Northern Irish Filmmaker Seeks Donations

Phil Harrison's The Good Man could have your name in the credits

A Belfast-based filmmaker is beginning work on a film project with a difference. In a unique ‘community funding model’, cinema lovers have a chance to invest in the production at the outset.

Investors will be invited to attend the premiere and have their names in the credits, and they have a chance to make a return on their outlay should the movie become the success producer Phil Harrison is hoping for.

Harrison set up Manifesto Films in 2008 with a vision to make socially engaging films exploring the interface of politics and art. To date he has made two short films, including Even Gods, which picked up the short film award at this year’s Belfast Film Festival.

He is now beginning work on his first full feature, The Good Man, to be shot on location in Ireland and South Africa in late 2011 or early 2012.

In 2007, while conducting some wider research into the role of creativity and art within protest and struggle in South Africa, Harrison stumbled upon the roots of this story. He returned in 2009 to write the script. He describes the plot of the film.

'The Good Man is a film about what happens when two men’s stories unexpectedly collide. Michael is a young Irishman on the way up – a good family, a promising career – but everything begins to unravel when, through a simple act of thoughtlessness, he causes a stranger's death in an accident.

'Sifiso is a bright, sharp teenager living in an informal settlement in Cape Town and hoping for a place at university and a better future. But when he falls for a girl in danger of being evicted from her house, he gets drawn deeper into the harsh struggles of township life, and begins to ask why the new South Africa looks so much like the old.'

It is not the first time that such a funding model has been adopted by a Northern Irish artist. As well as receiving funding from the likes of NI Screen, filmmakers regularly rely on donations from private funders.  Harrison believes that his model, however, is gives the ordinary cinema-goer the chance to get involved.

'This is a new kind of filmmaking,' he argues, 'which gives ordinary people a chance to own part of a film. This model, where people buy a share (or shares) in the film for £150 each, should appeal to film buffs and business people alike.

'We believe totally in the story and the film and if it becomes the success we think it can, investors will get a real return on their money. There are only 400 project shares available giving a total budget for the production of £60,000. This figure is entirely for the production of this particular film – there are no salary or running costs coming out for Manifesto Films.'

The Good Man personnel are already coming together, and bring considerable skills and experience to the project - including Susan Picken, Producer, who runs the Queen’s Film Theatre, and Angus Mitchell, award-winning Director of Photography/Cinematographer.

'There is real artistic talent in Northern Ireland as well as in South Africa,' adds Harrison. 'We want The Good Man to harness that talent and to help sustain it in the future.'

In addition to the potential financial return all investors will also receive a signed copy of the DVD and musical score. Full details of the investment model can be seen at www.thegoodmanfilm.com/we-need-you.

For more information on all aspects of the film (and to get involved) just visit www.thegoodmanfilm.com.

Topics