KevCoin: The Movie — Ushering in a New Crypto-based Model for Film Financing?
On June 27th at the Courthouse Hotel in London, KevCoin: The Movie premiered to a packed house of indie film buffs and crypto enthusiasts. KevCoin is both an ERC20 token and a central plot device in the film.
Subscribe to the Bitsonline YouTube channel for great videos featuring industry insiders & experts
KevCoin: The Movie — a Crypto-themed Mockumentary Funded by KevCoin: The Token
KevCoin: The Movie is a British documentary spoof featuring real members of the public playing themselves. Shot over thirty-five days, the film is built around KevCoin, a real ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain. An outrageous mixture of reality, fantasy, and comedy, the story follows the insane ambitions of Kevin Powder, a rock star “fixer”, as he attempts to kick start a trillion-dollar crypto project.
It is not the first film to be funded by crypto, with Tribeca Film Festival hit Braid taking that title. Nor is it the only film made about crypto, with thriller “Crypto” currently in production in New York. But it is probably the first film to be both about and (partially) funded by crypto.
Writer, director, and actor Jason Attar is both an experienced performer and a crypto enthusiast. He bought his first cryptos from a hacker at a London tube station a number of years ago, during bitcoin’s infancy. Bitsonline sat down with Attar to talk about his movie, his coin, and his vision for a whole new model of indie film financing.
Our Interview With Jason Attar
Paul de Havilland: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Jason. Congratulations on getting the feature wrapped up. I noted IMDB lists its budget at ten thousand pounds. That must have been tough going for a feature?
Jason Attar: The film actually cost £30k cash. It was still very demanding to produce. We shot with a very small crew as the format of the film is documentary hybrid – mixing reality with fiction by finding real people and bringing them into our story.
PdH: I know the KevCoin is a real ERC20 token. Did you create them specifically to serve the narrative in the film or to fund it?
JA: It was both. It worked very well with the narrative of our chancer character Kevin Powder, but also served as a route forward after the film was made. With every purchase of the film or merchandise people will receive KevCoins. Plus we can write cool little contracts into all or some of the tokens.
PdH: I know you have some views on the potential for token issues/cryptocurrency as a new funding model for the film industry.
JA: Yes, independent film is a disaster area, financially speaking. The chances of getting an indie film distributed is practically zero. We have some concepts around socially finding an audience, and with crypto, we have a unique audience that are currently very underserved. Low budget films need a very specific audience if they have any chance of punching through.
PdH: When you speak of “problems associated with traditional film funding models” firstly, are you talking in the context of the U.K. and Europe where the government/taxpayer provides a lot of financing for the industry or the free market system of the U.S./India?
JA: So there are healthy tax breaks for production in many territories, but distribution is expensive, with very few traditional companies prepared to take the risks – not surprisingly really. Most filmmakers are looking at the distribution issue as someone else’s problem. But the fact is it is the filmmaker’s problem and they need to find their own unique route to market. I think crypto and ERC20 tokens could be an answer.
PdH: How do you actually see a new form of film financing working? I’m picturing a coin offering launch, thousands of small investors with no equity. Is that the sort of model you have in mind?
JA: We are making no promises regarding the value of our token at this point. But as we build a community, there are many exciting routes forward. The fact that you can write a contract into coins that can be activated on certain events is really interesting. We have to be really careful to not fall afoul of various financial regulations.
PdH: Did you actually fund KevCoin: The Movie solely with crypto?
JA: We did surprisingly have some people who bought the coin, probably collectors, without them knowing too much about it, so yes, we did get some income from that. We believe that was the very first time that ever had happened.
PdH: What are your hopes for the mockumentary in terms of its reach and in terms of your own career?
JA: We are experimenting with this release mechanism. I have financial expectations for low, mid, and reach goals. Bearing in the mind that the film budget and marketing costs are relatively low, we have a fair chance of getting the film to profit. (This would be very rare for films like this, though, but we are hopeful.) But whatever happens, building an interested community of people is key for us. We want to produce one more crypto themed film in Detroit, using a similar production model. If we have a community that likes what we do, then we are halfway there.
PdH: Would you call yourself a crypto dude or a film dude?
JA: I am definitely both. Been interested and have bought crypto since 2014, so I am split between the two. The trick is to combine crypto with film production and distribution, then I will be happy!
In KevCoin: The Movie, Crypto Finds Another Use Case
KevCoin: The Movie’s comedic tone should not detract from Attar’s sincerity in seeking new ways forward for independent cinema. The project certainly raises some excellent questions about the way indie films are financed, and how they can generate a pre-engaged audience that was, until now, the exclusive domain of franchise films.
Cryptocurrencies have the capacity to solve a vast range of problems. With some luck and the hard work of people like Attar, getting quality indie films to market could well prove one of them.
Have your say. Can cryptocurrencies fix a broken film financing structure that prevents most indie films reaching the market?
Images via KevCoin: The Movie