The Dog

The Dog, a documentary funded in part by Seed&Spark

In an end-of-year blog post, producer Ted Hope listed 32 challenges facing today’s independent film scene. One common issue, affecting new and veteran filmmakers alike, was the need to foster more realistic expectations for pre- and postproduction and a better understanding of how to navigate funding and distribution platforms. True to his name, Hope offered up 32 positives as well—but failed to mention Seed&Spark, a company that helps fund projects, educate filmmakers, and distribute movies to online viewers.

Unlike other crowdsourced funding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, Seed&Spark carefully vets projects before they are accepted, provides feedback to those they reject, and collects only five percent out of each contribution—an industry-wide low. In addition to free registration for filmmakers (and no submission fees), the site’s “Bright Ideas” section features best practices for submitting films to festivals and for social media self-promotion. Films accepted for crowdfunding are invited to screen in the online “Cinema” (alongside festival titles submitted directly to the site). Money and resources for new projects come from item-specific levels of contribution and in-kind donations. Instead of nebulously chipping in to “make it happen,” you can specify whether your $100 goes toward a colorist or a new hard drive, fostering a concrete sense of accountability and participation.

Seed&Spark has helped raise funds for films such as Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren’s documentary The Dog and hosted titles like Josh and Benny Safdie’s 2012 short The Black Balloon, both of which have screened at major festivals. So even if you don’t end up giving to Seed&Spark, there’s a good chance you’ll be reaping the benefit.