March 5, 2013
An Australian Filmmaker residing in Cairo, Egypt has successfully raised nearly $25000 through the Australian crowd funding website Pozible.com and in doing so has joined a growing number of independent documentary producers turning the industry's traditional marketing model upside down.
Kim Beamish has already sold hundreds of DVDs of his latest project, a documentary about traditional textile workers suffering the effects of post revolutionary Egypt, yet he is only halfway through shooting his film with an expected release date more than a year away.
With more than a quarter of the fund raising campaign left Beamish’s documentary film, The Tentmakers of Chareh El Khiamiah, had already brought on board more than 200 supporters from around the globe. With the majority of supporters coming from the worldwide quilting and textiles community whose interest in international textiles and fabrics is almost insatiable.
The initial supporter goal for the film was to raise $20,000, “My father asked me on the first day, ‘Do you really think you can raise that much?’ I felt confident but I was a little worried,” Beamish said. “I had seen other films and projects raising money this way. Really turning the whole marketing, funding thing upside down. Also being an Australian based in Cairo I wasn’t exactly sure where to look for funds.”
Before announcing the crowd funding campaign Beamish had built a following through Facebook and Twitter with almost 3000 people following the films Facebook page, “I knew that I had to get people excited beforehand. I was also aware of the size of the quilting and textiles community. They were already very interested in the work of the Tentmakers of Cairo. So I spent six months building up the Facebook page and eventually launching our website prior to starting the crowd funding campaign.”
The trailer, which over the 30 days of the campaign was watch almost 2500 times, is a three and a half minute portrait of Hosam El Farouk that introduces the audience to Hosam’s family, his life and the work of Chareh El Khiamiah, the Tentmakers Street, in Old Islamic Cairo.
“I have often found the process of funding hard and frustrating and have on previous occasions had perfectly good stories turned on their head so as to fit broadcaster schedules and slots,” Beamish says. “Also private financing is not as common in Australia, especially for documentary, as it is in say the US or Europe. It is a whole new ball game for me. I was really putting it out there to see if there is an audience that wants to see this film. I think we have proven that there is.”
With the final film still more than a year away it is hard to judge its success and there is still a long way to go in building support and raising funds.
“It is really up to the audience as to whether or not we will make a great film. It is their support which will give us the opportunity to up hold our pledge to them, which is to make a great film and to make sure our supporters feel they have been a part of it.”
There are many crowd funding websites out there that people can use to market their creative projects and financing goals. With projects wide and varied in what they want to achieve, from transporting cats from Beirut to computer games and cook books. Each with a pitch, a goal, a deadline and the hope that when the time is up the goal is met.
The Tentmakers of Chareh El Khiamiah supporters will over the next 30 days receive rewards for their pledges ranging from a Thank You in the final films credits, to DVD’s with hand stitched covers, T-shirts and cushion covers stitched by the Tentmakers of Cairo themselves.
All of the funds raised through the campaign will go towards travel costs between Egypt and the USA, as the Tentmakers exhibit their work and skills in some of the worlds largest quilting and textiles shows. As well as translation costs and the hire of an Egyptian film editor. Beamish hopes that editing will start at the end of July this year with a possible release halfway through next year.
For more information and if you would like to find out how you can support The Tentmakers of Chareh El Khiamiah go to www.chareh-elkhiamiah.com