The Sapphic Investment Film Fund (SIFF), an ambitious collaboration between Lesflicks, Splinter Pictures, and Infinite Pies Productions, has officially launched. SIFF’s goal is to uplift and support queer female voices by helping facilitate the funding of lesbian-centric films and web series around the world.
SIFF aims to revolutionise the financing of queer female projects. Rather than content creators relying on self-financing, crowdfunding, or uncertain direct private investment to fund LGBT-themed projects, SIFF aims to connect these creators to individuals interested in investing in queer female visual arts projects to create successful, productive partnerships.
SIFF’s mission is to inform potential investors about upcoming projects and connect creators with financial backers, with the ultimate goal of not only increasing the amount of content produced but also the amount of funding entering this space. The goal is to increase the amount of investment available for sapphic stories to the $250,000 — $2 million budget range for film and the $20,000 — $100,000 budget range for web series.
The fund’s first investment project is underway: “Love Me Lex” is an eight episode web series from Perth, Australia. It is written and directed by Sanja Katich and produced by Stephanie Davis.
Right now, SIFF is registering members to start its investor community. General access is free and gets members on to their mailing list, where they’ll find out about upcoming projects. Early 2022 will see the launch of a second investment project, when people will be invited to sign up based on their desired investment level if this is a project they want to support.
The current funding model for sapphic content is insufficient to meet the demands of the LGBT community. It is too reliant on crowdfunding or small-scale investors to create sustainable content at anything but the shoestring level. SIFF believes that part of this problem is a historic inability of sapphic content creators to reach out to potential investors outside of the entertainment industry. The “pink pound” is therefore only partially harnessed, after distribution.
SIFF believes there are individuals outside the entertainment industry who would be interested in investing in sapphic content and businesses if only they knew how to do it in a way that would be time efficient and potentially confidential. SIFF understands the difficulties faced by both creators and investors and wants to help resolve some of them.
Web series and film case studies prove the financial viability of investment
Contrary to the age-old entertainment industry mantra that diversity doesn’t sell, we know it can and has. Here are just a few examples of successful projects that more than exceeded expectations:
- Theatrical release: The Oscar-winning “Monster,” made for a relatively paltry $4.5 million, raked in $60.3 million. “The Kids are All Right,” another Oscar winner, brought in $34.7 million from its budget of $4 million.
- Mainstream TV: The BBC’s “Gentleman Jack” averaged 6.8 million viewers across its eight-episode run, making it the BBC’s top new drama for 2019. Two years later, “Vigil” smashed viewership records in 2021 with an audience of 10.2 million viewers.
- Web series: The American web series “Anyone But Me” has received over 60 million views on YouTube, as has the Indian web series “The Other Love Story.” Poland’s “Kontrola” has received over 43 million. With an average YouTube advertiser pay rate of $2 per 1,000 views, a web series with 50 million views could make $100,000. The same number of views on LesFlicks would make $25 million.
Diverse content is in demand
Production has shifted dramatically with the pandemic, not only in terms of physical production but also in terms of crew and budget size. The only constant is — and always will be — the mantra “Content is King.” Now that streaming platforms are taking over from traditional broadcast and subscription television, however, there’s a higher than ever demand for films and series that are diverse and inclusive. SIFF plays into this new move toward diversity by empowering queer female talents in front of and behind the camera, giving them the financial support to create sapphic stories with the type of high production values that can appeal to streaming platforms and global audiences.
Find out more about the Sapphic Investment Fund.
Read our review of the lesbian-themed Christmas film The Higher Spirit.