It is no secret that Black filmmakers have faced numerous challenges financing various film projects. Most notably has been film director and producer Spike Lee who had to enlist financial backing from various Black actors to finish production on his acclaimed film, Malcolm X. Lack of financial backing for Black directors and producers is a significant issue of concern. The film industry has long been criticized for its lack of diversity and underrepresentation of accurate and positive depictions of Black people, the Black culture, and Blackness overall.
However, Black Filmmaker, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Sixx Degrees Media – Sixx King is determined to not allow a lack of financial support to stop him from making meaningful films. Sixx has teamed up with actor and film producer Sebastian Kahuna to get creative with currency in order to make quality films. Sixx and Sebastian spoke with Forbes about how they have used cryptocurrency to finance movies of diversity that Hollywood once ignored and why Black filmmakers may have not yet tapped into this funding source.
What was your inspiration to fund movies with cryptocurrency?
Sixx King: I had a clear vision that funding films with crypto would add a layer of tangibility to them that could be understood by most. However, my chance meeting with actor Sebastian Kahuna is what made the idea come full circle and start the ball rolling on something new and innovative. It’s no secret that many Black and brown stories are not told in mainstream Hollywood due to a lack of financing. Consequently, most directors and writers must find creative ways to finance their projects.
Sebastian Kahuna: Initially, CEYRON Bank approached me to see if I had any projects in need of financing. However, I turned down the offer because the pandemic shuttered many of my productions. I then concentrated on finding ways for these productions to be filmed with adapted logistics – making it possible to film despite being in the COVID-19 climate.
MORE FOR YOU
Sixx King: Since my production was an independent project and I was working with child actors; time was not on my side. A delay of a year or two with child actors can disrupt the continuity of the character they’re playing because child actors can grow so quickly. Therefore, I contacted Sebastian to inquire about the opportunities in the Dominican Republic.
Sebastian Kahuna: Once I met Sixx and we found out that we had so much aligned, I contacted the bank, and we started negotiating and structuring ways for the two industries to work together. I knew Sixx had great stories and that working together would really be successful.
Which projects have you funded with cryptocurrency?
Sixx King: The King of Kush starring Luis Guzman, Alimi Ballard, Malik Whitefield, and Isiah Pearson is my first film financed with crypto. I have four more in production.
Why do you think cryptocurrency is not commonly used to fund projects in the entertainment industry among Black filmmakers?
Sixx King: Crypto on it’s own can be challenging for some because it’s new. Sadly, by the time the information and education become available about various funding sources among members of the Black community, we are too late and miss our opportunity.
Sebastian Kahuna: It’s many crypto options however we went with the Ruby because their utilities aligned with what we envisioned and it was a clear understanding of how these stories would be told by the film maker and not Hollywood’s playbook on stereotypes that have been their model for years.
Is there a lack of knowledge about cryptocurrency in the Black community and how can better education help address this issue?
Sixx King: I think there’s a huge lack of financial literacy in the Black community overall. We are drowning in information but starving for knowledge. So it’s always a wait and see aspect. However, technology moves fast and by the time Black people learn about ways to advance financial, we are often too late. However, the most intriguing aspect of this new venture is that films are living, breathing, tangible art pieces. I think most people who are new to Crypto have reservations.
But education is key and I think Black people have a unique way of getting the information to one another. Everyone understands film and its longevity. So, when a digital currency like INU is backing projects, I think it gives digital currency the weight of nostalgic currency for new people but especially Black film makers who struggle to get our stories to the big screen. I have four projects in production and without this new way of financing it would be next to impossible to make it happen on the level they deserve.
Sebastian Kahuna: I agree. Education is key and as a rule of thumb, we stuck with currencies that have a purpose, an objective, and/or concrete projects attached to them.