Featured Filmmaker: Timon Birkhofer, Director of CAPITAL C

Timon Birkhofer - Director of Capital C

Timon Birkhofer – Director of Capital C

We all know that there is strength in numbers, but in recent years, nothing has proven it more than the power of crowdfunding. The movement that has blossomed as new crowdsourcing tools have come online, putting the achievement of dreams in much closer proximity to the dreamers, and the fundraising power in the hands of the many, rather than the few.

Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Crowdfunder have been life-changing for tens of thousands of artists, musicians, filmmakers, techies, inventors and passionate first-time and serial entrepreneurs over the last decade.

CAPITAL C is the first feature length documentary dedicated to the crowd funding (r)evolution, and it screens TONIGHT at 8pm at the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center!

We took a moment to get to know the film’s director, Timon Birkhofer, in this next installment of our Featured Filmmakers blog series. Enjoy!

 1. How did your film come to be? How did you get involved in making it? Where and when did you start?

Back in 2011, a friend of mine sent me a link to a crowdfunding project. At that time, crowdfunding was still in its infancy and Kickstarter and other platforms not as present as they are right now. My best friend Jørg Kundinger and I, who had been working in the advertising space back in Germany for a decade together, literally pulled an all-nighter because we were so fascinated by the possibilities of crowdfunding.

After months of preparation, over a sleepless weekend in February 2012, we filmed our pitch video and uploaded it to Kickstarter. Fifty-eight long days and nights later, we had raised $84,298 and were able to start filming CAPITAL C  –  the first documentary about the crowdfunding revolution. 

2. What was the most challenging thing about making this film? About filmmaking in general? 

One of the most challenging aspects about making this film was time. How much time can you dedicate to making a movie that is really close to your heart while at the same time still being able to pay your bills? That is probably one of the biggest challenges of independent filmmaking in general: getting the resources to do it. Of course, you don’t have to spend as much money as 10-20 years ago on making it, but it is still a 24/7 challenge.

Making CAPITAL C took us a bit longer than we expected, one other factor being the fact that we basically made the film in a team of just two friends. 

3. What type of experience or message do you hope the film will bring to viewers?

We hope to inspire people who watch CAPITAL C. By portraying the personal stories of Zach, Brian, and Jackson, we hope that others look at them and say, “hey, I can do it too!“. All of us, including you who is reading this blog post right now, have ideas, big and small. It has never been a better time to turn your idea into reality, and we believe that crowdfunding is an important contributor to this. Don’t you think it is finally time to create the prototype of that thing-a-ma-gig collecting dust in the back left corner of the garage that Uncle Larry always makes fun of during family reunions? Crowdfunding is certainly not easy, but it is such a great experience.

And for all others who don’t feel comfortable working on an idea themselves (yet), we hope that you get inspired to support others that do. There are only a few other things that I can think of that feel better than receiving this beautifully handcrafted keychain from Steve from Ohio with whom you went through all highs and lows of creating it. With crowdfunding, you can become part of someone else’s creative process.

4. How do film festivals play a role in the release and promotion of a film? What do you most look forward to about film festivals?

Festivals are awesome. As a filmmaker you not only get unfiltered feedback (good and not so good) from your audience after a screening, but you also get the chance to experience how your audience feels while watching it, for example by facial expressions. I would lie if I said that our film came to the point where it is right now without festival audiences.

Of course, getting selected by festivals also validates your film for potential distributors as there can be tens of thousands of entries to only very limited spots at a festival.

Personally, the one thing that we look forward to the most is getting to know our viewers. Connecting with a festival audience is one of the very few opportunities to get to know your viewers on a personal level. This is, in most cases of any distribution channel, such as theatrical distribution, DVD & Blu-ray, as well as streaming, simply not possible.

5. Describe your connection to Maui if you’ve got one?  If you’ve never been to Maui, what are you most looking forward to about your trip to the festival?

Visiting the festival will actually be my very first trip to Maui, and even Hawaii! All of my friends who have been there before describe it as magical, or even a spiritual experience. I am very much looking forward to get introduced to the beauty of the island. Aloha!


The Featured Filmmaker series is coordinated and written by the Maui Film Festival’s Filmmaker Liaison and Social Media Director Sara Tekula. Click here to see all of the Featured FIlmmaker posts and be sure follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to get live updates from the festival.