Blockchain film-financing boost for Bermudian

  • Movies and tech: Bermudian film producer Alyson Thompson funded the making of a short film through cryptocurrency and blockchain technology (Photograph by Duncan Hall)

    Movies and tech: Bermudian film producer Alyson Thompson funded the making of a short film through cryptocurrency and blockchain technology (Photograph by Duncan Hall)

  • Digital discussion: Bermudian film producer Alyson Thompson, right, chats with fellow panellist Steven Nia, chairman and founder of Wardour Studios, at Liquidity Summit, part of Bermuda Tech Week (Photograph by Duncan Hall)

    Digital discussion: Bermudian film producer Alyson Thompson, right, chats with fellow panellist Steven Nia, chairman and founder of Wardour Studios, at Liquidity Summit, part of Bermuda Tech Week (Photograph by Duncan Hall)


A Bermudian film producer has backed the use of blockchain technology to fund film projects.

Alyson Thompson spoke on the panel “Fintech & Blockchain in Entertainment” at the Liquidity Summit on New Finance, presented by Hub Culture, on the second day of Bermuda Tech Week 2019.

The 31-year-old Warwick Academy graduate explained to an audience of business people, film-makers and conference delegates, including Dr Dre’s producer, stu-b-doo (Stuart Bell), that she and her colleagues funded the nine-minute short film, Detained, with the assistance of the firm Singular DTV, now renamed Breaker.

The company helped the film-makers to raise an amount in cryptocurrency that, when converted to US currency, totalled $50,000, enough to fund the film.

“Breaker created an app, Tokit, that allowed us to create a fundraising campaign similar to Kickstarter or GoFundMe,” said Ms Thompson, a 31-year-old graduate of Warwick Academy.

“It’s another step in the democratisation process, and the ability to tell your own story.

“The thing that was attractive to me was that we could take our story and make our movie without any of the middlemen, the people who say ‘yea’ or ‘nay’, or who say ‘make it this way instead’.

“We really got a lot of authority on how the film was told. It has changed my idea about what is possible.”

The technology used, blockchain, is a digital record of transactions, so named because of its structure in which individual records, called blocks, are linked together as in a chain.

As the “guinea pig” for Breaker’s foray into financing films using blockchain, Ms Thompson said the film’s director, Khushnuda Shukurova of Tajikistan, was able to retain all rights to the film.

As to who financed the film, Ms Thompson said: “I don’t know.”

Film-maker Antoine Hunt, whose feature-length documentary A Story of Mezcal screened at the Bermuda International Film Festival in March, watched the panel with interest. Mezcal was funded by a private investor.

“I was aware Alyson had done that, and it definitely intrigues me, but it’s something I’m trying to wrap my head around,” Mr Hunt said.

“For future projects I am definitely going to look into it. I have four producers out looking for funding now, and I’ll talk to them about this, and see if any of them operates in this world.”

Now travelling the film festival circuit, Detained tells the story of two Syrian siblings who receive official legal documents to permanently join their father in the United States. However, when their aircraft lands at JFK, they are taken into custody for interrogation by Custom and Border Police.

The film next screens at the Reel Sisters Diaspora Film Festival at the Alamo Drafthouse cinema in Brooklyn on Sunday at 1pm. The event is a qualifying festival for the short film Academy Award.

For Royal Gazette readers in the Brooklyn area, tickets to the screening are available at https://tinyurl.com/y3fms8k5

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Published Oct 18, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 17, 2019 at 11:50 pm)

Blockchain film-financing boost for Bermudian

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