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Fans Invest in German Film Version Of ‘The Office’

BBC

Online crowd-funding raises $1.3 million in one week for big-screen take on German sitcom “Stromberg.”

BERLIN – German fans are paying for their own, cinematic, version of The Office.

The producers of Stromberg, the German adaptation of the fly-on-the-wall office sitcom created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, have raised some $1.3 million (€1 million) in just one week in an online crowd-funding action to bankroll a German feature film based on the series.

Producers Brainpool have been mulling a big-screen version of Stromberg since 2008 but had been unable to finance the project through traditional means. So they turned to the Internet and to die-hard fans of the show, which is now in its 5th and final season on German television.

For an investment starting at €50 ($65) fans received various goodies – such as tickets to the film’s premiere. Top tier investors, who invested up to €1000 ($1300) in the project, also get an equity stake and will share in any eventual profits.

Within a week, nearly 3000 investors answered the call and Brainpool said it had raised $1.3 million. Brainpool hopes to use traditional financing to close its budget and expects to begin shooting the Stromberg film late 2012.

Crowd-funding has become a hot topic in Germany after the success of the adult-themed Hotel Desire. The erotic feature was bankrolled through a mix of crowd-funding, sponsorship and distribution deals. Hotel Desire was released straight-to-VOD earlier this month and beat out VOD download figures from such blockbusters as Hangover 2 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II on Deutsche Telekom’s online platform.