Zach Braff raised over $1.5 million on Kickstarter in one day to fund his new movie, Wish I Was Here. As of this afternoon, the film has over 21,700 backers and is less than $500,000 away from reaching its $2 million goal; it will serve as the follow-up to his 2004 directorial debut, Garden State.
In a note on the Kickstarter page, Braff explained that he had been close to signing a standard financing deal to make the movie but decided against it, as he believed it would have forced him to make sacrifices that would hurt the film. By funding the film on Kickstarter, he said, he would retain control over everything from location and casting choices to the the film's final cut.
Braff cited the recent success of Rob Thomas' Kickstarter campaign to fund a Veronica Mars movie – which raised a record-breaking $1 million in just four hours and 24 minutes – as inspiration for his own project. "I couldn’t help but think (like I'm sure so many other independent filmmakers did) maybe there is a new way to finance smaller, personal films that didn’t involve signing away all your artistic control," Braff wrote.
Wish I Was Here is co-written by Braff and his brother Adam; it tells the story of a struggling actor named Aidan Bloom (Braff) stuck in financial and existential crises as his relationship with his wife begins to falter. When his sick father can no longer afford to pay for his kids' private school, Bloom decides to home-school them, forgoing the traditional academic route and learning more about his life in the process.
Braff spoke specifically about the film's music, noting the incredible, Grammy-winning success of the Garden State soundtrack. "One of the cool things about being a backer is that you can get access to weekly song picks by me and be the first group to stream the soundtrack," he wrote.