Spike Lee has been the nation’s leading Black cinema artist for many years. His groundbreaking film “She’s Gotta Have It” was released in 1986, and along the way Lee has made several memorable films including “Mo’ Betta Blues” “Jungle Fever” and his polarizing “Do The Right Thing.”
Although he’s not given the credit he deserves for it, he’s also boosted the careers of Samuel L. Jackson, Wesley Snipes and Denzel Washington, among others, including Oscar winner Halle Berry, who made her film debut in “Jungle Fever.”
Today Lee is asking his fans for help. His latest feature, due out October 25, is an American remake of the violent Korean film “Oldboy” starring Josh Brolin and Samuel L. Jackson. On that film, as he was with 2006’s“Inside Man” he is a hired gun doing a studio project. On his own, though, Lee wants to do a new film “about people addicted to blood” and he’s joined Kickstarter to ask for funding assistance.
“There’s a new thing called crowd-funding where you get your fans, your public to help you finance your film,” Lee told the Tom Joyner Morning Show. “We’re doing it on a vehicle called Kickstarter. I’m trying to raise $1.25 million dollars. It’s a thriller. We’re not calling it a vampire movie. You can be addicted to blood and not be a vampire.”
Lee says that fans of the cancelled TV show “Veronica Mars” raised over $5 million to support the upcoming movie, and fans of the TV show “Scrubs” chipped in $3 million to help its star, Zach Braff, make his next film “Wish I Was Here. “ Kickstarter and other sites like it are what artists are increasingly turning to for funding for movie, TV and music projects.
Lee further explains that while you’re not an investor in any of the Kickstarter projects so you don’t profit, if you have $10,000 to invest you’ll get dinner and courtside Knicks seats with Lee. For $5,000 you get an associate producer credit.
But even if you’re not a baller, you can participate and support your favorite filmmaker in affordable contributions as well, ranging from $5 and up. Everyone who contributes will get something, from a tweet from Lee for smaller donors to inside information on the film’s production to the aforementioned Knicks game
“We’re doing good,” says Lee. “But it’s a grind. You’ve got to get out there every day.” In it’s first day, Lee has raised $17,000 plus dollars but there are only 29 days left to contribute. If he doesn’t reach his goal by August 21, Kickstarter returns the money to contributors and Lee’s next film may not get made.
There’s not much more Lee is willing to say about the film’s content.
“Here’s the thing. [People] are so conditioned today to knowing every thing about a movie. You watch a trailer today, you don’t have to go see the movie! We want there to be some element of surprise so you don’t know exactly everything that’s in the film.”
Lee says that the average Hollywood blockbuster has a budget of $100 million and that indie films, which have much more of a limited return, are harder to make.
“This summer there were 29 sequels or prequels,” Lee says. “They’re not making those type of films. I don’t really make films with people blowing up. I don’t think “Do The Right Thing” would be made today.”