UDPATE: The kickstarter.com total for "On the Ice" just jumped another $10,000 in donations. That means the filmmakers are now within $30K of their goal.
From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --
“On the Ice” is halfway to a theater near you.
Producers of the independent, Barrow-based thriller have raised $40,000 of the $80,000 they say they need to show the movie in about 10 theaters around the country.
The filmmakers started the fund-raising push earlier this summer on www.kickstarter.com, a website that asks people to pledge donations to creative projects. If a project doesn’t meet its fund-raising goal by a given deadline, no money is collected.
For "On the Ice," time is running out.
Starring Alaska Native actors, the thriller premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Awards followed at the Berlin and Seattle international film festivals. But critical acclaim doesn’t guarantee that movie distributors will gamble on putting your film in theaters, especially without a marquee star.
After Sundance, producers of “On the Ice” heard a lot of “I love your movie, but …”
“The film has done really well and gotten all these awards but none of the traditional distributors will really go for it in a big way, because we have all first-time actors,” said producer Cara Marcous.
Some distributors offered to release the movie on screens in L.A. and New York only -- a limited release. The makers of “On the Ice” were thinking bigger.
Plus, Marcous said, they wanted the theatrical release to include cities in Alaska as well as markets like Denver, Seattle and D.C.
That’s where Kickstarter.com comes in. The website, founded in 2009, allows the producers to make their fund-raising pitch directly to fans and supporters.
So far, more than 380 people have pledged more than $40,300 to help “On the Ice” reach theaters. Only a week remains, however, before the 5 p.m., Sept. 8 deadline for the filmmakers to double their money and reach their goal.
The cash would be used to create a trailer for the film, create reels of film that would be shipped to theaters and pay for a publicist, Marcous said.
Typically, distribution would cost far more, but the producers will lean on the Sundance Institute’s Artist Services program, which aids independent filmmakers in marketing and online distribution.
Written and directed by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, who is Inupiaq, “On the Ice” cost around $1 million to make, Marcous said. It was shot in April and May of 2010 in Barrow.
Here’s how the filmmakers describe the story:
“Early one morning, on a seal hunt with another teenager, an argument between the three boys quickly escalates into a tragic accident. Bonded by their dark secret, the two best friends are forced to create one fabrication after another in order to survive.”
MacLean’s short film "Sikumi" won the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at Sundance in 2008. You can watch it here: