The year is over, where did it go?
It seems like weeks not months ago that it was January and I was optimistically planning what I hoped to achieve through the year. At the top of the list was the release of High On Hope. I had finished 2012 on a high with a series of screenings in the North West. Taking the film back to its birth place was such an amazing experience. 400 people, packed in to King George’s Hall in Blackburn, whooped and cheered all the way through the screening. The venue in Salford was a sell out and the questions from the audiences showed just how much the film meant to those from the other side of Lancashire too. 2013 was meant to build on momentum.
One of the difficulties of being an independent film maker is how to make a living while you are trying to raise finance for your projects. When I am not shooting and editing my own projects I am working on other peoples. This is how I pay my bills and put food on the table. (For the last ten years I have worked on High On hope and not paid myself a penny). The months of work and screenings of the film had taken time and I now needed to earn some money again. The first few months of the year were taken up with this -but in April I got a break for the film.
You never know where your luck will come from and one of the reason I do the screenings and festival showings of the film is in the hope that one person in the audience might be the saviour who comes to the rescue to pay for the music clearance. Perhaps an ex party person who has now made their fortune and wants to give something back to the scene that shaped them? This nearly happened last year.
Someone who had seen the film in London, let’s call him John, was chatting with a guy at a business seminar in Hong Kong, let’s call the other guy Pat. John and Pat started taking about where they were from, and although Pat now lived in New York he was originally from the north west of England but had made millions in publishing in America. Somehow acid house came up in the conversation and it turns out Pat was an ex party person. John told him about the film and he was very interested and luckily for me Pat got in touch. He said he wanted to pay for the music clearance and get the film out to the public through one of his online magazines. He passed me through to his head of online media and and we started discussing the finer details. In my excitement I posted up on Facebook that I had some good news coming. Perhaps I should have waited.
After weeks of negotiations we were about to get to the contract when the guy disappeared. He stopped returning my emails, so I got back in touch with Pat. He explained that the guy had left and put me in touch with his replacement. This new guy didn’t have the same enthusiasm for the film and two weeks later told me they were no longer going to continue with the agreement. I was gutted, we had come so close!
So here we are, another year has gone by and still no release. But I am not losing faith. I am still determined to get this film out.
Some people have asked why I don’t do a crowd funding appeal on kickstarter.com? Well this would take a month of planning and another month of the appeal and I just dont have 2 months where I can give up work at the moment. If a team of volunteers came on board and helped share the load maybe that would be achievable but it’s a big ask.
I still have hope that a benefactor will come along and to do that I know I must keep the film in the public eye. So with that in mind I am doing another screening. I have still not shown the film in Manchester so I am planning a screening for the early part of 2014. If you still haven’t seen High On Hope I think this will be a great night as there are a couple of other very special acts lined up to go with it. If you have seen the film and liked it, let those who didn’t see it know they have a chance to watch it on a big screen. And if you have a mate who has has made it big, please encourage them to come to the screening, perhaps they will be the one who will come to the rescue and 2014 will be the year the film finally comes out?
Piers Sanderson – January 2nd 2014.
What will you buy your loved one this Christmas? Jewellery? Furs? The new Jeremy Clarkson DVD?
Stuck for an original idea? Show you care and put your loved one’s name in the credits at the end of the film. Donate £100 to the music costs and we will send you a certificate showing how their name will be in the credits, so that the special person in your life has something to open on Christmas day. Once the music is cleared you will also get two DVD’s, a link to watch the film on line and 2 tickets to the premier screening near you. Imagine the surprise, the wide smile of recognition when they know what it is, the brownie points you will get for such an original gift AND know you will be helping get an importnat film to the audience it deserves! Everyone wins. Go to the donate page now to order that special gift.
Today we had our 150th person donate towards the music costs of the film. We have now raised £2595 which means that the average donation is £17.30! That has amazed me. I thought that most people would donate the minimum amount of £3. But by far he most popular donation amount has been £10. What has also been amazing is how global the support has been. Of the 150 people who have donated 107 are from the UK, that means almost a third of the donations have come from the rest of the world. I would never have guessed that when we started the appeal. We have people send money from Russia, China, Brazil, Columbia, New Zealand, Australia, France, Germany , Spain, USA, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Japan, Mexico, Argentina and Switzerland. It seems that the acid house spirit travelled the world.Thank you everyone who has helped us so far.
Nobody likes to have to ask for something from someone, not us Brits anyway. We’re too proud. So it was a tough decision to make, to ask people to donate to the costs of the music clearance. But it was also the last resort, the film has been finished for 2 years, done really well at festivals and had hundreds of enquiries as to how to watch it or buy the DVD since even before it was finished. Yet because of the costs of clearing the music i have not been able to do a thing with it outside of film festivals, not even been able to give anyone a clear answer as to when it would be out to the public.
Originally I hoped that when it was finished the people in TV land would want to buy it and pay for the music clearance. When that didn’t happen i hoped that some festival success would get it a distribution deal and that would pay for the music. Despite winning 2 big prestigious festivals and being screened to enthusiastic audiences all over the world that still didn’t happen, the distributers liked the film but didn’t want to pay for the music clearance. No sponsors have come along, no rich benefactor has come to the rescue and despite some nice people offering to help nobody came up with the cash to get the film out.
So that is why i have launched this appeal, there is nowhere else to go with it now and unless this appeal works the film will never be seen in a public venue. So I hope that there are enough people out there able and willing to give a little bit of money to make the film happen. Like the original parties back in the day i am hoping that people power will defeat the odds. And I have faith, after all there was 10,000 people at the last party in Nelson alone. Each one of us that was there experienced the dream at its pinacle and also the sheer horror of what happens when that dream becomes a nightmare and you are faced with the full force of Her Majesties police. If every one of those people gave £3 then the film would get released. And there were more than 10,000 people who were touched by acid house. Hundreds of thousands across the Uk and the world know how special that time was and millions more experienced the legacy left by that pioneering movement. These are the people who will come and donate to the film. I just need to find them.
After so many knock backs (its taken 10 years of refusing to take no for an answer to get this far) why have i persevered and why am i still trying everything to get it released? Why have i got to the stage where i am cap in hand like a online busker asking for donations? Because I believe in this film. I believe it’s an important social document, one that honestly captures a moment in our collective history that has not yet been preserved in popular culture, for the generation who were there to gloriously remember and for future generations to be able to see. I believe that it goes some way to explaining why this time was so influential to those who experienced it and i believe that it also reminds us what happens when the government, our elected officials, abuse their power, through ignorance or fear or both. This is why i have persevered with this film and this is why i am asking for your support.
The lovely Jag, our website designer has added a donation page so that people can help towards the costs of the music clearance. The official launch is next week but whilst this has been up for testing and with no promotion at all, 3 wonderful people have donated already.
Adam, Urs and Joe – you ROCK!
I am working on the launch of the appeal to raise the funds for the music at the moment and i’m thinking of other bits and pieces we could produce to help raise money. T-shirts are a must, but also maybe mouse mats, mugs, badges, posters? How far do you go??? I dont want to have a whole shop full of tat that looks like those rooms you are made to exit through after a ride at Alton Towers.
Ok so we are not the most popular kid in the playground (yet) but we have 1000 likes on Facebook and we are starting to feel the love. Thanks everyone for your support. The film is gathering momentum and with you behind it we will get the funds to clear the music and get this film out. Big love to you.
I put a few more clips of the film on Vimeo. If you would like to see it email me through the contacts page, introduce yourself and ask me to send you the link and password. Cheers, Piers.
Well its taken nearly 2 years but we have finally got a proper website.
I think its only right to start this blog with a big thank you to everyone who has given their time to make this film happen so far. To all the contributors of the film, those original acid house pioneers who have shared their amazing experiences on camera, to everyone who has worked on making this documentary for love and no money – and a big thank you to everyone who screened the film at festivals, watched the film, voted for the film, promoted the film, i salute you all!
Also a thank you to Jag the latest collaborator to help bring High On Hope to its audience. Jag has kindly built this website and like the rest of us he has done it for a no money upfront.