$1 Million Indie Movie Film Opportunity

By Dr. Iris Mohr, Chief Editor and Founder, Marketing Fashionista  

Insp iring news! If you’ve decided you want to make a movie: a short, feature or documentary, here’s a $1 million indie opportunity for film funding

Thunder Studios, an upstart West Coast studio, is offering independent filmmakers $1 million in services to produce their projects on its lot.  Australian businessman , wants to use the Long Beach facility (about 45 minutes south of Los Angeles), six-acre facility, to fill its 20 soundstages with indie films. Its funding offer is attractive, and offers filmmakers something more: a partner.

“We are, for all intents and purposes, a studio,” David tells Backstage during a recent tour of the lot. “Everyone talks about investing in indie film; no one’s actually doing it, so we then thought there was an opportunity for us to become a significant partner in the indie film world.”

The studio recently launched Thunder Funder, an initiative that will provide $12 million in production services to 12 independent film projects each year for the foreseeable future. Selected projects get access to the studio’s facilities; Thunder Studios gets tenants and, subsequently, content that it can sell to distributors.

“Whether it’s color mixing, sound editing, the actual editing work, camera rental, setting up the permits—we’ve got all of that,” says David. “We are writing physical checks to those people and those parties. We will control the process of payments.”

Submitting a project to the program costs $300. While not cheap by industry standards, the high price is designed to filter out weak submissions and give those who do submit the attention deserved.

“I want to ensure that every project that gets submitted to us, we provide some quantitative feedback,” he says. “We just don’t want the submission to end up in oblivion.”

Thunder plans to accept 500 submissions—which should consist of a sizzle reel, script, treatment, and, if possible, budget—per six-month period, of which 12 will be shortlisted. The studio’s lofty goal is to produce 12 of its 24 shortlisted projects each year.

Independent films typically face three hurdles: financing, production, and distribution. David says Thunder can help with all three thanks to its relationships with financial institutions to provide additional financing, its production facilities, and its partnership with Cassian Elwes, CEO of distributor Elevated Film Sales.

“We have the ability to negotiate broad-range foreign distribution deals without necessarily even knowing what the projects are at this point, because we’re going to have a pipeline of 12 projects a year,” David says. “That gives us enormous opportunity to minimize costs to the filmmaker and the project.”

 Adding his business background to Thunder, David’s focus is on helping filmmakers maximize the financial potential of their projects. “We will try and take advantage of every monetization opportunity that each piece of content we create provides the possibility for,” he says.

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