Producer Launches Kickstarter in Response, 100% Funded in Six Days

October 25, 2013

BROOKLYN, NY—Award-winning filmmaker Michele Mitchell was in a meeting with a potential backer for her new documentary, which will tell the story of how rape became a prosecuted war crime, when the businessman paused and asked, “Who wants to see a film about war crime rape?”

“That’s when I decided we needed to begin with a Kickstarter,” Mitchell says. “We needed to demonstrate that there is interest in a film like this—it’s not enough to have all the sources in place, or to say we know people are interested.”

Goma Soccer Field

Goma Soccer Field

Mitchell and her co-director Nick Louvel (who worked together on the Murrow-winning documentary “Haiti: Where Did the Money Go?” and the upcoming “The Water War”) had already scheduled a scouting trip to meet with militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They decided that funding this trip would make a good test case for general support—and also help their team go into production early.

The Kickstarter for “The Uncondemned” began on October 10 with a short video containing footage of the main players and the opening lines:

Jean-Paul Akayesu would be convicted not just because of the disparate crew of lawyers, activists, academics and criminal investigators who came together, but also because of a handful of women who, despite the brutality they experienced and the danger of reprisals, got on the first flight of their lives to have their day in court.

Within six days, the $7,000 scouting trip was funded 100%. Donors were 60% female, 40% male.

“There’s a big debate about rape happening right now in the U.S.,” said Louvel. “My goal for the film is that it makes people aware that mass rape is used as a military tactic, and that more people will be prosecuted for it.”

To date, the campaign has raised over 140%, allowing the team to move into production. Film at Eleven hopes that it can crowdsource most, if not all, of the film’s budget. Film completion is scheduled for November, 2014.