02 NOVEMBER 15 by MATT KAMEN
When independent film Credence launched its crowdfunding campaign last July, it made history as the first sci-fi project to specifically and overtly deal with LGBT themes. Now, 18 months on and with a West End premiere to its name, the short is finally available to purchase.
True to its community-driven origins, which saw a dedicated 607 backers chip in a total £23k — almost four times its initial goal of £6,000 — director Mike Buonaiuto has opted for an online release release with a miniscule price tag to get the film to as many viewers as possible. It’s currently available exclusively on Vimeo for £3.99 in high-def download and streaming formats.
Anyone who contributed more than £15 during the crowdfunding phase will get the film for free. The purchase price to new viewers is, Buonaiuto says “a minimal fee to cover outstanding costs for completing a production of this scale and detail”, which saw “countless people” contribute talent and production skills to see the project completed.
“Launching traditionally would not have made too much sense for Credence, which was completely built by people’s crowdfunded cash,” Buonaiuto tells WIRED. “So the team decided to give the film a completely independent launch — fuelled by the thousands of people who shared and contributed to the campaign over the last few years.”
The half-hour tale follows husbands John (Anthony Topham) and Scott (Alex Hammond) as they try to ensure safe passage for their daughter Ellie (Tia Kenny) away from a doomed Earth. Although it’s a rare portrayal of gay parents in cinema, it also stands — in this writer’s opinion — as an example of raw humanity and the extents people can go to for love. Buonaiuto is optimistic that both the characters’ portrayal, deliberately as far as possible from the standard imagery cinema often uses as shorthand for LGBT people, and Credence’s production model will have a positive impact.
“We hope this inspires other filmmakers to take a chance at breaking stereotypes in filmmaking, and in production models” he says. “Filmmakers have to get creative if they want to tell new stories that have never been told before. Credence was written, produced and funded completely differently to most short films, telling a very different story, and we wanted to launch to be very people-led and unique too.”
If digital downloads aren’t your movie-watching cup of tea, there are also plans for a more traditional release to follow. “We’ve had so much interest for Blu-ray and DVD releases, which is really encouraging,” Buonaiuto says. “This is something we’ll certainly consider next year, with a few partner options, and we’re also talking with film festivals for more screenings.”