September 26 – 29, 2024

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Festival Helps Source Funding for Independent Films

Festival Helps Source Funding for Independent Films


Fourth Annual Crowdfunding Rally Call for Entries Now Open

Bay City, MI – Michigan’s true grassroots film festival, Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival, is continuing their support of independent filmmaking with the launch of their 4th crowdfunding event. The Hell’s Half Mile Crowdfunding Rally kicks off today with an open call for entries and concludes with the final stage taking place at the 13th Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival, September 27 – 30, 2018. The event is presented along with crowdfunding platform Seed&Spark, as well as the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office.

The Crowdfunding Rally is a mechanism for independent filmmakers to connect with film festivalgoers to find supplemental funding for their films. The call for  is primarily 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. Hell’s Half Mile will also contribute to participant campaigns to help them reach their goals. Each project has the opportunity to receive a Seed&Spark Filmmaker Gift Box when they hit 1,000 followers. Valued at over $8,000, the Gift Box contains products, services and festival waivers. Plus, completed films of successful campaigns can receive distribution on Seed&Spark’s platform, as well as be featured in a Hell’s Half Mile film series screening where box office revenues will be shared with the filmmaker.

“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 Kelleher-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.”

“Filmmakers have the opportunity to capitalize on the audience excitement at film festivals and convert filmgoers into film contributors,” commented Alan LaFave, Festival Director, Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival. “Over the past 3 years we’ve helped 4 projects, mostly Michigan based, meet their campaign goals raising over $26,000 to start or complete their films. Our efforts bring a whole new audience to filmmakers connecting them with a potential funding stream that they wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.”

LaFave continued, “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 Hometown Heroes program, which is partnered with the Duplass Brothers, famous for producing several HBO series as well as acting, directing and producing their own films. Seed&Spark’s commitment to innovate is what makes them the best partner for our event.” In addition, Seed&Spark’s Head of Crowdfunding, Gerry Maravilla, will be at the festival and will host the workshop “The Art of the Pitch” on Friday, September 28th.

LaFave added, “Once again, the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office is behind our efforts to support independent filmmaking in Michigan and the Great Lakes Region. They provide expertise, funding and connections within the Michigan filmmaking industry. We’re proud to have their support and participation.”

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.”

Filmmakers have until September 9th, 2018 to submit their project for the crowdfunding event and can do so at The submission “window” is short, but there is no entry fee.

The festival includes screenings of independent narrative feature films, documentaries, short films and student films, as well as live indie music performances, workshops, and receptions. In addition, the festival will collaborate with Delta College for full-dome films, and the second Michigan Made Marketplace, a festival style street market featuring Michigan made products and goods.

For additional information on the Crowdfunding Rally, along with the 13th Annual Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival, visit

CONTACT:         Alan LaFave, Festival Director

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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 13th 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 a crowdfunding and distribution platform where truly independent filmmakers and their audiences join forces to fund, promote and watch the best new independent films. Seed&Spark’s film specific crowdfunding tool – the “WishList” – allows supporters to buy or loan specific items to a production.