Director slow to reward backers

By Amelia Wade

Taika Waititi even offered to throw in dinner with his aunt in return for cash to help promote his movie Boy in the US. Photo / Martin Sykes
Taika Waititi even offered to throw in dinner with his aunt in return for cash to help promote his movie Boy in the US. Photo / Martin Sykes

Film-maker Taika Waititi has promised the people who gave him money so he could promote the movie Boy in America that their rewards are on the way - if a little late.

In February, Waititi launched a campaign on Facebook to raise $90,000 so he could release the country's most successful movie in the United States.

Fans were asked to donate anything from $1 to $10,000-plus, in return for prizes ranging from a digital Boy poster to a day tour of Waihau Bay, East Cape - where the movie was set - with some of the cast and crew.

Waititi said he would even throw in dinner with his aunt for some big spenders.

The director's Kickstarter campaign won 1826 backers who donated more than $110,796. He reached his financial target at the start of March.

But some of the backers have become frustrated about Waititi's failure to deliver the rewards.

One person who wrote to the Herald said it was "shameful".

"Taika made a lot of money out of these people and promised the 'rewards' in March ... So far it hasn't happened and the backers are getting angry."

The writer said Waititi seemed to ignore the pleas for the rewards on the Kickstarter website. Numerous people had commented on the page that they were still waiting and wanted to know what was going on.

"The backers are waiting for a return on their donations to the US movie release campaign.

"He seems to have run out of excuses so is now ignoring the problem," the person said in an email.

Yesterday, Waititi said it was terrible to keep people waiting, but because of over-commitment to work, a new family and moving back to New Zealand, he had been delayed in putting the reward packages together.

In June, he and his wife, Chelsea Winstanley, had a daughter, Te Hinekaahu. They were based in Los Angeles at the time.

"The rewards are still coming," he said. "We recently released the short film downloads and the rest of the things are rolling out in the next couple of weeks.

"The US company who set up the Kickstarter campaign left me to pull everything together alone, so organising rewards for hundreds of people, including 80 drawings, has been a little difficult."

Waititi said it wasn't unheard of for such things to take a while - he supported another film's distribution in November last year and didn't hear back for six months.

"So I understand and do feel bad about the time people have had to wait. Everyone has been very patient and understanding and I'm grateful for that."

Boy smashed NZ box-office records when it was released in 2010 and raked in more than $9.3 million.

- NZ Herald

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