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'Ocean's Eleven' Director Steven Soderbergh Gives $300,000 to Crypto-Powered Film Fund

Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh is teaming up with Roman Coppola's Decentralized Pictures, a platform that uses crypto to fund films.

3 min read
Steven Soderbergh. Image: Shutterstock

"Ocean's Eleven" director Steven Soderbergh has teamed up with crypto-powered film fund Decentralized Pictures to launch a $300,000 grant on the blockchain film financing platform.

According to IndieWire, Soderbergh's production company Extension 765 has launched the Andrews/Bernard Award on Decentralized Pictures's platform, offering a $300,000 pot of money to support filmmakers with finishing funds for English-language feature films or shorts.

"As with a lot of things I’ve done, it’s kind of an experiment," Soderbergh told IndieWire, adding that he's interested to see if blockchain film financing "really does work," and that he wants "to get up in the grill of this blockchain approach or structure to see if it’s going to do what it’s supposed to do."

As well as directing blockbusters including the "Ocean's Eleven" franchise, "Magic Mike" and the Oscar-winning "Erin Brockovich" and "Traffic," Soderbergh has past form when it comes to cinematic experiments.

His 2017 film "Logan Lucky" was funded through pre-selling foreign distribution rights to finance the film's production, and "everything except the movie showing up in a movie theater" to finance advertising and prints of the film. Soderbergh's 2018 thriller "Unsane," which was shot on iPhone cameras, followed a similar funding model.

At the time, he told GQ that this approach to funding would allow for "complete transparency," noting that, "There’s no intermediary. The money is not passing through anybody’s hands. All these people who work for scale to make this film will literally be able to go online with a password and look at this account as the money is delivered from the theaters."

It's unsurprising, then, that Soderbergh would be drawn to Decentralized Pictures, which promises to bring a similar level of transparency to indie film financing using crypto.

What is Decentralized Pictures?

Co-founded by members of Francis Ford Coppola's production company American Zoetrope alongside producer Roman Coppola, Decentralized Pictures invites filmmakers to submit movie pitches, paying a submission fee in the project's native token, FILMCredits (FILM).

Users can earn crypto by providing feedback on film pitches and trailers. Image: Decentralized Pictures

Those submission fees go into a smart contract, which pays members of the DCP community for reviewing projects and completing other tasks to support the community.

The top-rated projects go on to be reviewed by DCP, with the eventual winners receiving funds from awards such as that donated by Soderbergh. A portion of the profits from successful projects is then returned to the Decentralized Pictures pool to fund future awards.

"What we're trying to create here is an evergreen, self-sustaining film fund, that can support independent artists and artists from underserved and underrepresented communities going forward," Decentralized Pictures co-founder Mike Musante told Decrypt in a recent interview.

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