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Local filmmaker shares funding advice

A month after raising more than $20,000 to kick-start her feature film debut, Victoria Westcott is sharing the wealth.
Jennifer, left, and Victoria Westcott got a big boost for their independent film project Locked in a Garage Band when Victoria got an invitation to attend Elton John's party for the Academy Awards on Sunday night in Los Angeles.

A month after raising more than $20,000 to kick-start her feature film debut, Victoria Westcott is sharing the wealth.

The local producer who with her sister Jennifer, the film's writer-director, was able to "crowd-fund" $20,101 in the nick of time through the Kickstarter website, will conduct a workshop on the art of online film funding on Saturday.

The workshop sponsored by the CineVic Society of Independent Filmmakers will help emerging filmmakers learn the ropes about crowd-funding based on lessons learned by the Westcott sisters during their own campaign.

They had until March 4 to raise $20,000 for Locked in a Garage Band, their feature debut, using the grassroots online funding platform. If participants don't reach their goal by a predetermined deadline, no money changes hands.

It was down to the wire for the Wescotts on their final day, when 68 per cent of funds were raised, mostly during the last 10 hours using social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook.

"We started tweeting at 7: 30 a.m. and didn't stop until 9: 54 p.m. when the campaign ended," Victoria, 34, recalled. "It was an incredible party on Twitter. People from around the world were campaigning for us and in the end, we just made it. The support was absolutely overwhelming and fuelled us to keep going."

She said conducting the workshop that takes place from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at CineVic headquarters, 1039 Lee Ave. (suite 1931), is their way of "giving back" in appreciation for all the support they received.

"Although I'm not an expert on filmmaking I do know how to fundraise," said Victoria, who since age 16 has raised money to build an eco-trail project in Costa Rica, volunteered in Bangladesh and worked at an English school in Guatemala.

She said raising funds online is a technique that taught her valuable lessons she's happy to share with potential competitors.

"Everybody's project is different, just like every movie is different," she said. "Even though technically it's like competition, it's not really, because everyone succeeds by helping each other."

Victoria and her sister, a Praxis Screenwriting Award-winner and mother of three, decided to make their movie after Jennifer helped Victoria publish her e-book, Guide to Teaching in London.

The workshop has already attracted a good mix of "people who need money," she said, including producers of shorts, documentaries and web series.

Tickets are $25 or $20 for CineVic, MediaNet and Victoria Independent Film Professionals Association members.

To reserve call 2503891590 or visit

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