Collateral Data, an upcoming international thriller feature film, is set to bring Georgia’s tech ecosystem to the big screen.
It’s the first original screenplay from Jon Gosier, founder and CEO of the media finance startup FilmHedge, and is loosely adapted from his tech-focused memoir Code Switch. This will be Gosier’s directorial debut.
The film, locked in with a $15 million budget, will be filmed on one of the new SCAD LED XR stages, which uses extended reality (XR) to merge real and virtual worlds together.
“Normally, XR technology is used as a substitute for green screen, to create rich sci-fi or fantasy landscapes like on the Disney TV show, The Mandalorian,” Gosier told Hypepotamus. “For Collateral Data, we want to push the limits of what XR can do in a more subtle way. I intend to use the technology to fill in for shooting on-location in exotic places like the mountains of Japan, the plains of Kenya and the crowded streets of Egypt. The story is a sprawling international thriller and without SCAD, I don’t think I’d be able to do all that. The budget needed to fly our crew around the world like that would be astronomical!”
This will be the first feature film for the SCAD’s newest LED volume stage, something that Maken Payne, executive director of SCAD Partnership, calls “groundbreaking for movies.”
“With two LED volumes for virtual production and being the only university in the country with this cutting-edge technology, at this scale, we are creating history with this partnership. Not only will Collateral Data be the first feature film to be shot on SCAD’s newest LED volume stage, but with production taking place as early as March, it will likely be the first film production in a LED volume to be shot in collaboration with a university,” Payne added.
The story behind the story
Moving from the fintech world to the director’s seat is a unique opportunity for Gosier and FilmHedge, a finance platform that helps independent filmmakers fund projects.
“I realized that in building FilmHedge, I now understood all the ‘ingredients’ that go into successfully financing and producing a film. The process is also helping me to learn from a Producer’s perspective, to ensure we continue offering the best products and funding tools that we can,” Gosier told Hypepotamus. “So, while I get to be the creator for a change, I view Collateral Data as a case-study for the company. It’ll make FilmHedge more effective at financing any Producer, not just me.”
He added that the filmmaking process will “improve [FilmHedge’s] products and services. It allows me to see what it’s like from start to finish and where we might offer new tools to finance Producers. We’re ‘eating our own cooking’, if you will.”
FilmHedge is one of the financing partners, with the rest of the budget coming from equity, debt and distribution financiers.
Filming on one of the new LED stages on campus is a bit of a homecoming for Gosier, who studied sound design at SCAD.
Pre-production for the film began in October of 2022 with filming set to begin in June. Gosier said the tentative release date will be early 2024.
Through SCADpro, the university’s collaborative innovation studio that connects students and brands, the film will work with “close to 100 students, faculty and alumni,” according to Payne. That will mean the SCAD community will be involved with the film from pre-production through filming this summer.
“I look forward to working directly with the students and my fellow alum. They are the designers, thinkers and influencers of tomorrow,” added Gosier. He said students will be on set in Atlanta this summer and will get specific hands-on experience with practical effects, wardrobe, and CGI elements related to the production.
Getting to know Atlanta’s media innovation ecosystem
Georgia has been the top spot for film production for several years running, with upwards of 366 films created in the state in the year 2021 alone. The industry brought in $4 billion in direct economic impact, according to the state. Production in 2023 is set to exceed pre-pandemic levels.
Lots of that action is thanks to the state’s tax incentive program, which starts with a 20% base transferable tax credit.
Bringing extended reality stages to the state will only attract more film talent to the area, according to Gosier. “What that translates to is jobs and spending in-state. Some of our crew are based in other cities and are coming off shows like Westworld and Narcos. When they bring their talents here, they rent apartments, go to restaurants and sometimes buy second homes,” he said.
It has also meant growth opportunities for a number of film and entertainment-focused startups in the ecosystem. Alongside FilmHedge, startups like RoleCall (a streamlined casting app), LoCo+ (a city-centric streamlining platform), and PlayOn! Sports (media company for live high school sporting events) have been shifting the local MediaTech landscape as a whole.
FilmHedge has raised $104.2 million in total between seed funding and debt financing rounds, according to Crunchbase.