More than 2,000 fans of the bestselling Christian memoir Blue Like Jazz have helped raise enough money to resuscitate the production of the book's film adaptation.
Fans of the book had raised the needed $125,000 within only 10 days, and collectively pledged $156,097 for the project by Tuesday afternoon – two weeks before the Oct. 25 deadline. With the first goal reached, supporters of Donald Miller's book now aim to surpass $200,641 by the campaign's closing date to hold the record as the largest project ever funded on Kickstarter.com, a site that allows fans to support artists.
"[W]e are beyond grateful for your contribution to save Blue Like Jazz, the movie," wrote Miller on his blog Monday. "This movie went from dead to front-page news overnight because of you."
After years of trying to get the book on the silver screen, Miller wrote on his blog on Sept. 16 that there would be no film-version of the New York Times bestseller due to lack of funding. But two fans of the book – Jonathan Frazier and Zach Prichard from Franklin, Tenn. – launched savebluelikejazz.com to raise the bare-minimum amount of $125,000 for the film to start production.
Blue Like Jazz, published in 2003, is a semi-autobiographical book in which Miller reflects on his growing understanding of God, Jesus and his Christian faith. His authentic struggles and insightful yet relatable revelations have appealed to younger Christians in their 20s and 30s.
For the film adaptation, producers tapped Marshall Allman of HBO's "True Blood" as the lead actor. And it was decided that shooting for the film would mostly take place in Tennessee, where director Steve Taylor lives. Some scenes will be filmed in Portland, Ore., where Miller lives and where most of the story takes place.
Though even a $200,000 budget for a movie would be small by Hollywood's standards, church-produced flick "Facing the Giants" notably grossed over $10 million with just a $100,000 production budget.
On the other hand, faith-based movie "Letters to God" had a $3 million budget but only grossed $2.8 million, proving the point that money isn't everything.
Despite whatever uncertainty, producers of the upcoming film are investing all they can into the project with hope for success. To date, no one that has been involved since the beginning of the writing stages has been paid anything. And while over $150,000 has been pledged, it wasn't immediately clear how much has been received.
Still, with the pledges, producers plan to begin filming for the movie on Oct. 28 in Nashville. Shooting is expected to last about five weeks.
Miller further reports that about ten percent of the film's profit will be donated to a yet-to-be-determined nonprofit organization.