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Spitfire Pictures partners with Tongal to crowd-source documentary

Spitfire Pictures, the documentary film production arm of Exclusive Media, is teaming up with the Southern California start-up Tongal to crowd-source a new movie.

Tongal is best known for linking its community of film directors and writers with brands such as McDonald's and Pringles to make commercials.

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Through its partnership with Spitfire -- the company behind the football film "Undefeated" and the Martin Scorsese-directed Bob Dylan documentary "No Direction Home" -- Tongal is entering the full-length film space.

“We always knew that we had people from all over the world and that documentary would be a good way to pull good stories from anyone and anywhere," said James De Julio, Tongal's co-founder and chief product officer. "It was a natural next step.”

Tongal will ask its users for brief idea pitches, from which Spitfire will select the top five. Then filmmakers will submit full pitches based on one of the five winning ideas, eight of which will get $2,500 to make a sizzle reel.

The top two will get a $35,000 budget to make a director's cut, and then at least one of them will get an additional $15,000 to complete the movie. The total prize pool is $110,000.

After they pick the winner, Spitfire will handle distribution and marketing.

Nigel Sinclair, Exclusive Media's co-chairman and chief executive, said using Tongal's network of filmmakers will enable his company to tap into a pool of fresh talent and ideas that are budding on the Web. 

"Filmmaking is no longer elite. It's now a populist activity," Sinclair said. "What Tongal is doing is creating a way to find these new filmmakers and bring them across."

Tongal raised $15 million in funding earlier this year and has also branched out into making music videos.

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