Zach Braff Addresses Backlash To His Crowdfunded Movie Wish I Was Here
He said looking back, he became the 'face of the debate' about whether celebrities should be using Kickstarter to fund their projects.
Braff managed to raise more than $3 million (£2.3m) for Wish I Was Here through fan donations, but came in for criticism since some thought crowdfunding should be reserved for smaller artists who could not fund their work any other way.
The controversy deepened when traditional film financier Worldview Entertainment stepped in to top up the film's budget to around $5 million (£3.8m).
Some film fans questioned why the financier would likely be getting a much better return on its investment than fans, who only received access to special screenings and after-parties in return for their cash.
At the time, Braff defended the move, telling the LA Times: "I've done well in my career, but I am not sitting on $22m. I'm doing this so that one negative audience comment in a test screening won't force me to change the end of my movie."
He later told Screen Daily he was 'shocked' by the negative response to the campaign, saying: "I was completely taken aback by the criticism. I was expecting a conversation because it's a fascinating and new model. But I felt that a lot of the criticism was unfair and uninformed."
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Six years after the event, Braff seems to take a more reflective stance on the upset.
Speaking on Marc Marron's WTF Podcast, Braff said: "I think I was the first known actor/director to [crowdfund] a movie, and it was so successful, and we funded beyond what we asked for in 24 hours.
"That there was instant backlash saying that you as a known entity should not be using this. This should be for people who have no other means.
"I, unfortunately, or fortunately became the face of the debate: Should people who have fanbases be allowed to participate in crowdfunding campaigns?"
When pressed by Marron as to whether the experience provided an answer to this question, Braff said: "Well, no one really does it... and not many people have done it since because of the amount of antagonism there was for the very idea."
In the end, the film managed a lukewarm $5.67m (£4.28m) at the worldwide box office, and Braff reckons the Kickstarter controversy could well have harmed the film's performance.
He said: "It was a bit of a bummer, because I was really proud of the film, and not a lot of people saw it."
Thanks to the backlash, using Kickstarter for a film of this kind is an experiment unlikely to be repeated.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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