Hot Docs’ Doc Ignite lights up “Time Machine”

Director Jay Cheel's How To Build A Time Machine (pictured) is the first project to seek financing using Canadian film festival Hot Docs' new crowdfunding platform, Doc Ignite.
February 14, 2012

How To Build A Time Machine, a time traveling documentary about a man claiming to be from the future, has been selected as the first project to be backed by Doc Ignite, Hot Docs’ new crowdfunding platform.

Directed by Jay Cheel (Beauty Day) and produced by Primitive Entertainment, the film is billed as a “true sci-fi mystery,” and tells the tale of John Titor, a man who claims to have traveled back in time from the year 2036 in order to retrieve an IBM 5100 computer from the year 1975. Rather than complete his mission, however, he unexpectedly stops in the year 2000 “for personal reasons” to visit family, including his two-year-old self.

Producers are using Doc Ignite in the hopes of raising CDN$25,000 (US$25,000) to off-set production costs and finance costumes, props, locations and actors to stage cinematic re-enactments of Titor’s futuristic story. The project already has support from the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Development Fund.

“The John Titor story has been retold many times, but I’ve never been totally satisfied,” said Cheel. “I want to tell this story in the most cinematic, engaging and entertaining fashion possible, and I’m looking for help to make it happen.”

The new platform assists Canadian filmmakers in building audiences and raising financing for their documentaries. Projects are selected by Hot Docs industry experts based on specific production or post-production needs and campaigns are run to reach financing goals similar to other crowdfunding platforms such as IndieGoGo and Kickstarter. One one campaign will be run at a time.

Potential supporters for How To Build A Time Machine can watch a campaign video, follow Cheel’s progress through a series of blog and video posts, and pledge support in exchange for incentives, such as copies of the final film, tickets to the premiere screening, a custom time travel lamp art piece, and time travel fund certificates.

The first six projects featured on Doc Ignite will receive an additional boost: Toronto’s Open Roof Films, presenters of the summer outdoor film and music series Open Roof Festival, will give each campaign a $1,000 prize.

Watch the Doc Ignite campaign video for How To Build A Time Machine below:

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.