The_Newest_Hottest_Spike_Lee_Joint_by_Spike_Lee_—_Kickstarter

Spike Lee's 'Newest Hottest' Joint Now Kickstarting

on Monday, Jul. 22nd

Questions as to what kind of impact the Veronica Mars and Zach Braff crowdfunding campaigns were going to have on filmmaking were answered in part today by the arrival of Spike Lee on Kickstarter.

The legendary director, who launched his independent career in 1985 by maxing out his credit cards, name checks both of those projects in the pitch video for his next movie project.

There's no arguing that Lee is one of the most important American directors in the past 30 years, and his arrival in the crowdfunding arena shows just how deeply the financing system for films have changed.

"The only way to insure, as an independent filmmaker that your vision gets on screen is when you bring the money to the table," Lee said in the pitch video.

That framing–that the filmmaker has to bring money to the table–will come in handy if (really, when) further on down the line Lee takes on other investment money. Zach Braff's turning to foreign investors for completion funds rubbed some observers the wrong way, as many people outside of media circles have an understanding of just how much it costs to make a feature film when industry guilds and unions are involved.

Lee has promised three things already about this new film, a movie about people addicted to blood: it won't be Blackula, it will feature a lot of sex, and every penny raised will go up on screen. Minus the backer rewards, of course. (You have to hope they've budgeted for that, a step that tricks every first-time crowdfunding project up. At least posters and T-shirt rewards don't start to the $75 level.)

As of this writing Lee has cleared just over four thousand dollars of a 1.25 million dollar goal. This is, in many ways, the first real test of crowdfunding's ability to deliver financing to a director with a large established body of work, as opposed to playing on the draw of television celebrity as the Braff and Veronica Mars campaigns did.

Follow Noah Nelson on Twitter (@noahjnelson)

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