European film producers turning to crowdfunding, face different obstacles

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Feb 05, 2014 07:44 AM EST

Although using crowdfunding to finance films in Europe is still in its nascent stage, there are already a few enterprising producers that have initiated campaigns through few platforms not presented in the US and they are hurdling their own unique obstacles, Variety reported.

Most filmmakers in the US undertake campaigns that hinge or rewards or prizes on such crowdfunding sites as Indiegogo and Kickstarter. While some European filmmakers also turn to these platforms, they also use sites that operate specifically in their own country, such as France's Touscoprod and Germany's Startnext. Aside from prize-based campaigns, donation crowdfunding is also in place in Europe where no rewards are offered at all. Equity crowdfunding which will soon commence in Stateside is also another type of crowdfunding in EU where investors get a stake in the film which can be likened to having a stake in a company, the report said.

However, Europe only allows a maximum of 149 equity crowdfunding investors for every country. There are also complex rules that set in after an equity campaign goes over a certain limit. This amount is different in various countries. In Germany, the threshold is $135,000 while in Austria it is $338,000. It is much higher in the Netherlands at $3.4 million and even higher in the UK where the equity campaign limit is $6.7 million. As a result, some filmmakers are undertaking revenue sharing efforts where those who fund the campaign only obtain a share in the film's income, such as the box office, and not a stake in the film itself, the report said.

These strategies carry with them their own set of hurdles and regulations involving crowdfunding in the EU are still changing. According to European Crowdfunding Network Head Oliver Gajda, regulations in the UK and France are scheduled to change later this year. The network is a lobbying organization that monitors crowdfunding rules and represents over 15 outfits, the report said. 

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