Completion funding for UK's first fully equity crowd-funded feature.
We are a SEIS-compliant Special Purpose Vehicle set up to produce the psychological thriller ‘Welcome to Curiosity’ (formerly called 'Curiosity Kills').
The feature stars Cristian Solimeno ('Rush'), Amrita Acharia ('Game of Thrones'), Richard Blackwood ('Anuvahood') and Kacey Barnfield ('The InBetweeners') alongside an ensemble of emerging British acting talent.
In June 2014, we successfully raised over £50,000 through a Seedrs first round. These monies - combined with outside SEIS investment - funded 27 days of filming wrapping on 1st August, completing 65% of the film.
We are returning to Seedrs to seek a further £20,000 to not only fully finance the remaining production costs of 'Welcome to Curiosity' but also to allow us to market the film as the first feature to be fully equity crowd-funded in the world. This is a unique status that we believe will give the film a promotional edge over rivals and contemporaries alike and act as a trailblazer for financing films in the future.
We are specialists in making very high quality, commercially viable films for less than our contemporaries.
With our last feature ‘Two Days in the Smoke’ (due for release in the UK in November 2014, starring 'EastEnders' Matt di'Angelo, 'Battlestar Galactica's Lili Bordan, 'Lock Stock's Stephen Marcus and 'Snatch's Alan Ford) we delivered a slick crime thriller, featuring a known cast, set across two countries with a soundtrack including Grammy-nominated artists.
We feel that it punches well above its weight in terms of its modest budget, and we have channelled that experience into making ‘Welcome to Curiosity’ even more ambitious.
With an ensemble cast of British and international actors that we feel are on a par or greater than ‘Two Days in the Smoke’, we are certain that we have a commercial winner in ‘Welcome to Curiosity’.
With our no-nonsense approach to filmmaking and an overwhelming commercial perspective, coupled with the experience of the rest of our team including co-producer and ex-film distributor executive Tom Kelly (former Sales and Marketing Director for 20th Century Fox UK), with 65% of the film already shot we are aiming to get ‘Welcome to Curiosity’ to market in time for the European Film Market in Berlin in February 2015 and generate sales income within 12 months of the close of this offer.
We are also taking advantage of the UK Government’s Film Tax Credit, which rebates 20-25% of a film's production costs. We have used those funds to finance production costs to date, reducing our need for investment and avoiding the need to bring in expensive third party funding deals that are widely used in the film industry.
By using solely private investment, Curiosity Kills Limited will also retain the IP in the film, only licensing the rights to distributors and sharing in any profits made by them - increasing not only our control but also widening our opportunities for generating revenue compared with other films.
Substantial accomplishments to date
We have already completed 65% of the film. This took place over 27 days on location in Cornwall and Kent during the summer of 2014. A final leg of 15 days of filming is due to take place in Cornwall in September 2014.
We also have in place within our team a wealth of experience in development, production and sales, all key aspects to delivering a great, commercially viable film. These include director-producer Ben Pickering, writer-producer Darren Ripley and Director of Photography Bruce Melhuish. Bruce’s experience in delivering high quality product on a modest budget, as he did with his own feature 'The Glass Man' starring 'Kick-Ass 2's Andy Nyman and 'Wild Things's Neve Campbell, is proving invaluable.
We also have Tom Kelly, former Sales and Marketing Director at 20th Century Fox UK, as a co-producer. Through this and other roles Tom has been involved in the selling and marketing of many, many features in his career and he is playing a pivotal role in maximising sales revenue.
First income would be anticipated within 12 months of close of offer with the remainder paid to the company over the following 3-4 years. We would look for initial sales via Tom and/or other UK and international sales agents. There would also be profit sharing with distributors thereafter.
Initial sales income is made up of "minimum guarantee" payments by distributors to secure rights for a set number of years (usually 15-20) for specific territories and media platforms including:
• Cinema: box office receipts
• DVD/Blu-ray: royalties from DVD/Blu-ray rentals/sales
• TV: revenue from license fees paid by terrestrial, satellite and cable broadcasters
• Video-on-Demand: royalties from viewings on Netflix/downloads on iTunes
• Airlines: license fees paid for in-flight presentations.
The “minimum guarantee” payment is effectively an advance against future sales income. Distributors would then pay all distribution costs, from producing prints of the film to marketing and advertising. These expenses are commonly referred to as “P&A”.
Distributors would incur similar costs for a DVD/Blu-ray release of the film (including manufacturing and shipping costs). These costs, along with P&A and a pre-agreed distributors’ share of sales revenue, would need to be recouped before any further profits are split between distributors and the production company.
To maximise sales income and minimise risk, we would seek to license distribution rights on a territory-by-territory basis rather than seeking a blanket worldwide distribution deal.
Use of proceeds
Further funds raised from the Seedrs community will be used to complete production of ‘Welcome to Curiosity’. The final bloc of filming will cost £20-£25,000.
Should the offer be oversubscribed, we would use surplus funds (up to a maximum second round of £50,000) to also fully finance post-production without involving post-production partners. This would allow us to retain 100% of the producer profits of the film (after all distribution costs are deducted) as well as control 100% of the film’s IP going forward.
Some of the funds will be used to meet salaries for cast and crew, however these will be minimal as all cast and crew are working for the Minimum Wage (representing in some cases just 20% of the Pact-Equity and Bectu minimums for cast and crew respectively).
Through its casting and popular genre, 'Welcome to Curiosity' is being produced for the widest potential cinema and DVD audience.
With an expected 15 film classification, we believe the primary audience will be 25-34 year-olds with a male skew (this demographic representing 19% of UK cinema-goers in 2012) but coupled with our casting and music link-ups, we believe the audience could be far wider with trickle-down into the 15-24 age bracket (25% of cinema-goers in 2012). At DVD/Blu-ray release we would expect to expand into the 35-44 age bracket also.
To get to that audience we will need suitable distribution partners. So they are our initial target market, identifying distribution partners for the UK and Republic of Ireland, Australia/New Zealand and also North America (USA and Canada). With the casting of Russia's Sofya Skya and other international artistes there could also be latitude in Eastern European and Asian territories.
There is often a balance to be struck between the size of any minimum guarantee payment and the investment by a distributor in the widest release of the film. Our focus would be on achieving the best long-term prospects for distribution income rather than on a one-off cash injection followed by minimal further sales income. By agreeing a smaller minimum guarantee in exchange for greater investment in marketing and P&A by distributors, we may increase impact potential and also be able to negotiate a greater share of the profits from distribution, improving income prospects in the long run.
Often on lower budget and independent films, filmmakers are wholly focused on the production side and selling the film is almost an afterthought.
For us it is integral to our business - filmmaking is after all a business and recouping investor monies is at the forefront of our minds at all times. This is one of the reasons we have attached a co-producer whose expertise is buying and selling early stage films.
Characteristics of target market
In 2012, UK cinema admissions exceeded 172.5 million, the third highest figure since 2001. Cinema-going proved its resilience with cinema overtaking DVD in its share of the UK's filmed entertainment market for the first time, with box office receipts nudging a record £1.1 billion in 2012.
According to the BFI, the UK is the third largest film market in the world, generating revenues in excess of £4 billion in 2012 alone.
Internationally the filmed entertainment industry was worth a staggering $88.6 billion in 2012.
While DVD/Blu-ray sales have naturally declined as saturation is reached on older films, the newly-revitalised HMV chain in the UK plays a crucial role in acting as an outlet for lower-budget fare. Also the genuine rise in Video-on-Demand services such as Sky Box Office and more impressively Netflix will act to diversify income streams for films such as ‘Welcome to Curiosity’ as well as reduce the attraction of pirated copies of films.
As soon as we complete filming we will appoint a sales agent to represent us at the various international film markets, with a view to a launch at the European Film Market in Berlin in February.
We are producing what is called a “sizzle reel” of selected scenes to go with our teaser trailer to entice distributors to agree an early deal so that as soon as the film is completed it has a distribution track. We also have a co-producer whose sole role on the film will be to oversee this strategy.
In tandem with this, we are planning a targeted, intelligently-budgeted marketing and PR campaign aimed to demonstrate an audience for the film to distributors through Facebook and Twitter presences as well as Behind the Scenes footage, Director's Diaries and potentially "virals" on YouTube.
In anticipation of marketing for any release of the film, we have also specifically included minimum marketing duties within the contracts of our cast, with a view to placing higher profile cast members on television and radio programmes as well as in magazines.
On 'Two Days in the Smoke' we have been able to exploit the profile of several of our more active cast members, including EastEnders' Matt di'Angelo, Hollyoaks' Anna Passey and Irish girlband B*Witched's Lindsay Armaou. Lindsay played a supporting character in the film but went on to feature on ITV's 'Big Reunion' series (which ran clips of her scenes in the film) along with chat show appearances and press articles where she promoted the film, increasing its social media profile significantly. We would expect to emulate and improve upon this with 'Welcome to Curiosity'.
We don't believe that we have competitors as such, in that every film has its own market and every filmmaker cultivates their own following. We have contemporaries each trying to carve out their own niche.
However we do believe that our offering is almost unique in that we aim to deliver high quality entertainment that looks and feels like it cost a lot more to make than it did. Too often some filmmakers can appear to be knocking out second-best films destined to go straight-to-video. We strongly feel that this is filmmaking for the sake of it, lacking in ambition and creativity and that there is a market niche for innovative, commercial filmmakers like ourselves with truly entertaining stories to tell and the ability to deliver those stories.
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