Crowdfunding has long been a popular method of indie film financing, as fans frequently donate to their heroes’ passion projects without expecting anything more than a great movie in return. But a new crowdfunded documentary about William Shatner from production company Legion M plans to turn the financing model on its head by giving backers actual equity stakes in the movie. Rather than simply donating out of the kindness of their hearts, Trekkies who back the project can expect to receive a percentage of any profits the film makes.
The currently untitled documentary is set to debut its first footage at a Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con moderated by Kevin Smith this month. But today, the film’s producers at Legion M have begun accepting non-binding reservations that allow fans to be the first to know when investment opportunities become available.
The film is directed by Alexandre O. Philippe, the filmmaker who unpacked Hitchcock’s “Psycho” shower scene frame by frame with the documentary “78/52” and most recently premiered “Lynch/Oz,” about David Lynch’s enduring obsession with “The Wizard of Oz,” at Tribeca. Philippe also directed “Memory: The Origins of Alien,” about the making of Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi classic.
“In truly unique fashion, Legion M, the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company, is allowing fans to invest directly in the project,” the production company said in a statement. “Unlike a Kickstarter or IndieGogo campaign, these investors are doing more than just providing the funds to produce the film — they also own a share of any potential profits the documentary earns.”
“For years I’ve had people approaching me to do a documentary about my life,” Shatner said. “But I turned them all down because it didn’t feel like the right fit. Alexandre and I hit off right away, and when I heard how Legion M wanted to incorporate audiences to be a part of it, it was perfect. Fans have been responsible for my career — it only seems right that they should own this doc.”
The documentary promises to be a wide-ranging look at Shatner’s seven-decade career — from his early bit parts on popular 1950s television shows to his star-making role as Captain Kirk and his Emmy wins for “The Practice” and “Boston Legal,” and finally his later years as a Blue Origin astronaut and elder statesman of geek culture. The documentary’s creative team expressed excitement about looking beyond “Star Trek” and exploring the entire arc of Shatner’s career.
“I grew up watching Bill Shatner on a black-and-white television in Switzerland,” said director Philippe. “My first memories of him are from ‘Columbo’ and ‘The Twilight Zone.’ He is a modern Renaissance man. Ubiquitous. Unavoidable. His range as an actor (Roger Corman’s ‘The Intruder,’ anyone..?) is as staggering as the depth of his wisdom and curiosity; and I couldn’t be more excited by this opportunity to craft an up close and personal portrait of a man who fascinates me, through some of the important themes he openly tackles in his most vulnerable autobiographical songs. This intimate film will illuminate little-known and rarely seen aspects of Bill’s career and philosophy, and also reexamine some of his most iconic roles and cultural moments through a brand-new lens.”
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