Published on Thursday 26 January 2017

Many think of crowdfunding platforms as a way to fund the latest product or to kick-start a business – and they can definitely do that – yet their scope is far vaster

Internationally, in fact, these platforms have been used to fund everything from the restoration of historical sites in Italy to the creation of a Sailor Moon documentary.

Closer to home, crowdfunding through is being used by various people and entities within the art and cultural sphere to help create and distribute art – in its various shapes, forms and sizes. Many have been successful, including one by the Graphic Novels Malta Library, which sought to bring the graphic novel to the Central Public Library in Floriana, another by Derby for the short film Adina, and a further one by H’16 Trick or Treat, which raised over €1,000 to better the special effects of their annual Halloween walking tour in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

More recently, Rebecca Cremona, the director of Simshar: The Film, Malta’s biggest and most internationally-successful full-length movie to date, chose ZAAR as the platform of choice to crowdfund the launch of the official DVD for the film. Raising over €4,000, the project showed how established brands within the art scene can use crowdfunding to help raise enough cash to turn a vision into reality while also ensuring that a loss isn’t made if the project is unsuccessful.

“As I’m sure many creatives would agree, bringing one’s vision to life isn’t always easy or cheap,” says Rebecca. “By opting to crowdfund the launch of the DVD rather than simply release it in the traditional manner, we were able to give fans of the movie the DVD they had long asked for but in higher-quality and with more benefits.

“In fact, we used to not only pre-sell the Simshar DVD but to also connect with fans from all over the world, to get the cast and crew to meet people who enjoyed the movie, and to even put the original movie poster (created by Jordan Rapa Manche) in the spotlight.”

The opportunities are endless and, along with Rebecca, other creatives chose to use ZAAR to turn their goals into reality, including fellow moviemaker Shirley Spiteri Mintoff, who crowdfunded the Anthony Mintoff-written short film Alicia through the site.

“On top of the time and the human element, creating a short film can be quite an expensive feat,” Shirley, who is the director of Motion Blur Ltd, explains. “Between props, equipment, costumes, and so on, the bill goes up and up; but we always believed that people would support a project that was purely artistic and looked to tell a story. And they did by helping us raise over €5,000 to create it!”

With the help of great rewards for those who back these projects and a keen eye for what audiences would enjoy, art and cultural entities can fund various projects. And it doesn’t have to stop at films, movies or music; it can be theatre, poetry, comedy or fashion. The sky really is the limit!

Arts Council Malta is supporting the running of the ZAAR platform and is actively promoting crowdfunding through its funding as an alternative means of funding projects in the Creative and Cultural Industries.