A Kickstarter fundraising to make a movie from “Bill, the Galactic Hero” by Harry Harrison

Bill, the Galactic Hero by Harry Harrison
Bill, the Galactic Hero by Harry Harrison

Alex Cox, director and screenwriter of films like “Repo Man” and “Sid and Nancy”, a few days ago launched a fundraising campaign with the crowd-funding system on Kickstarter to produce a movie based on the novel “Bill, the Galactic Hero” by Harry Harrison.

“Bill, the Galactic Hero” is a scathing anti-militarist satire and in particular a parody of “Starship Troopers” by Robert A. Heinlein. Alex Cox had optioned the novel back in the ’80s, but had never been able to find the money to produce a movie. Last year, Harry Harrison granted Cox permission to produce the movie with his students at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he teaches screenwriting and film production.

Harry Harrison passed away last year but Alex Cox went ahead with the project and decided to raise funds through the crowd-funding system, using the Kickstarter website. The success of the similar fundraising to produce a “Veronica Mars” movie shows that this system can work and the budget required to produce the movie “Bill, the Galactic Hero” is $100,000, very little by today’s standards.

The needed budget is so low, especially for a science fiction movie, because much of the work will be done by the production students of the University of Colorado and because the story, while being in part a space opera, doesn’t require large sets or special effects. It will have very “retro” flavor, so much that it will be shot in black and white.

If the budget is reached, the production of the film should be completed within the year. It will be mostly composed of live action but some parts will use models and some special effect while others will be created as cartoons. The post-production period will surely be long so the final version should be finished by the end of 2014.

As always in this type of fundraising, there are various categories of pledges that give the right to get something in return that depends on how much money was offered. The categories related to higher pledges are limited because they give the right to something really special in this case also to be recognized as part of the movie production.

At this time the fundraising for “Bill, the Galactic Hero” reached a little more than half of the $100,000 needed to produce the movie but there are still several places available among the higher pledges. The fundraising will end on April 21, 2013 so it has a good chance to succeed. I hope so because I’m really curious to see this movie that should be unique.

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