'Mudbound' Producer Cassian Elwes' New Banner Completes Financing for First Movie via Crowdfunding (Exclusive)

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Cassian Elwes

Movie Collective raised more than $700,000, giving investors a 15.6 percent share of the company, with the Rebecca Hall and Anjelica Huston-starring 'Utopia Road' now set to begin shooting this summer.

Movie Collective, the new independent film company set up by prolific producer Cassian Elwes (Mudbound, Dallas Buyers Club, Lee Daniels' The Butler) and filmmaker Marcus Markou (Papadopoulos & Sons), has wrapped a campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, raising £552,330 ($725,795) — 110 percent of the target.

This means that the banner has completed financing for the first movie on its slate, Utopia Road, set to star Anjelica Huston (The Addams Family), Garrett Hedlund (Mudbound) and Rebecca Hall (Iron Man 3). The film, to be directed by Rosson Crow, begins shooting this summer.

In total, 528 people from around the world invested, backing the venture from as little as $15 to six-figure sums, for a total share of 15.6 percent of the company.

Movie Collective was set up by Elwes and Markou as a vehicle to help get independent films financed and stories told that they say are currently not being seen in a studio-dominated industry. By inviting members of the public to invest in the company, the Movie Collective team hope to build a company on the foundations of a growing, democratic pool of like-minded investors, as an alternative to the traditional avenues of raising finance.

The project is also unlike the usual crowdfunding model in film, inviting investment in the company and its slate itself, rather than a single project. Investors will receive a dividend share of profits made by Movie Collective, with remaining profits used to finance other movies on the company's slate. The founders and major shareholders in Movie Collective have agreed to waive their rights to first dividend payments until all minority shareholders have received a 50 percent return on their original investment.

The second project on Movie Collective's Slate, Crazy Blue, is currently casting.

"Our investors are intelligent movie fans that believe in intelligent, character-led stories," said Elwes. "It's an endorsement for Movie Collective and crowdfunding but also for independent film as a whole. It's very exciting."

Added Markou: "The idea of recycling investment capital through a slate of movies is radical because it does not provide an immediate financial return that would normally come with a traditional movie investment. However, we want to build a long-term, sustainable business, and this has resonated with the crowd."

The Crowdcube campaign ended on June 20, 2018, though further investment opportunities will be offered by Movie Collective as its slate develops.