Darren Wilson’s Kickstarter Campaign for New Film “Holy Ghost” Earns $77K Overnight
(Elgin, IL – April 24, 2013) This week Filmmaker Darren Wilson, Judson University’s Artist in Residence and 1998 alumnus, known for building his cinematic reputation on filming the miraculous, experienced his own miracle when he launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his new film, “Holy Ghost.”
Wilson and his production company, Wanderlust Productions, announced the film on Thursday, April 18 along with a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for its production. Within 24 hours of the announcement, the Kickstarter campaign received over $77,000 of their $200,000 goal. Within 48 hours, they had reached $100,000. Five days later, the campaign has reached over $125,000 with 832 backers.
"After we announced the film and launched the Kickstarter campaign we couldn't get anything done in the office that day, because we were glued to our Kickstarter webpage," says Brittney Banks, a 2008 Judson alumna and Wanderlust's studio manager. "Every time we refreshed the page, the campaign had earned a few thousand more dollars towards our goal. We were blown away by the support."
What makes the unexpected response from Wanderlust supporters all the more miraculous was the minimal marketing effort it took to spread the word. Wilson and his team shared the link to the Kickstarter campaign on social media and emailed their subscribers, and that was all it took to grab the attention of thousands and raise 40 percent of their goal within the first day.
This isn’t Wanderlust’s first miraculous success with Kickstarter funding, though. In spring 2012, the company planned a tour for Wilson’s latest film, “Father of Lights” with a goal of $15,000. Within less than 24 hours of opening the campaign, their goal had been reached. By April 30 when the campaign closed, they had raised $95,733. The company was able to expand the tour, going to more than 40 different cities in just three months’ time.
Wilson began pursuing a career in filmmaking in 2005, and produced his first documentary "Finger of God," in 2007, followed by its sequel, "Furious Love" in 2010. “Father of Lights” completed this “God Adventure” trilogy in 2012.
Much like his preview films, "Holy Ghost" will be an exploration of God's nature in the present day.
"'Holy Ghost' is film that will capture the power, mystery, and character of the Holy Spirit through amazing God encounters around the world," Wilson says in his Kickstarter video trailer.
In "Holy Ghost," Wilson and his team will travel around the world in search of the nature, evidence and role of the Holy Spirit in the arts, ministry, and the Christian life. Yet "Holy Ghost" is taking the concept of filming God in a new creative direction by offering significant audience participation.
"Our films have always struck a chord with people, but what makes this one exciting (and, honestly, terrifying),” Wilson explained in an interview with Charisma Magazine, “is that the whole process of making the film will be played out, live, to everyone who chooses to be a part of this journey.”
Like all Kickstarter campaigns, Wanderlust has offered a tiered rewards system for it's donors, except that the higher dollar amounts earn far more than just a deluxe edition of the film on DVD. Backers of the campaign will have access to the filmmaking process, helping Wilson determine what questions he asks in the film and what content he includes. They will even have a chance to join the film crew in different locations worldwide as they capture footage. The campaign's success may be due, in part, to this increased level of involvement for the fan base of a production company that has built its reputation on miraculous encounters with God captured on film.
To learn more about Darren Wilson's "Holy Ghost" film and his Kickstarter campaign, go to www.kickstarter.com/projects/wpfilm/holy-ghost-experience.
Wilson earned his Bachelor of Arts from Judson in 1998 with a major in English and minor in Biblical Studies. For more than 12 years he taught media and writing at Judson in the same department from which he graduated. Currently, Wilson is Judson’s Artist in Residence, and leads a unique co-op program that provides students with hands-on film-making experiences through his studio, Wanderlust Productions, which is housed on Judson's Elgin campus. Students interested in working with Wilson and Wanderlust can go to JudsonU.edu/Wanderlust.