‘Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries’.
The crowdfunding campaign for the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries theatrical movie has topped $615,000, with nearly half pledged by US fans of the TV series and the novels by Kerry Greenwood.
The producers, Every Cloud Productions’ Fiona Eagger and Deb Cox, are delighted with the result, considering their original target was $250,000.
Budgeted at $8 million, Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears, an action adventure/murder mystery to be directed by Tony Tilse, will follow Essie Davis’ glamorous detective Phryne Fisher as she embarks on a global adventure to find missing treasure, solve numerous murders and break aviation records.
The Kickstarter campaign had raised nearly $616,000 from 6,125 backers this morning, with six days to go. The funds will be spent on more days shooting at international locations, visual effects, production design, costumes and an additional scene between Phryne and Nathan Page’s detective Jack Robinson.
“The success of the campaign has been incredible,” Cox told IF. “The thousands of personal stories that have been shared through the campaign’s community forums and message boards from people across the world have been so inspiring.
“As a writer I am also gratified by the interest the fans have shown in the scripting process. They’ve always been creatively supportive and curious about the whole process – not just the entertainment value of the show – and we’ve been issuing tiny fragments of the feature draft as additional secret rewards to those who’ve contributed.
“The feedback has been so valuable and that we absolutely trust their discretion not to leak these excerpts is testimony to the quality of our fan base and the relationship we have with them.”
Attesting to the popularity of the franchise in the US, where the three TV series screen on Netflix, PBS stations and Acorn TV, 49 per cent of the pledges came from that country. Australia accounted for 19 per cent with the balance from the rest of the world, primarily the UK, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, France, Sweden, the Netherlands and Italy.
The US response does not surprise Bianca McCarthy and Sarah Thompson, the president and secretary of the Adventuresses’ Club of the Americas, which organised the first Miss Fisher convention held in Las Vegas in May.
“It doesn’t really surprise me as the show spread rapidly across the US. There was already a fan base for Kerry Greenwood’s books. The US population size lends itself to the larger numbers, and we’ve seen firsthand the growth of fans from the variety of social media we are on to promote the convention,” McCarthy, the executive director of a theatre group in Portland, Oregon, tells IF.
Thompson, the lead content manager for an energy research and software company in Boulder, Colorado, said: “A year ago, I would have been shocked – the part of the fandom we frequented then was, by comparison, small. But after working on the con, I’m no longer amazed by how many fans there are here in the US. I’m just really happy that the US fan base is showing up to help out with the Kickstarter campaign in such numbers. We all need a hero like Phryne Fisher and I cannot wait to see her on the big screen.”
Cast members Anthony Sharpe (who played Cec) and Travis McMahon (Bert) attended the convention in Las Vegas, which featured panel presentations on such topics as costuming and make-up, feminism and sexuality, and the reading and writing of fan fiction.
Planning for the 2018 Miss Fisher convention in Portland has already begun.
The producers intend to shoot the feature scripted by Cox in Australia, London and either Morocco or Israel next May/June. They will apply for Screen Australia funding, use the Producer Offset for the qualifying Australian spend and are in negotiations with a domestic distributor and international sales agent.