The Actor: Jeremy Renner’s best known for his Oscar-nommed turn in Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker , and also shows off his sharp-shooting skills in The Avengers . He tends to mix up blockbusters and indies, but generally plays intense, stoic tough guys.
The Project: Kickstarter-supported Ingenious , which landed a theatrical release in 2012. Co-starring Man Of Steel ’s Ayelet Zurer (Superman’s mum), the film told the true story of a pair of down-and-outs who turned their life around by inventing an incredible product.
Coolest Backer Reward: The biggest backers scored an executive producer credit on screen.
Still going? Nope, the funding period ended in October 2012.
The Actor: Actor-director-novelist-screenwriter-artist-general-multihyphenate James Franco splits his time between daring, controversial film projects and ginormous blockbusters (in 2013 he played scuzzy drug dealer Alien in Spring Breakers , as well as packing in audiences for family favourite Oz The Great And Powerful ).
The Project: Franco took to indiegogo to secure funding to adapt his own short story collection, Palo Alto Stories . He’s not directing it himself though, instead handing the funds to some upcoming filmmakers at New York University who will be filming them.
Coolest Backer Reward: If you stumped up $5,000 you could have landed a spot as an extra on Franco’s upcoming Faulkner adaptation The Sound & The Fury . If you only had $700 to contribute, you could have bagged one of Franco’s original paintings.
Still going? No, the campaign closed in July 2013.
The Actor: Grizzled tough guy best known for Rambo and Rocky who doesn’t let a little thing like age (he’s in his late sixties) prevent him from churning out action movies as if he’s still in his ‘80s heyday.
The Project: Reach Me (due out in 2014), turned to Kickstarter (and then indiegogo) to raise additional budget after an investor pulled out. Stallone joined forces with director John Herzfeld and producer Cassian Elwes for the campaign, and the film features Thomas Jane, Kelsey Grammer and Ryan Kwanten among others.
Coolest Backer Reward: You could have had your song played on the radio within the movie, with the DJ announcing your name. If you were in the mood for a more random reward, you could’ve gone in for a ‘One of a kind artwork’ of Charlize Theron and James Spader in 2 Days In The Valley .
Still going? It more than exceeded its target of funding by September 2013.
The Actor: Mumblecore veteran Mark Duplass is as well known for his writing and directing (duties that he regularly shares with his brother Jay Duplass - on the likes of Baghead , Cyrus and Jeff, Who Lives At Home ) as he is for his acting. He’s been seen in low-key charmers like Greenberg , Your Sister’s Sister and Safety Not Guaranteed , and was one of Kathryn Bigelow’s numerous offbeat casting choices in Zero Dark Thirty .
The Project: Black Rock , a female-lead thriller written by Duplass and directed by Katie Aselton raised $33,501 from a target of $20,000 on Kickstarter. The finished film starred Aselton, Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell.
Coolest Backer Reward: Up for grabs were phone interviews with Duplass and Aselton, a meal with them in LA, or an associate producer credit. Foodies could have gone for two fresh lobsters (and a phone call from Aselton to talk you through the cooking process).
Still going? It finished back in 2011, and the film was released in 2012.
The Actor: Things went a bit quiet for Matthew Modine in leading man terms after starring in swashbuckling bomb Cutthroat Island , but he has worked quite consistently since, most notably in a key supporting role in The Dark Knight Rises (with a rather powerful mini-arc) .
The Project: This one’s not actually a movie - it’s an iPad app. Matthew Modine’s Full Metal Jacket Diary is an e-book available for Apple’s tablet, that showcases his detailed behind-the-scenes journals and extensive photography, in an interactive version.
Coolest Backer Reward: The biggest spenders had the opportunity of a private screening of Full Metal Jacket and dinner with Modine.
Still going? No - it exceeded it’s Kickstarter target back in 2011.
The Actor: British character David Bradley, best known for his recurring appearances as Argus Finch in the Harry Potter series, and Walder Frey in Game Of Thrones . Recently, he may have made you cry playing William Hartnell (AKA the first Doctor) in the BBC’s An Adventure In Space And Time .
The Project: This one’s a videogame - The Mandate - with Bradley lending his Yorkshire drawl to the voice of a starship captain, in a dystopian future where the Russian Empire controls the cosmos. It’s an RPG sci-fi where the world of the game reacts to your choices.
Coolest Backer Reward: Your name engraved on the Wall Of Heroes within the game, plus the ability to help customise characters and ships.
Still going? The funding period finished in early December 2013.
The Actor: You’ll probably recognise her as Shoshanna Shapiro from Girls , but Zosia (daughter of David) Mamet has also appeared in Mad Men , Greenberg and The Kids Are All Right .
The Project: Mamet took to Kickstarter with her sister in an attempt to raise the funds for a a music video for their outfit, The Cabin Sisters. Described as a ‘unique brand of folk via body percussion, banjo and harmonies’, the video promised to ‘bounce from opulence to sparseness’.
Coolest Backer Reward: You could have been an extra in the video, or had one of Zosia’s signed set chairs.
Still going? The campaign ended in June 2013, after failing to reach even 10 per cent of its target $32,000.
Carlo Gugino, Malin Akerman and Rosario Dawson
The Actor: Carla Gugino is no stranger to noir, having appearing in Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s hard-boiled Sin City . Malin Akerman appeared alongside Gugino in Watchmen , and has had roles in Rock Of Ages and any number of romcoms. Rosario Dawson was also in Sin City , as well as Death Proof , and more recently, Danny Boyle’s Trance .
The Project: A black-and-white noir called, um, Hotel Noir , that promised trenchcoats, cigarettes, revolvers and femme fatales. With an eye-catching cast that also included Danny DeVito, Rufus Sewell, Robert Forster, Mandy Moore and Entourage ’s Kevin Connolly, it ended up being sold in a VOD deal.
Coolest Backer Reward: A trip to the films premiere, plus a Skype chat with Gugino and writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez.
Still going? Nah, it cracked its target back in October 2012.
The Actor: Nowadays better known for her tabloid exploits than her acting, Lohan had bags of talent and screen presence as a young actress in the likes of The Parent Trap , Freaky Friday and Mean Girls .
The Project: The Canyons , one of the higher-profile movie releases of recent years to have begun as a crowdsourced enterprise, had writer Bret Easton Ellis and director Paul Schrader behind it. The attention came from the casting of Lohan and porn star James Deen, as well as the well documented on-set bust-ups. All that notoriety made it easy to forget that it started life on Kickstarter.
Coolest Backer Reward: An autographed money clip that Robert De Niro gave Schrader on the set of Taxi Driver , and a Canyons set visit (with the chance of appearing as an extra, if you fancied).
Still going? No, this one smashed its goal back in June 2012.
The Actor: While it may have been a long time ago, Alex Winter is still most associated with one half of the title duo from the Bill And Ted movies. Like co-star Keanu Reeves, he has also branched out into directing.
The Project: His latest directorial effort will be a documentary on Bitcoin and the rise of the Deep Web. With a premise that sounds like it could be as much as thriller as a documentary, the film aims to delve into the dark recesses of the internet.
Coolest Backer Reward: If you get involved to ‘Russian Oligarch Level’, you’ll get to watch Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure with Winter, before joining him in a round of air guitar.
Still going? Yep, it’s open on Kickstarter until 20 December 2013.
Melissa Joan Hart
The Actor: You probably remember Melissa Joan Hart as a fixture of your childhood telly-watching in Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina The Teenage Witch . Oh, and that Britney Spears video.
The Project: Hart was after $2m of funding for Darci’s Walk Of Shame , a romcom charting a woman’s ‘walk of shame’ after a one-night-stand, with the added issue that she’s en route to a wedding, so can’t be seen in the same outfit she was wearing the night before. It was to be directed by Sabrina The Teenage Witch director Tibor Takács, and was set to film in Thailand or the Caribbean (or somewhere that it’s a bit cheaper to make a movie).
Coolest Backer Reward: You could buy an on-screen thank you in the end credits (with the disclaimer that they’ll do their best to spell your name right), or get one of the cast to follow you for a year on Twitter. Plus premiere tickets, the chance to be an extra and the chance to name a character were all up for grabs.
Still going? Darci’s Walk Of Shame ’s Kickstarter campaign was cancelled after after reaching only $51,605 of its target funding.
Michael K. Williams
The Actor: Despite breaking out as Omar Little in The Wire , Williams has gone on to have a significant role in Boardwalk Empire , as well as landing film work in varied output like Gone Baby Gone , The Incredible Hulk , 12 Years A Slave and the 2014 RoboCop remake.
The Project: Well, Williams is playing a supporting role here, with relative unknowns Zaraah Abrahams and Stephen Tyrone Williams cast as the leads. Williams’ credibility helps though, as the real story here is that this is a Spike Lee joint, and the celebrated director faced something of a backlash over his decision to go for crowdsourced funding. Lee hit back at his critics, stating, “The truth is I’ve been doing Kickstarter before there was Kickstarter, there was no Internet. Social Media was writing letters, making phone calls, beating the bushes. I’m now using technology with what I’ve been doing.”
Coolest Backer Reward: There were a lot of goodies up for grabs. Alongside signed merch, there was the opportunity to attend a filmmaking bootcamp with Lee and his First AD, and the chance to visit the set during the shoot to get to experience filmmaking firsthand.
Still going? No, this exceeded its targets before the funding period ended in August 2013.