Many creative projects get scrubbed for lack of funding. Not, it seems, Zach Braff’s new film, “Wish I Was Here.” Pairing chutzpah with business acumen, Braff has turned to crowdsourcing its financial backing at Kickstarter.com. At last count, he’s raised $1.8 million (toward his $2 million goal), in just two days.
Desiring to make a follow-up to his 2004 sleeper hit and cultural touchstone, “Garden State,” but not wanting to deal with the headaches associated with traditional film financing, Braff decided to ask the public to pitch in.
“It would have involved making a lot of sacrifices I think would have ultimately hurt the film,” the director/actor wrote on his Kickstarter page about his decision to not sign on with a typical deal. “Financing an independent film the traditional way often means having to give away your right to ‘the final cut,’ casting choices, location choices and cutting down your script to make it shoot-able on the cheapest budget possible.”
“Wish I Was Here,” written by Braff and his brother Adam, is the story of Aidan Bloom (played by Braff), a 35-year-old struggling actor, husband and father who fantasizes about being the futuristic Space-Knight character he dreamed of as a child. When his father takes ill and is no longer able to pay the tuition at Aidan’s children’s private school, and the local public school is not an option, Aidan decides to homeschool his kids. All hell breaks loose as Aidan decides to scrap the prescribed curriculum, but by teaching his kids his way, he gets in touch with parts of himself he had not been able to find.
Over 25,000 individuals have donated so far. Either they couldn’t resist Braff’s charming fundraising pitch video, were psyched that Braff (known for his excellent musical taste) will personally curate the film’s soundtrack, or were willing to pay to be his guest at the film premiere’s after party. Whatever the case, the public — or at least, Zach Braff’s fans — have green-lighted this project.