Wiseman launches “Jackson Heights” Kickstarter campaign

Just months after pitching at the Hot Docs Forum, the master documentarian (pictured) has launched a crowd-funding campaign for his 40th film.
June 18, 2015

Documentarian Frederick Wiseman has launched a Kickstarter campaign for his 40th film, In Jackson Heights.

The crowdfunding initiative, launched on Thursday (June 18), comes almost two months after Wiseman pitched the film – a portrait of the diverse New York neighborhood – at the Hot Docs Forum, marking his first-ever public pitch.

At the time, the film had a production budget of US$747,871 and still required $557,871. With the Kickstarter campaign, Wiseman and his production company, Zipporah Films, has set a $75,000 goal to be reached over the next 31 days.

Rewards for supporters include signed posters, tote bags and DVDs or – upon the donation of $4,000 – a chance to arrange a private screening of the film. A Master Class session valued at $7,500 comes with a 30-minute Skype session with Wiseman.

Zipporah Films’ director of distribution Karen Konicek tells realscreen that the team has thus far secured funding towards production expenses from PBS – a long-time supporter of Wiseman’s films – as well as the Sundance Institute and the Ford Foundation. However, funding is still required for post-production and release costs.

Shot in Wiseman’s signature vérité style and without “talking head” interviews, narration or an added soundtrack, In Jackson Heights follows the residents of the neighborhood in Queens, New York, which is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse communities in the U.S.

The film was shot over the course of eight weeks in summer 2014 and is currently being edited. It is set to be completed in time for festival consideration and theatrical release this fall.

“Some people assume that because I’ve made a lot of films and they’ve been well received that it’s easy for me to get the money. That is not the case,” writes Wiseman on the Kickstarter page. “For me, the cycle remains the same every time I start a project; I have to do what everyone else does and sing for my supper.”

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