc/Fest has established itself as a key international festival, marketplace and conference for innovation in documentary, factual media and interactive. With the move of our dates to June in 2011, we're proud to offer a major summer opportunity for the world docs community to get together, get creative, do business and have some fun. Year-round we act as a catalyst for innovation through workshops, training labs and networking"
Currently Sheffield Doc/Fest are the only global festival to devote one day of their festival program to crowdfunding, ‘We're delighted to be part of this partnership with IndieGoGo, offering our community the chance to become Doc/Fest Crowdfunding Fellows. We want to bring more European documentary filmmakers to IndieGoGo and help them be showcased to the world and get their funding secured. This partnership is a perfect demonstration of our commitment to the revolution of crowdfunding and other innovative methods of getting funding, distribution, marketing and exhibition secured in the new world of film funding. We're inspired by IndieGoGo and we want to spread its message to the world and facilitate participation on the platform.’
Here Charlie Phillips gives us some examples of success stories coming out of Sheffield Doc/Fest:
You've Been Trumped
We introduced one of our Fellows, Anthony, to crowdfunding at one of our pitching workshops in 2009. He’s since had massive success and publicity with this project, premiering at HotDocs and going on to Sheffield Doc/Fest (where he won the Green Award) and the Traverse City Film Festival (where he was also a prize winner). The project was considered too controversial for broadcasters but Anthony persisted and reached his public directly through IndieGoGo. He even stopped Donald Trump building his golf course!
The Real Social Network
A grassroots documentary on the rise of student activism in the UK by new young filmmakers (and produced by Quark Films) embedded in the movement. This documentary raised $10k by appealing directly to those very activists and setting an agenda for the film to support and spread the word of challenging authority.
Fun Mexican-related perks boosted this campaign by Gabriela Isis about a human rights activist. Gabriela combined affection for the main character's personality with her own infectious energy to mobilize her community to support her.
Sound It Out
They raised funding through 3 separate campaigns on IndieGoGo – Jeanie Finlay was introduced to the revolution of crowdfunding at a Doc/Fest workshop on the new world of funding and outreach and embraced it fully. Raising about $13k in total, she offered original and fun perks, such as a tour of her local area by her Dad. Jeanie went on to premiere the film at Doc/Fest 2011 and was inspired by the training she received at our year-round workshops that she persuaded the British Film Institute (BFI) to support a UK cinema release. Not bad going for what was originally a bit of a side project!