April 18, 2014 · Success Stories

From the Israeli Desert to Screening “Deserted” at SFIFF


Yoav Hornung is an award-winning young filmmaker and entrepreneur who mixed cocktails in Tel Aviv before creating this successful Indiegogo campaign. Today he is the co-founder & CEO of Veed.me, a video production marketplace.

Discovering Indiegogo – September 2011

I had a first draft script of Deserted, my thesis film at Tel Aviv University. I realized I needed at least $12,000 for the project, and that I wouldn’t be able to raise the funds by myself. I didn’t want to rely on the national film funds In Israel, because no one there knew about crowdfunding. I thought about raising money through a DIY website using PayPal. Instead, I googled “how to raise money through the internet” and found Indiegogo.

I decided to go for it.

Shooting the Teaser – October 2011

Video is the most important part of a crowdfunding project.
Don’t go live before it’s perfect.

…were some of the important tips I read when researching crowdfunding advice.

I told Oded, my cinematographer, that we had to shoot a teaser for Deserted, and it didn’t matter that the script wasn’t finalized. We took a camera and a friend that volunteered to act (we hadn’t even started casting), found an awesome location, and shot it.

Going Live – December 2011

I created a Facebook page for Deserted, edited the teaser, talked to friends and family to make sure they could provide initial “momentum” funding, and then went live. The first few hundred dollars came in very quickly – most people in Israel didn’t really know what crowdfunding was, but they felt secure enough to contribute.

I knew that if I could manage to reach out to some people with a great social influence, it would help. I approached a few Israeli celebrities and asked them to share the link.

Assi Azar, a director and the host of the Israeli Big Brother, shared the project with some influential people who ended up funding a lot. They even brought me onto a live national TV show as one of the first crowdfunding projects in Israel.

Reaching the Goal – February 2012

After 78 days of crowdfunding, I managed to raise $9,406. My goal was $7,500.
It was a full-time job that came to fruition against all odds. No one in Israel knew what I was doing, and even the head of my film school didn’t really understand my goal.

Founding Veed.me – August 2012

Me and two friends founded a startup to connect businesses needing promotional videos with underemployed filmmakers around the world, just like us. It’s a huge project that’s still in its early stages.

Shooting – October 2012

It finally happened. I updated all my contributors and supporters through Indiegogo and Facebook, and we completed the shoot in four days as planned. In the credits and posters, I included Indiegogo’s logo, just as if it was a national film fund. I know my film wouldn’t have happened without it.

Deserted poster

Silicon Valley – January 2013
Veed.me was selected to attend an incubator for Israeli startups in Silicon Valley. We spent four months there, during which we met many interesting companies and started to grow our business.

We also fell in love with San Francisco.

The Festival Circuit – June 2013

Deserted premiered in Palm Springs at a very emotional screening. It was an amazing kick-off for the festival circuit, followed by more screenings in festivals across the US and Asia, and in some of the most important short film festivals in Europe.

The film won awards and gained some interest from distributors as I continued sending it to festivals around the world.

San Francisco – April 2014

The selection of my film into the San Francisco International Film Festival was very emotional, since it brought my two biggest projects together in SF itself. The Bay Area was the most important place for me in the past year. I spent a lot of time there working on my startup, Veed.me, which is all about creativity and community.

This isn’t the end of Deserted’s story, but it’s definitely a milestone – especially because Indiegogo’s HQ is in San Francisco, and it’s a great opportunity to have them attend the screening, too!

To catch a screening of Deserted at SFIFF, check out the Shorts 2 schedule now!

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