How Optimist Raised $2M In Two Days For Cryptocurrency Documentary ‘Ethereum: The Infinite Garden’

Optimist, filmmakers behind the GameStop project now working-titled The Meme Economy, is illuminating another trending corner of the financial ecosystem with Ethereum: The Infinite Garden, a doc it just fully and speedily financed by donations of said cryptocurrency.

Optimist raised just under $2 million worth of Ethereum in just over 48 hours last week by crowdfunding on the platform Mirror. Some donors received producer credits and NFTs created by digital artist pplpleaser. All donors of at least one ETH (worth about $1,800 today) got a non-fungible token titled “Bloom.” The top 20 were sent an animated version of the film’s poster.

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Cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile and Optimist’s principals told Deadline they pretty quickly converted the ETHs to dollars to lock in the funding.

NFTs are unique digital assets. They can help raise revenue and the nascent industry is starting to take hold in the arts, entertainment and sport

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The film is in early preproduction. It follows Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, head of The Ethereum Foundation, Aya Miyaguchi and a vibrant community of developers, entrepreneurs, artists and crypto enthusiasts to chart the future of the Ethereum blockchain as it experiences unprecedented growth. In particular, it looks at what’s being called a cryto “purge” as Ethereum attempts to become more energy efficient and accessible.

The film is directed by Zach Ingrasci and Chris Temple. Carrie Weprin is the lead producer. Jenna Kelly is also producing with Linda Xie a co-producer.

Optimist is aiming for the film to have a festival premiere in winter of 2023, Temple said from LA. Ingrasci also weighed in from Paris where is shooting at the fourth edition of EthCC, a big European Ethereum conference.

Temple and Ingrasci, not surprisingly, studied economics at college and before founding Optimist both worked in microfinance, a field that helps individuals and small businesses lacking access to conventional financial services.

They met Buterin through work on The Meme Economy. That film, with XTR, was announced in February after the Reddit-fueled meme-stock-trading phenomenon upended financial markets the month before. It should be ready for festival play early next year.

Funding for Ethereum: The Infinite Garden opened at 11:30 am PT last Wednesday and closed at 3:00 pm PT Friday (so 51.5 hours).

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Temple acknowledged that getting Ethereum users and fans to back a movie basically about themselves may be an easier sell than other subjects, but he’s going to try to tap them again.

“We plan to test it with other films to see if this would be a way to help get indie filmmakers off the ground,” he said.

It’s worth a shot. It took four years to raise financing for Five Years North (Optimist’s coming-of-age story of an undocumented Guatemalan boy arriving alone in New York City), he noted. “This took two days.”

NFP below:

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