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Cassian Elwes’ Movie Collective Hits Target, Anjelica Huston Film ‘Utopia Road’ Financed (EXCLUSIVE)

Movie Collective, the crowdfunding venture launched by producer Cassian Elwes and filmmaker Marcus Markou, has hit its first investment target, clearing the way for Anjelica Huston picture “Utopia Road” to enter production.

The new venture set out to raise an initial £500,000 ($666,590) and hit that target this week ahead of the June 20 deadline. The first-round investors, 458 in all, hold 15.17% in Elwes and Markou’s Movie Collective. The company said they will get dividends and a share in profits. The founders do not get a dividend until the investors have recouped half of what they put in.

Backers buy into the Movie Collective slate rather than specific projects, which is the usual crowdfunding model for indie projects. The company’s stated aim is to “get indie films financed in a landscape dominated by big-budget studio fare.”

“Utopia Road” is the first Movie Collective picture out of the gate. Huston (“The Addams Family”) stars alongside Garrett Hedlund (“Mudbound”), and Rebecca Hall (“Iron Man 3”). The film follows an aging televangelist and was written by Karolina Waclawiak (“AWOL”). It will be visual artist Rosson Crow’s directorial debut. Shooting starts this summer.

The second project on Movie Collective’s Slate is “Crazy Blue,” about an American former boy-band member. Casting is underway.

“Our investors are intelligent movie fans that believe in intelligent, character-led stories,” said Elwes, who has been involved in hundreds of independent films including “Mudbound” and “Dallas Buyers Club.” “It’s an endorsement for Movie Collective and crowdfunding but also for independent film as a whole.”

“The idea of recycling investment capital through a slate of movies is radical because it does not provide an immediate financial return that would normally come with a traditional movie investment,” added Markou, who wrote, directed and produced British indie movie “Papadopoulos & Sons,” self-distributing the film, which has since been acquired by Netflix, the BBC and ARTE.  “We want to build a long-term, sustainable business and this has resonated with the crowd.”

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