The author-director team made their pitch to the masses via a Kickstarter campaign launched by the film's producer, Braxton Pope, on Thursday. Through their populist appeal, the trio makes a convincing play for movie buffs' lunch money by offering some big perks to would-be donors in hopes of pulling in $100,000 by June 9.
The project's Kickstarter page features a video clip (posted below) of Ellis, Schrader and Pope describing the film and explaining their web-based funding strategy.
"We're all putting our funds into the movie," says Pope, a former Lionsgate producer, "and we also wanted to supplement those funds with Kickstarter funds so that we can have more shooting days, more resources to tell the story that we want to tell."
Pope added that they also wanted to avoid the "groupthink" factor that filmmakers encounter when pursuing more traditional (read: studio-based) funding channels.
Right, so about those perks: For pledges of $5,000 or more, fledgling authors can earn a review of their novel by Ellis himself, to be posted on an as-yet-unspecified website. For the same price, Schrader will give notes on donors' scripts — in person, if they happen to live in New York or Los Angeles — the rest will be treated to a one-on-one Skype session.
One lucky, and generous, grand prize winner gets a combo pack including a moneyclip autographed by Robert DeNiro on the set of "Raging Bull" for $10K.
"The Canyons" is a contemporary thriller that follows five twenty-somethings in their "quest for power, love, sex and success in 2012 Hollywood" — familiar territory for the "Less Than Zero" scribe.
As of Thursday evening, the filmmakers had convinced 55 backers to pitch in, raising $5,594 with 36 days to go.