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NZ$ 8,699 pledged of NZ$ 65,000 goal
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By Toby Ricketts
NZ$ 8,699 pledged of NZ$ 65,000 goal
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About this project

What's the film about?

The essential message of this film is that solely 'advancing religion' should not automatically be considered a charitable purpose.

The 2013 Census has confirmed that the number of non-religious people in New Zealand continues to steadily increase (in 2013, 1.6 million people identified as non-religious) and suggests that by 2020 the non-religious will be in the majority. This is a trend that is observable not just in New Zealand but across much of the western world.

Despite this huge rise in the number of non-believers and increased focus on the importance of separation of church and state, most 'secular' governments continue to subsidise religious organisations; providing them with broad tax immunity (including any companies or corporations that they own), local rates exemptions and other entitlements. While the public expectation is that all religions are behaving as charities in the traditional sense (working to relieve poverty and advance the public good, etc.), the reality is that some churches are behaving more like corporations; stockpiling cash and buying external investments (putting aside for the moment the mansions, sports cars and diamond rings sported by bishops and ministers). The result of this tax break for the religious is that there is less money for education, healthcare, conservation and other core state functions that would benefit a nation as a whole.

Why am I making a film?

Ever since I heard about this issue at a talk by Australian researcher Max Wallace I've wanted to make a film that highlights the inequity of the religious getting tax benefits over the non-religious in New Zealand, and around the world. Most people may know about the themes in some form, but very few have any idea just how big this inequity is, or how deep it goes... Pennies from Heaven will be a documentary film which explores the relationship between tax and religion in New Zealand by asking the hard questions. Given the trend towards a non-religious majority, is it still appropriate for religious organisations to be exempt from most taxes? Is it fair that many large corporations owned by religious groups pay no corporate tax? How much money does central and local government forfeit by allowing this exception? Why are religious organisation not subject to more scrutiny, given the potential for abuse?

The Church of Music

Pennies from Heaven proposes to further explore the institutional structures and test the impartiality of New Zealand charity law by following an emerging religious organisation known as 'The Church of Music' on its quest to be recognised as a registered charity. If successful, musicians who belong to the church may be entitled to the same tax exemptions that other religious bodies are and pay no tax on the income from their gigs / services which seek to spread the faith in music.

Research

Pennies from Heaven has been in the planning for at least 2 years and will incorporate the key messages from of a great deal of research and investigation undertaken by many people over many more years. It is not an anti-religious film. It merely advocates that religious institutions should not be given preferential treatment and that they shouldn't be able to just wave the flag of faith to claim a tax exemption.

This document outlines the evidence, data and findings behind the film.

Support

If you believe in this topic and would like to see change, then please consider donating to the project and receive exclusive previews and benefits. Please also try and spread the word, so that more people become aware of this issue and the way in which it affects everyone. The money raised from this campaign will be used to travel and interview more stakeholders and thought leaders in this sphere. The funds will also cover the remaining production and post-production expenses, and fund entry into film-festivals around the world to increase awareness of the issues and try to stimulate discussion and promote action to change outdated charity laws.

Thanks to the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists for funding the initial filming and production of the trailer you see here.

Please see the website for more info: http://www.penniesfromheavenmovie.info

Risks and challenges

This film will be made and released in 2014 - if we do not make the Kickstarter budget, then the film not be of sufficient quality to release to festivals and around the world. We already have enough footage to make a 45 minute TV documentary. This Kick-starter project will ensure that it happens to a high standard, and that we can make a feature-length, festival film to the highest standard we can.
The funding will mean that it will get seen by as many people as possible using on-demand online video services, touring festivals and promoting it in the media. It would be terrible to have a completed a great film, but not have the budget to promote it. This funding will ensure that it is seen by many.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 10 or more About $9

    Your name mentioned on the official website and the knowledge that you helped a cause that you believed in!

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    Pledge NZ$ 25 or more About $21

    Your name as an official supporter in the film credits and on the official website and a secure online link to view the film before it screens in theatres or on TV.

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    Pledge NZ$ 65 or more About $56

    A limited edition DVD copy of the film signed by the director plus a secure link to view the film before it screens in theatres or TV. Also a named thank you in the credits, and on the official website.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 120 or more About $103

    Bronze Supporter.

    * A signed DVD / BLURAY HD copy of the film
    * An mp3 download of greatest hits from The Church Of Music
    * A signed copy of 'The Purple Economy' by Max Wallace on which the film is based
    * A special bronze named thank you in the credits and on the official website.

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    Pledge NZ$ 250 or more About $215

    Silver Supporter.

    * 2 tickets to the premiere in Auckland, New Zealand (date TBC) including meet & greet and featuring a performance by members of the Church of Music
    * A signed DVD / BLURAY HD copy of the film
    * A CD / mp3 download of greatest hits from The Church Of Music
    * A signed copy of 'The Purple Economy' by Max Wallace on which the film is based
    * A special sliver named thank you in the credits and on the official website.

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    Pledge NZ$ 1,000 or more About $860

    Gold Supporter.

    * Associate Producer credit at the end of the film, and on the official website
    * A link to view a rough cut of the film before it is released
    * Membership to the NZARH
    * 2 tickets to the VIP guest screening in Auckland, New Zealand including meet & greet and featuring a performance by members of the Church of Music
    * A signed DVD / BLURAY HD copy of the film
    * A CD / mp3 download of greatest hits from The Church Of Music
    * A signed copy of 'The Purple Economy' by Max Wallace on which the film is based

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    Pledge NZ$ 5,000 or more About $4,299

    Platinum Supporter.

    * Executive Producer credit at the end of the film, and on the official website
    * A screening of the rough cut of the film before it is released
    * Creative input into the final cut of the film
    * Membership to the NZARH
    * 6 tickets to the VIP guest screening in Auckland, New Zealand including meet & greet and featuring a performance by members of the Church of Music
    * 10 x signed DVD / BLURAY HD copies of the film
    * 3 CDs / mp3 download of greatest hits from The Church Of Music
    * A signed copy of 'The Purple Economy' by Max Wallace on which the film is based

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    Limited 0 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)