“Life Itself,” Steve James‘ documentary about legendary film critic Roger Ebert, raised $153,875 via Indiegogo, surpassing the goal of $150,000 for its crowdfunding campaign. James has already made the film, which will premiere Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival.
Yet the filmmaker and others involved in the project launched a crowdfunding campaign to cultivate a community around the film. Anyone who contributed $25 to the campaign will get a private link to view the film simultaneous to its world premiere. 1,491 people claimed that perk.
“We had in our minds that at some point later in the process we’d like to do a crowdfunding campaign to help with finishing costs, but, more importantly, to tap into the community out there of people who love Roger,” James told TheWrap a couple months ago.
The director’s 1994 documentary “Hoop Dreams” received crucial support from Ebert and fellow Chicago film critic Gene Siskel, and after reading Ebert’s book and doing some other research, he decided to make the film.
He began filming last December, interviewing Ebert, his family, friends, colleagues, fellow critics and several filmmakers he touched.
The list of interviewees includes Scorsese, Errol Morris, Ava DuVernay and Gregory Nava. James also scored a rare interview with the wife of Siskel, Ebert’s long-time TV sparring partner.