PARK CITY, Utah -- One of the more divisive movies at the Sundance Film Festival has been Zach Braff’s “Wish I Was Here,” the actor-filmmaker’s follow-up to “Garden State” that, with a major assist from Kickstarter, has him exploring death, ambition and family from the perspective of a thirtysomething dad.
Audiences loved the movie while many critics were lukewarm. And 47,000 fans donated to its campaign even as some criticized a Hollywood celebrity for using a crowdfunding site. (The larger public will have a chance to judge for itself when Focus, which acquired the movie here, releases it, probably later this year.)
In a video exclusive with the Los Angeles Times, Braff says that he understands the backlash to the Kickstarter aspects. But he cautions that the appeal of his film stands apart from the value of crowdfunding as a source of financing for vision-driven projects.
"Kickstarter gives a lot of people who don’t necessarily like my work a chance to take digs at me. And that’s fine -- I can handle that,” he said. But “don’t cloud your view of the debate with whether you like me or not, because that’s ludicrous.”
He added, “I think the film will be judged on its own. I don’t think how it was funded should come into whether you like it or not.”
Braff also said that he was at first surprised the process had gone as smoothly as it did — until it didn’t.
“When it funded in 48 hours, it was almost like you’re expecting a wave to come because it was too good to be true,” he said. He thought "’Where’s the backlash? ‘Oh there it is. Someone’s going to have to be upset about this because it funded in 48 hours.’”
Braff said that he tried not to take the criticisms too personally and simply concentrated on making the movie.
“I’ve been humbled before,” he said. “I went to high school.”
You can watch the full 12-minute chat with Braff above.
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