Franny Armstrong’s first documentary McLibel is proof enough that she’s one of the genre’s rising uk doc talents, but her status as a director to be watched was confirmed at this year’s prestigious Grierson Awards, where she was nominated for Best Newcomer.
Armstrong is already in production on another doc. Ironically, now that the former drummer turned filmmaker could easily win the TV commission so hard to land with McLibel, she’s not interested. ‘The ideal is to make it independently… and then sell it to television,’ she explains. ‘That way you get the mass audience, but you don’t have to jump through all the hoops.’
Instead, she’s raising money by selling shares of the film for £500 (US$866) a pop. So far she’s raised £50,000 ($86,600), or half the budget. ‘We’ve sold [shares] to people who think it’s an important film that should be made,’ says Armstrong. ‘They now own a tiny percentage of the film, so if it does well, then they’ll make money. It also means that we’ve got more than 100 people supporting us. It feels like a community effort.’ Armstrong plans to release the feature in Spring 2007.
Filming will take place on five different continents, and another round of fundraising is planned for early 2006. So far, McDonald’s is not among the investors.