Crowd funding boosts sci-fi comedy Iron Sky.
26 Jul 2011 - 11:26 AM  UPDATED 6 Nov 2012 - 2:30 AM

Australian-German co-production Iron Sky is successfully tapping its international fan base for investment and creative input.

The sci-fi comedy certainly has a novel premise: Towards the end of WWII, a band of Nazis flew to the dark side of the moon in space ships. Fast forward to 2018 and their descendants are ready to invade Earth to conquer the world.

Via the film's website and online crowd funding platforms including IndieGoGo, RocketHub and startnext, the producers have raised more than €467,000 ($A618,000) from European investors towards the $A10 million budget. (Australian laws rule out sourcing coin from Oz without a prospectus).

The average contribution is about €2,500 and the largest is €25,000, according to Mark Overett of Brisbane-based New Holland Pictures, which is co-producing the movie with Germany's 27 Films in collaboration with Finland's Blind Spot Pictures and Energia Productions.

Overett says the money will enable the producers to repay gap financing loans from banks faster than would have been possible otherwise. The production was funded from multiple sources including the Finnish Film Foundation, Eurimages, German regional fund HessenInvestFilm, Screen Queensland, the 40% tax offset for Australian expenditure and pre-sales to distributors in Australia and New Zealand (Hoyts), Benelux, China, Czech and Slovak, the former Yugoslavia, Finland, Iceland, German-speaking Europe, Norway, Poland, Romania, Taiwan, Thailand, and the UK and Ireland.

As for a US deal, Overett says the producers have had two offers but have decided to wait in hopes the film will be selected for a major North American festival, possibly Sundance.
Directed by Timo Vuorensola and scripted by Johanna Sinisalo and Michael Kalesniko, it's due to be released in Europe in April 2012. Hoyts Distribution's Robert Slaviero sparked to its novel concept and was happy to come on board after handling New Holland's previous film Separation City. The cast includes Julia Dietze, Götz Otto, Udo Kier, Peta Sergeant and Christopher Kirby.

The filmmakers encouraged fans to get involved creatively via the communal moviemaking site Wreck a Movie.

Overett tells SBS this input included fans designing several spaceships featured in the film and creating movie posters for scenes filmed at a cinema in George Street, Brisbane, and sourcing 100 extras for a sequence shot in Frankfurt.

The project was structured as an Australian co-production after Overett met producer Tero Kaukomaa at last year's Cannes film festival through Dutch producers San Fu Maltha (the largest investor in New Holland Pictures) and Anton Smit.

New Holland is moving ahead with two new projects, Ssshhh!, a thriller about a Australian couple who've lost a child and are invited to stay with a friend in a converted lighthouse, to be directed by Gary Sinyor as a UK-Australian coproduction; and Fresh As, a Samoan coming-of-age hip-hop story directed by Justine Simei-Barton.

As for Hoyts Distribution, the company will celebrate its 10th anniversary in October after achieving record results in the financial year ending June 30. It's releasing just two titles between now and the end of 2011, The Three Musketeers 3D (October 13) and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (November 17) after postponing A Little Bit of Heaven, a romantic drama starring Kate Hudson, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathy Bates and Gael García Bernal to February, and opting to send Flypaper, a crime caper featuring Patrick Dempsey and Ashley Judd, straight to DVD.

After the recent crop of Australian misfires including Hoyts' release A Heartbeat Away, Slaviero is taking a very selective approach to betting on local films, looking to acquire, he says, “one per year at best.”