Buy a movie ticket, give the money to your kid's school?
That's the idea for one Los Angeles production company. They want to make a family movie, use crowd sourcing to fund it, then turn around and give all the profits to local schools.
The company is called ReDistribute -- but no, not that kind of "redistribute."
"My first thing was really? What are you guys trying to do," screenwriter Todd Gallicano laughed. "No, it's [film] distribution from a Hollywood standpoint and we're re-distributing the money."
Gallicano has written the script, called "The Bell Ringers Club and the Galleon Gold." It's a live-action movie about a group of kids who take part in geocaching -- an activity where people use GPS to find previously hidden trinkets -- and end up discovering a real Revolutionary War-era treasure trail. The script, which director Brian Ide described as "The Goonies" meets "National Treasure," is filled with nods to the Founding Fathers and America's early history.
"The idea sort of came from -- what do people like to do, they love to go to the movies, and how can Hollywood be a force for good?" Gallicano said in an interview with TheBlaze. "There are movies that give a percentage of profits to charity, but most of those kinds of movies are not movies you necessarily would like to see or want to bring your family to see -- they're movies about slavery or sex-trafficking...why not make a movie that people want to see, something fun, and then you take that profit, you take that amount of money and you give it back in some way?"
Gallicano joined with Ide -- a 13-year veteran of the entertainment industry and the founder of ReDistribute -- after discovering their similar desire to make films and give the proceeds away. They'll partner with local theaters that, once they cover their own costs, will give 100 percent of the profits to area schools.
"All of these towns in America have theaters and you've got kids constantly selling candy bars [to raise money]," Gallicano said. "What if you get a movie kids wanted to see, that taught them something...people go see the movie and know the funds are going to go to the schools to spend whatever they want. There's no federal or state requirements or anything like that. This is like, hey, you need new band uniforms? Here."
The script is complete, but the film needs financing to proceed. The filmmakers are turning to crowd funding, which has quickly become a popular alternative to traditional fundraising. Websites like Kickstarter and Indigogo create online platforms to raise money; last week, actor and director Zach Braff raised $2 million for a new project in just four days.
ReDistribute is in the middle of a 40-day Indigogo campaign to raise $350,000 for "The Bell Ringers Club" -- an incredibly low budget by industry standards. Ide said they have agreements with crew members and others to come onto the project for a fraction of what they normally would.
Assuming everything goes well, they plan to shoot this summer in Massachusetts. Ten days into the online campaign, they were still on the cusp of the $6,000 mark. The website is set up so that the campaign only receives the money if they meet their goal of $350,000 by the June 1 deadline.
Ide said if the campaign doesn't succeed, they can go the more traditional route of trying to get financial backing from a studio, but that will cut out a lot of the profits for the schools -- and the main point of their project. Perks for online donors include copies of the script for those who give $10, getting your name listed in the credits for giving $250 or more, and even two executive producer spots for pledging $100,000.
Ide and Gallicano are both well-aware of the stigma that comes with making a "wholesome" family movie -- films that might be, cinematically-speaking, plain bad. Ide, who has kids of his own, said they devoted months of market research to the script, asking children whether the concept was something they would be interested in.
"We were clearly aware of that when we first started this program," he said. "This is not an educational film...it has to be a standalone movie that's very marketable that just happens to partner with schools at the end of the day."