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24 May, 2017 - 11:50 By Tony Quested

SyndicateRoom crowdfunding backs another big screen venture

Olga Kurylenko Ben Cura

From Hollywood to Cannes, Cambridge equity crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom is proving a solid investment vehicle for big screen movie makers and their backers.

Having helped Hollywood producer Simon West raise cash for his film Salty, which was represented at the Cannes Film Festival, SyndicateRoom reveals that independent UK film – Kat and the Band – was fully funded at its target of £400,000 on the platform. Shooting for Kat and the Band starts in July.

The SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme) investment was led by Boudica Indigo, a UK-based production company aimed at supporting female-centric films.

Boudica has an impressive track record of producing popular, critically acclaimed movies. These include Carol Morley’s The Falling, starring Maisie Williams and Maxine Peake, and Iona, starring Oscar nominee Ruth Negga. Boudica was set up to provide investment propositions by combining credible tax reliefs with real investment opportunities, while producing top-drawer films.

Maisie Williams The Falling
Maisie Williams in The Falling

The latest success supports a trend towards films being financed by the crowd. Salty, Hollywood's first equity crowdfunded movie, was out at Cannes Film Festival starring Olga Kurylenko, Ben Cura and Antonio Banderas.

Kat and the Band is the story of a 16-year-old girl who lives out her dream by taking a band on tour, despite having no experience of working in the industry and still being at school.

Director Esther Hegarty makes her feature debut on the project, with a script from Michael Mueller (The Beat Beneath My Feet, City Slacker, Dummy) and Jemma Field.

“Kat and the Band is a coming-of-age tale about a feisty 16-year-old schoolgirl who reaches for her dreams, breaking boundaries by pretending she’s in her 20s,” says Hegarty.

“As a 15-year-old, my dream was to direct. In fact, I gate-crashed a private party to seek Richard Attenborough’s advice and he became my mentor as a result. I expect many girls and women will see themselves in Kat. 

“It’s exciting to see the anticipation with which our film is already awaited by an audience that is already talking about it on social media – and I can’t wait to share it with them.”

Lead investor Ian Maiden added: “With a fair wind, I expect the film to be a winning formula, to provide good music and fun for those involved, and to produce a good return on investment. Boudica has a reputation for being frugal in the employment of investors’ funds and it has previously shown a professional and well-grounded approach to film production.”

Founded by Ian Davies and Rebecca Long in 2013, Boudica has invested in and produced seven feature films to date. Boudica has worked with partners such as the BBC, British Film Institute and Creative Scotland, and boasts four BAFTA nominations for lead actresses.

Rebecca was part of the 2011 WFTV mentee scheme, together with Esther Hegarty - and Ian has helped some of Europe’s leading feature films go into production, including films by Ken Loach, Michael Winterbottom and Lars von Trier.

SyndicateRoom Goncalo
Gonçalo de Vasconcelos

Gonçalo de Vasconcelos, CEO and co-founder of SyndicateRoom, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Kat and the Band to the SyndicateRoom portfolio. We’re seeing a trend towards films being funded in this way and last year we set a new record for the largest equity crowdfunded film, Salty, directed by Simon West and starring Antonio Banderas, which had a team out at the Cannes Film Festival.

“At our core, we’re all about working with great British companies that want to make the world a better place – and with its commitment to furthering female talent within the film industry, Boudica falls into this category.”

• PHOTOGRAPH: Salty stars Olga Kurylenko and Ben Cura at the Cannes Film Festival

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