Niels Juul hopes to raise up to $10m and says he wants to ‘democratise’ antiquated funding system
The executive producer behind blockbusters including Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman is to make Hollywood’s first feature film funded entirely by non-fungible tokens (NFTs), with a promise that those who invest will get a share of any profits and meet the stars of the production.
Niels Juul, who has set up the production company NFT Studios to fund a series of films, hopes to raise between $8m and $10m (£6m and £7.5m) through the sale of 10,000 NFTs to the public and institutional investors.
NFTs are a digital certificate proving that you own something, in this case part of a film. They have become a hot new financial trend lauded by some as a gold rush and regarded by others as the latest bubble, with a risk investors could be left out of pocket.
Juul said the aim was to develop a new funding model for films to circumvent an antiquated Hollywood system under which smaller productions take up to eight years to reach movie or TV screens.
“As a producer my biggest frustration is from the finance side, it is an ordeal,” he said. “The studios are mainly doing big franchise films, an independent film can take years and years. It’s hard getting investors for films and productions, especially at development stage, with the Hollywood system. We want to democratise it.”
The film is ready to go, complete with a big name star and director attached, but Juul would not reveal their identities until an official announcement planned before the Berlin film festival in February. Shooting is expected to begin by April in Malta and London and a transatlantic premiere is planned for September.
The film, A Wing and a Prayer, tells the true story of the Briton Brian Milton, who retraced Phileas Fogg’s round-the-world trip in a microlight after taking up a bet at the Reform Club, where Jules Verne’s fictional character was also a member.
Juul has struck a deal with NFT Investments, a London-listed vehicle that funds opportunities in the market and which has paid $1m to take a 20% share in his production company to get the fundraising started.
Investors have been told they will get a cut of any box-office profits and licensing rights, plus a chance to visit filming locations, meet the actors and attend the premiere.
The digital artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, made history in March when he sold an NFT for $69.4m. Big names to join the NFT trading bandwagon include Paris Hilton, Damien Hirst and even the London Royal Ballet dancer Natalia Osipova.
Others are more wary. The Rabobank financial analyst Michael Every said earlier this year that he was gobsmacked by the “bubblicious stupidity” of the market.