Con Air director takes Salty path to a crowdfunding record

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Director Simon West made Tomb Raider, The Expendables 2 and Con Air, and has shuttled stars such as Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie and Sylvester Stallone to some of their biggest box-office successes. He’s a blockbuster film-maker, but his new film – Salty – couldn’t be more indie.

West has invited public investors, by using the equity crowdfunding platform Syndicate, to buy shares in Salty in order to fund production. The project has broken UK crowdfunding records, reaching £1.9m last month. This is the first time members of the public have been given the chance to buy shares in a film’s major returns, so now all eyes are on Salty – to see what West can deliver for his many investors.

Adapted from a novel of the same name by Mark Haskell Smith and reworked by West and comedy writer Toby Davies (of That Mitchell and Webb Look), Salty follows a reformed sex-addict musician who is persuaded to take a holiday in Thailand by his supermodel wife. It’s a comedy adventure film described by West as “Spinal Tap meets The Hangover”. The film is set to start filming later this year and predicted to attract an A-list cast.

Most of West’s investors are looking on this as a business venture, aware that they will not get any creative input. The producers’ box-office focus differentiates it from the more leftfield, niche film projects that have previously been publicly funded by fans. Here, investors will see a return on their money, as West explains.

“Syndicate is unique in that investors are in a different position than if they backed a film on Kickstarter. They become a real financial partner who will receive a share of the profits,” he says.

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