Award-winning writer/director Mark O’Connor, best known for box office hit Cardboard Gangsters and Irish crime drama series Darklands, has confirmed that he is teaming up with Movie Coin to finance his next film.
A crypto start-up, Movie Coin has already part-financed a pugilism biopic called Prizefighter starring Russell Crowe and Ray Winstone.
Now O’Connor’s next film, Oui Cannes, has set a goal to be the first movie to be 100 percent fully financed through NFT sales and crypto crowd investment through the Movie Coin platform.
In 2012, O’Connor wrote and directed the Irish film Stalker, which starred Barry Keoghan in his first leading role. Stalker was 100 percent crowd funded through a kick starter campaign, but O’Connor believes the opportunities now for crowd funding are much greater than they were back then, due to the development of blockchain technology.
“I’ve always been very interested in crowd funding where the public gets to own a stake in a movie. It gives freedom to the artist and can eliminate getting stuck in ‘development’ for years,” O’Connor observed. “With crypto, the public can buy NFTs, which represent a stake in the profits of a movie and these NFT’s can then be traded on the open market. It is a new model for film financing and it’s untested, but if we can make it work, it could change how films are financed.”
O’ Connor notes how he doesn’t believe that this new model will take over from the current models but rather, the goal would be to eventually integrate the two. “I think Screen Ireland, The BAI and other agencies do a remarkable job, but their resources are limited and because of this a lot of projects get turned down for funding so I think crypto crowd funding offers another route, which could even work as initial development or gap financing,” O’Connor explained. “If crypto start-ups such as Movie Coin could work with these agencies and avail of section 481 tax incentive, we could bring more investment to the Irish film industry.”
O’ Connor has just launched the first NFT sale for Oui Cannes, which is available on Open Sea, an NFT marketplace where the purchase of a Oui Cannes NFT will give you a stake in the profits of the film.
“This is an opportunity for investors to own a piece of the movie,” continued O’Connor. “We are offering script pages from the film as minted NFT’s and artists images, which all give the investor a cut of the profits in the movie. We also have hidden rewards attached to the NFT’s written into the smart contracts, such as tickets to the premiere or a chance to walk the red carpet or a walk on speaking role, in a similar way we did when we made Stalker.”
O’ Connor’s goal is to raise initial finance to shoot a promo at the Cannes Film Festival in May and from that then raise €2.5 million to shoot the entire film in September 2022. “It’s a big undertaking but it’s very exciting to be working with the Movie Coin team who are doing an excellent job,” said O’Connor. The filmmaker hopes to get the film made and then premiere it at an internationally recognised film festival such as Cannes or Sundance.
O’Connor’s previous film Cardboard Gangsters won seven awards at the Manchester Film Festival including Best Film and Best Film at the Newport Beach Film Festival in Los Angeles. Cardboard Gangsters also won an IFTA award for John Connors who played the lead role of Jay in the film.