Martin Borgs is a documentary filmmaker and together with his colleague Ida Drougge they made the movie “Någon annan betalar” which was crowdfunded and has it’s premiere on Tuesday august 19th. We had the chance to interview Martin, who will tell us about the journey from the campaign to finishing a film.
How did you go together and made this kind of movie?
Ida and I have been hunting ways of tax money for some years, being a documentary filmmaker, I wanted to turn this into a movie. If you’re making a movie about waste of somebody elses money, then it’s kind of hard to go to the government to ask for tax money. So for me it was self-evident that we wanted to crowdfund.
How was your experience with crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is amazing. It’s like a Kinder egg, you never know what surprise you’ll get. Because you not only get the energy from people, some of them also become your ambassadors. And of course the fact that people voluntarily finance this. Being on the road, you know that you have this support. These three things are amazing.
What was the trigger that made you do this movie? How did the process look like?
I made a movie couple of years ago, the first movie about waste of tax payers money. What made me want to to another was the fact that this was still going on. I started out by doing research and I had a lot of help from my 43 000 Facebook fans that contribute with a lot of the initial crowdsourced information. That was phase one, phase two we published a book in december 2013 that became a bestseller. For the filmmaking process we traveled around the country investigating 15-20 different stories. All the way from Östersund in the north of Sweden down to Malmö in the south. We were on the road for about 3 weeks.
What is the most exciting thing being a documentary filmmaker?
I love stories and reality is the best story. Obviously I love fiction as well, but we have a swedish expression that says “verkligheten överträffar dikten” which means – reality jumps over fiction. Going to some of these places, it’s like – no one can not come up with this. To give you one example, I went to the Hells Angels, they have a base outside Karlstad. The government wanted to get rid of them, so they bought the house for 3 million Swedish krona, but they forgot to do it in a legally right way. So now, Hells Angels got the 3 million Swedish krona, and are still residents. It’s just crazy. I guess, this is the reason for being a documentary filmmaker – to bring the audience to a place like that and tell the story.
Where do you find your inspiration? Any specific documentary filmmaker?
There is this Swedish filmmaker, Jan Troell. He made a movie called “Land of Dreams”. (Sagolandet). it’s quite an old movie. He is my main influence, but there are of course many. I’m always trying to make a movie using humor as a weapon. There are a lot of american filmmakers that does that, I love that tradition. The daily show with Jon Stewart for example. They are showing reality using humor, and that is a good way getting to the audience.
What was your biggest learning throughout the project?
What struck me the most was the amazing support from the audience, all through the project. I was thrown to the ground by the fact that so many people wanted to give money to me, to make this film. All the support that came through Facebook as a channel. I think that was thing that amazed me the most. It gives me goosebumps that on Tuesday august 19th, I will meet these people at the premiere and be able to shake their hands and say this movie is made thanks to you, and now we’re going to see it together.
Was there any time during the project that you had doubt?
Yes. When you crowdfund a movie you have so much responsibility towards those who financed it. I can give you one example. I really wanted to go to Brussels, because there is a lot of waste of tax money going on there. But it didn’t work out, because, people in Brussels didn’t want to talk to us, so I had to make the call that – we’re not going. We would waste other peoples money going there. It was really a tough call to make. And of course now, while editing the movie I also have angst – will this movie be good enough? How will the backers think about it? I’m just looking forward to premiere.
Do you have any advice to people that want to crowdfund a movie or to make documentary movie?
One of my advice would be that, one must not forget the first word in crowdfunding. Crowd. You really need to have a crowd and know how to connect with that crowd. That was one my key success factors.
When you have the crowd, all you have to do is ask, and then ask again, and again, in different creative ways. If you don’t have a crowd, start with that. One thing that I want to add is, I did this crowdfunding campaign in Spring last year. I was deciding which platform to use and of course I was looking at Kickstarter, being a big international platform, and also some others Swedish and European platforms. But I am so happy that I went with FundedByMe.
This movie would not have been made without FundedByMe. The platform is brilliant itself, but half as brilliant as people behind it. I’m so grateful for all the passion that the team at FundedByMe has provided. The combination of passion and intelligence has resulted in wonderful platform, technically speaking but also as a crowdfunder you feel their support. I’m so grateful. I do remember when I spoke to Cat, and I told her that our target was 250.000kr. She laughed and said, you know it’s better to have a realistic goal, a goal that is easier to accomplish. I was convinced we could reach that, and we ended up raising 550.000kr. That’s a great memory.
Were you nervous around the time when campaign was up and running?
The campaign was up for 6 weeks. Longest 6 weeks in my life. It was like running a marathon, I had to do something every day to keep the energy up. But it was all worth it.
One last question. Why did you burn you beard in the trailer?
Haha. Because my wife asked me to. No but it’s crazy isn’t it, to burn your own beard. And dangerous. But I could tell you about other stuff that are also crazy, like European union financing a hunt for the so called “Lake Monster”, (storsjöodjuret) or another local community to have Hells Angels as residents, there are so many crazy things, burning a beard is the least.