In the modern-day finance world the term, ‘crowdfunding’ is a widely heard phrase which basically means the use of small amounts of capital from a large number of individuals to finance a new business venture. Although in the modern day the majority of crowdfunded projects – business or otherwise – take place on the internet, there is evidence to suggest that crowdfunded projects happened over 100 years ago, in book publishing. When the publisher didn’t have enough money to publish a large number of copies of a book, he would do so if many avid readers had pre-paid and registered for a copy of the book.
In cinema too, crowdfunding has a rich history. There is a large number of crowdfunded cinema and TV projects and among them, quite a few are well-known among viewers world over. David Lynch’s The Art of Life, the cult classic detective/mystery TV show Veronica Mars, Iron Sky, Capital C, and Everything Before Us are some of the popular crowdfunded cinema and TV productions. As of now, there are quite a few platforms built for crowdfunding projects. Kick Starter and Indiegogo are two of the most popular such platforms. The documentary film Inocente which came out in 2012 was a crowdfunded documentary which was funded via Kick Starter and it went on to win the Oscar for the ‘Best Documentary’. There are so many other such crownfunded cinematic works which have won numerous awards in international cinema.
Following this international trend, Box Office Sri Lanka is the first local crowdfunding platform, made exclusively for the cinema. Through Box Office Sri Lanka anyone from anywhere in the world can donate, buy vouchers, invest, deposit cash via credit and debit cards, and make your contribution even via Dialog Star Point. Another unique feature of Box office Sri Lanka is that your donation is not just another good deed that you do and then throw in the river, so to speak. In fact, you can select to which movie your donation contribute and you can also opt to receive updates once in every two weeks about the production progress of the movie. These updates will arrive both as WhatsApp messages as well as emails. Once the production of the production of the movie is completed, you are sure to have a slot among the crew of the movie because after all, your donation, regardless how big or small it was, contributed towards the completion of the movie. In fact, once the end credits of the movie begin to roll you, will see your name under the long list of producers of the movie. This will undoubtedly be a novelty experience for the local cinema lover.
Depending on the size of your donation and how much of a percentage that is from the overall budget of the movie, you will become eligible to be invited to the pre-production announcement ceremony as well as the premiere of the movie. Not only that, if your donation is sizable enough, you will be eligible to receive shares of the profits of the movie as well. If you are buying a voucher via Box Office Sri Lanka you can make use of the voucher when the movie is being screened in cinemas.
Selaruwage Salakuna (Sailor’s Knot) is the first Sri Lankan movie that seeks crowdfunding via Box office Sri Lanka. A mocumentary/suspense/thriller, one of the unique features of the Selaruwage Salakuna is that it is the first film in Sri Lankan cinema made in the genre, mocumentary. The movie will boast a stellar cast and the crew consists of only the best in the business. The script of the movie is already completed and what is to come is the generous funding of the fans to get the production process of the movie up and running.
A girl witnesses her sister’s murder. Ten years later she accidentally meets her sister’s murderer. The encounter unfolds a chain of events which the girl finds difficult to decipher whether facts are fictions, and as the story goes on it touches the areas; social media, law, and politics while managing to keep viewers always at the edge of their seats.
Although the gist of the plot is as mentioned above, the movie will unfold in point of views of three different people, bringing a whole new cinematographic experience to the Sri Lankan viewer. More information about Selaruwage Salakuna, its cast, the production process, and about the creators connected to the movie can be obtained via the official website of Box Office Sri Lanka.
What we are passing through are some trying times. These times of crisis are hard on every industry, especially on cinema. However, despite all the hardships, there should be creative freedom for a filmmaker to express him or herself via a movie and opportunity for a fan to go to a cinema and enjoy a movie. Box Office Sri Lanka might just be the need of the hour that provides answers to almost all the woes of the industry. It is undoubtedly a historic turning point of Sri Lankan cinema.
For more information about Selaruwage Salakuna and to make your contribution towards the production of the movie, please visit boxofficesrilanka.lk/sailors-knot/
(Translated by Sanuj Hathurusinghe)
By Anton J. Fernando