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A film about life with ME, the world's most prevalent orphan disease.
A film about life with ME, the world's most prevalent orphan disease.
2,593 backers pledged $212,962 to help bring this project to life.

Our big push to the finish line

Posted by Jennifer Brea (Creator)

Daily we are moved by the support and embrace of this film, by all the messages, words of support and the stories you’ve shared.

Thanks to that support, we’ve raised a tremendous fraction of our budget through the power of the crowd, far more than we ever imagined. At $159,417, and with one week left, we are in striking distance of our goal!

We just wanted to answer some questions about our budget. Even when we were aiming for our first $50,000, some wondered why we needed even that much to make a feature-length film. Why are we now shooting for four times that goal?

Good questions, all.

So, we thought we’d share with you some examples of recent successful documentaries and what they cost to produce, as well as how the funds you have helped us raise will be used in support of this film.

$200,000 is a big number in our lives and in the world of Kickstarter. However, in the world of professional, feature-length documentaries, it is a realistic but modest budget.

Some sample budgets of documentary films that have played at top festivals and gone on to have theatrical, TV, and online releases:

  • Under Our Skin (Lyme disease documentary) - just under $1 million 
  • 5 Broken Cameras - $250,000 (Oscar nominee) - (shot using mostly home-video footage) 
  • The Invisible War - $850,000 (Oscar nominee) 
  • A Small Act - under $500,000 
  • The Gatekeepers - 1.5 million euros (Oscar nominee) 
  • Searching for Sugarman - $1 million (Oscar nominee) 
  • Inside Job - $2 million (Oscar nominee)

Is it possible to make an excellent film for much less? Of course. And that’s what we’re trying to do!

Here is what our film will cost:

Production: $120,000 This money covers upgrading to a better camera that can more beautifully capture images in near darkness, allowing us to film our most severely afflicted interview subjects who cannot tolerate light. As an added bonus, the film will also have an overall higher-quality look when shown on large formats (theaters!). It will cover the cost of travel and lodging so we can shoot on location in the US and several other countries, in addition to hiring professional sound recordists and camera assistants, shooting permits, insurance, and meals for the crew.

Post-Production: $80,000 This will cover hiring an editor, doing a final color correction, sound design and mix, music rights, and making a film print for festival screenings. Did you know that a single 35mm print, which many top festivals and some theaters still require, costs, at minimum, $30,000?

Why are you try to raise so much on Kickstarter?

The more we can raise now, the more energy we have to focus on craft, the faster we can finish the film, and the less energy we will need to spend on fundraising in the future. And as I'm sure you can appreciate, for Jen, the more energy saved, the better!

What happens if you raise more than your goal?

For starters, Kickstarter and Amazon payments will take about 7-10% of what we've raised, and fulfilling rewards does carry some costs.

The short answer is, within reason, more money will help us get to an even better film. It means being able to shoot for more days, get even better footage, or the power to work with even more talented and experienced folks.

What if you don’t raise everything on Kickstarter?

We have many applications out for grants. We will keep pounding the pavement. And one way, or another, we will get to where we’re going.

Got more questions? Ask away!

Thank you so much for your continued support of our bid to make M.E. visible, to help push history forward a little faster.

With gratitude,

Jen & Kiran


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    1. Missing avatar

      Danette Madonna on

      Thank you Jen and everyone else for bringing this misunderstood disease to light. I'm so frustrated & tired- no pun intended- of people not understanding what this is like to live with on a daily basis, how difficult it is to not be able to take care of my husband & 2 daughters like I need to ( some days I don't even know how we get thru ) It's hard enough living with this disease, but then to have only a FEW people truly see & understand what u go thru is devastating almost as much as the disease itself!!!!! I've had so many people tell me that I'm depressed, lazy, just don't want to work, it's in my head- u just need to push yourself more- I just felt like screaming from the mountains- people it's a freaking DISEASE!!! So thank you from the bottom of my heart, I'm so proud of you for having the energy & drive to make this happen. I'm a fighter as well & if you need anything I'm here for you and everyone else suffering from M.E Take care of yourself. Get some rest and downtime with your hubby! XOXO

    2. Anne LiConti on

      Thankyou for the update Jen. You are a Godsend to all of us. I think you are doing a great job and I think this can done with your proposed budget. Nothing is impossible!
      Years ago we didnt have all of this social media, etc.. to do something like this. Even though we chatted in the chatroom, we didnt have this large of an audience. Thankyou so much for doing what you are doing and God bless you and your husband! :)

    3. Ginny Martin Fleming on

      Thanks for the update. With some knowledge of similar ventures, I think this is a doable project and applaud you for whatever you can do to see it through to completion within the budget and timeframe. There are always more and more things you can add, hone, edit, show, but, in my opinion, getting the film out in a timely fashion using the resources you have to work with will be important. Use those of us who can offer assistance and our resources! Let us know what you need along the way! :) Thanks for your efforts - do take care of yourselves!

    4. Patricia Carter on

      Thank you for posting this update. I don't know much about the film industry. All I see are the news reports and they are always about how many millions were spent on the movie. I am surprised that you are going to be able to make this film for $250,000. I would have thought it would take more money--but I'm happy that you are! You must really know how to manage the financial aspects of this. I am grateful to you for making this film and making the truth about M.E. public.

    5. Missing avatar

      Jen Cashin on

      great effort, keep going

    6. Eddy Keuninckx on

      I like transparancy... <3

    7. Missing avatar

      deborah Hoffmann on

      As a long time documentary filmmaker I can assure everyone this is an extremely modest budget.