September 21 – 24, 2023

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Crowdfunding Rally Open for Submissions

Crowdfunding Rally Open for Submissions

Bay City, MI – Michigan’s true grassroots film festival, Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival, is leading the way in film festival innovation with the launch of the Crowdfunding Rally. The Crowdfunding Rally kicks off today with an open call for entries and concludes with the final stage taking place at this year’s 12th year of Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival, September 28 – October 1, 2017. The event is presented by crowdfunding platform Seed&Spark, as well as the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office.

“Filmmakers have the opportunity to capitalize on audience excitement at film festivals and convert filmgoers into film contributors. This year we’re focusing specifically on documentary filmmaking. We are excited to produce our Crowdfunding Rally for the third year to help connect new funding streams to independent filmmakers,” commented Alan LaFave, Festival Director, Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival. “Seed&Spark offers the online platform, along with crowdfunding expertise, developed specifically for film projects. They are a vital part of the Crowdfunding Rally. This event predates, but is in line with Seed&Spark’s recent Hometown Heroes program where they partnered with the Duplass Brothers. Their commitment to innovate is what makes them the best partner for our event.”

LaFave added, “The Michigan Film & Digital Media Office is also an integral partner in the Crowdfunding Rally providing expertise, funding and connections within the Michigan filmmaking industry. We’re proud to have their support and participation.” The MFDMO will also be hosting the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council meeting at the festival in Bay City on Friday, September 29th at 1pm at the Delta College Planetarium and Learning Center.

2016 Crowdfunding Rally participant, Aaron Wertheimer said, “The crowdfunding rally was definitely a worthwhile experience. I received helpful pitching and fundraising advice from a crowdfunding professional (Christina Raia from Seed & Spark), and wound up meeting people at the rally that I wouldn’t have otherwise met. I was nervous to pitch in front of a crowd, but with encouragement and support from Christina and Alan, the campaign was a success, as we surpassed our fundraising goal for my feature film, Skippers.”

John Painz participated in the first Crowdfunding Rally in 2015. “I’d never pitched a project to a room full of people before, but with the help of Alan (LaFave) from Hell’s Half Mile and Erica (Anderson) from Seed & Spark, I was able to hone my pitch down to the essentials and share my project with the audience. A few weeks after the festival, my Seed&Spark campaign for my second feature film, Four Bottles, finished. We raised 94% of our fundraising goal, and started production two months later. There is an art to pitching projects, and if you’ve never done it before, this is a perfect place to start.”

The Crowdfunding Rally is a mechanism for independent filmmakers to connect with film festivalgoers to find supplemental funding for their films, which is a natural for documentarians who are looking for funding support at various points in planning, production and beyond. The initiative kicks off today with an open call for entries for films being produced in and around the Great Lakes area, or by filmmakers based in the area. This area includes Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and the Province of Ontario. Projects will be reviewed and selected from the pool of submissions.

Selected participants pitch to a live audience at one of the Festival’s several receptions attempting to convince them to contribute to and/or follow the project to its completion. Seed&Spark and Hell’s Half Mile will be contributing a total of $1,000 as contributions to participants’ crowdfunding campaigns. Each project has the opportunity to receive a Seed&Spark Filmmaker Gift Box when they hit 1,000 followers. Valued at $8,000, the Gift Box contains products, services and festival waivers that provide filmmakers with everything they need to succeed and achieve true independence.

Filmmakers have until September 11th, 2017 to submit their project for the crowdfunding event and can do so at The submission “window” is short, but here is no entry fee.

“We always say friends don’t let friends crowdfund alone. This Crowdfunding Rally will bring together a group of filmmakers all pushing to get their projects made at the same time. We’re excited to see the additional push this gives these projects,” commented Emily Best, Founder and CEO, Seed&Spark. “We also say that not all crowdfunding happens behind a computer. Hell’s Half Mile is providing an incredible platform for filmmakers to get up live in front of film audiences and build real relationships with their supporters that will serve them throughout their careers.”

“We are a strong supporter of Michigan’s indigenous creative industry and are proud to promote innovative opportunities to cultivate and grow this industry in our state,” commented Jenell Leonard, Michigan Film Commissioner. “Some of the most innovative ideas often come from smaller organizations like ours,” said LaFave of the event. “We’re nimble enough to roll out new ideas and take the chances that bigger organizations need years to develop. That’s what makes us so much like the independent films we were created to support.”

The festival includes screenings of independent narrative feature films, documentaries, short films and student films, as well as live indie music performances, a half-mile run, workshops, and receptions. In addition, the festival will collaborate with Studio 23 Art Center to include art focused films, Delta College for full-dome films, and a new event called the Michigan Made Marketplace, a festival style marketplace featuring Michigan made products and goods.

For additional information on the Crowdfunding Rally, along with the 12th Annual Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival, visit

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One of the most collaborative and inspiring film and music festivals around, Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival is excited to celebrate their 12th anniversary. The name is a tribute to the Bay City riverfront area once known as a rowdy seaport and now home to historic architecture and a thriving small city lifestyle, at the center of the Great Lakes State. The event is produced by the nonprofit, Hell’s Half Mile Events.

Seed&Spark is the world’s only crowdfunding and streaming platform, a place where truly independent filmmakers and their audiences join forces to fund, promote and watch the best new independent films. Seed&Spark passionately supports hardworking filmmakers in the areas of funding, audience building and distribution. At the same time, audience members are empowered to shape the future of film by subscribing Seed&Spark to watch what’s streaming now and vote monthly to decide what streams next. Filmmakers and film audiences, building a new film future together. Only on Seed&Spark.