The Bloodiest Swiss Film Ever Created: Dir. Johannes Hartman ‘Mad Heidi’

[Editor’s Note: This interview was supplied to us by the Mad Heidi filmmakers themselves. Although it covers a lot of the massive fanbase crowdsourcing and how it will eventually get in front of horror movies fans, we were impressed with the teaser and thought you all would love a sneak peek.]

Exploding heads, soldiers split into two pieces and Fondue-Boarding makes Mad Heidi a Gore Galore. The first Swiss movie to reach 1 Million in crowdfunding is due to be shot this Fall. We had a chat with producer and director Johannes Hartman on what makes Mad Heidi so special

You managed to gather more than 1 Million in fundings from fan investors all over the world. Only a handful of film projects have ever managed that.  What’s your secret?

A shitload of work, a giant pair of balls, and a massive fan base. This is pioneer work! The level of fan engagement, crowd investment using the blockchain and our worldwide approach make Mad Heidi such a groundbreaking project. The whole distribution of the revenue is automated and secured in a smart contract. So every investor not only gets their money in real-time, but they can also be sure nobody pampers with their share. The days of Hollywood accounting are gone. But of course, we have to overcome a lot of obstacles. Like for example U.S. laws that currently forbid our U.S. fans to become investors. That’s a major blow of course, given the fact that exploitation movies are really big in the U.S. Yet I am convinced that crowd investment is the future of filmmaking.

Why would you think so?

Because it offers independence from financiers and distributors and gives power to the filmmakers and the fans. Filmmakers hardly ever make any money with the distribution of their films because the revenue is sucked up by all the exhibitors, distributors and sales agents. That’s a shame. We are here to flush the system off these greedy middlemen.

Director Johannes Hartman, “Mad Heidi”

And how are you planning to do that?

We will release the film worldwide on the same day on our own platform. Today, people are used to watching films on the internet. You don’t need a sales company or a distributor, We do it ourselves.

Sounds simple, but how will people find your platform?

That’s where our global fanbase steps into action. Already now, where we have nothing but a little teaser, we have over 40’000 fans worldwide, ready to shout out the news and can therefore act like a big-ass megaphone and increase our reach. They share a trailer on twitter, speak about the movie with their friends and bring people to to watch the film. As soon as the movie’s out, we expect the fan base to grow significantly and generate even more traffic.

Some 40,000 fans should replace a multi-billion industry to spread the word about Mad Heidi, that’s ridiculous!

It may sound so, but it isn’t. If we can spread the word, we simply don’t need distributors nowadays. The distribution system in the industry is a relic from the 20th century. I honestly think in five to ten years there will be almost no distributors left. They are simply not needed anymore. My executive producer Tero Kaukomaa was a pioneer when it comes to crowdfunding, what they did with Iron Sky at the time was amazing. But they were still stuck with the old system and eventually got killed by piracy. It’s a slow and costly system. If you have a global fanbase you must release the movie globally the same day. We can do this nowadays.

And how will you build up the fanbase?

Once more, we have to be innovative. We want to create something like a Mad Heidi Media Force. During the film shoot the coming fall we want to invite a selection of journalists, bloggers, Youtubers and influencers from around the world. Media Force will offer exclusive sneak peeks behind the scenes and create content in different languages and formats. This will be really cool and hopefully grow the fanbase tenfold. This is a call to action actually: If you’re a journalist, blogger, youtuber whatsoever and love our teaser we have a kick-ass adventure waiting for you. Don’t miss out and get in touch today.

You mentioned the fans. What’s it like working with fans?

It’s enriching really. We have the brainpower of 40,000 people, willing to get involved. Finding the right ways to harvest this brainpower is quite a challenge, though. Take the Task Force for example, where we wanted to involve fans more in the production. Because we didn’t use the right platform, only a handful of fans joined the Task Force and we buried the project. A couple of weeks later we launched a Discord channel with the same idea in mind and it’s flourishing now. Sometimes it’s tiny details that can decide whether something works or not.

Why the hassle then?

Because a solid active fanbase is a core part of our concept. Usually, filmmaking is like working in an ivory tower. You only get feedback for your film once it’s out. Building a fan base before the release of the film will help us create a movie which already has an audience.

What are the areas fans are involved in?

All sorts of things. Investors bring in ideas for cast, locations and media. We even had a fan meeting where we discussed the script with some fans. Some ideas are great, others don’t fit and some are just not good enough. Again, that’s one of the ways we want fans to participate in the making of the film. It’s actually really inspiring and cool.

So basically the fans decide what’s in the movie?

No, obviously we are still the filmmakers. We keep authority over the film and have the final word.

Can fans take over roles in the film?

Dead on! Depending on their investment, fans can get their name in the movie credits or become an extra. A very popular privilege is a wanted poster, which will appear in the movie with a mugshot from the investor. However, you can also get killed on screen or appear as an angry farmer.

What are the next steps you’re working on?

We are currently starting to build up the visual concepts for the film. There’s going to be a lot of crazy stuff and I work with a concept artist, the production designer and the costume designer on the style. Also, we have started casting the main roles. The shooting is scheduled for September.

And when will fans be able to see the film?

Mad Heidi will be completed in Summer 2022 and released in Fall.

Follow Mad Heidi on Facebook HERE.