Russia is among the crypto pioneers once again, this time in film production. Kvadrat film studio is now shooting a movie, Empire V, based on a book of the same title by the iconic contemporary Russian writer, Victor Pelevin. The film is directed by Victor Ginzburg.
The people at Kvadrat (I visited them yesterday) made an innovative move: the film’s core budget is RUB 460mn ($6.75), of which the team has secured just under half from equity investors and the Russian Ministry of Culture. The plan is to raise the remaining RUB 235mn ($3.45mn) through a crowdfunding campaign, making best use of the buzz around the upcoming movie.
What is really new is that the investments will be tokenized. The Empire V producers have come a long way already, setting up a legal structure to issue a token called BABLOS. BABLOS is a strong reference to the movie and Pelevin’s book itself. This word of new mintage has multiple crosses, from “bablo”, which is Russian for dosh/lolly/dough, to the Babylonian confusion. Pelevin explains that BABLOS is a philosophical concept that combines all people’s passions and temptations, thus uncovering the true nature of money, and in Pelevin’s book it serves as vampires’ core nutrition.
The tokensale began this summer and more details are available at the project’s web site, which has a surprisingly well written and structured white paper. BABLOS investors are offered an easily understandable ERC20 token at ETH 0.02 per unit. WebMoney remittance service is in partnership with the project to assist with the funds transition nuances. Investors will be able to buy the tokens with their banking card, and WM is to provide this service.
According to the founders, the offering has already reached its soft cap of ETH 2,000 which is about $580K at current market price. The ultimate goal is a hard cap of $3.5mn. The tokensale allocation implies that the team, advisor and bounty supporter will receive a total 15% of the tokens while the remaining 85% will be sold to investors.
Empire V is expected to have box office of at least RUB 1bn (about $15mn) in Russia alone, and there will be proceeds of about RUB 600mn ($8.8mn) from other Eastern Europe, China, India and the rest of the world, as well as flows from DVDs, online channels and TV broadcasting. The white paper states that “up to 40% of profit from the movie will be distributed to token holders”, which leaves the team much room for manoeuvre.
All in all, the placement looks solid and the product should be good (I went to see Ginzburg’s previous movie, Generation P, and didn’t regret it). The legal foundations are shaky but, let’s be honest, that applies to the whole of the blockchain sector as of now. Chances are low that the token will have full scale security rights and actual booked underlying assets, but most likely it will be listed and some ETH-nominated profits will arrive after the movie airs in mid- to late 2019. So, I’d buy a few and most likely will buy some with my own money.
For those of you not interested in tokenization but eager to hear about the product: the main characters, Rama and Gera, are played by Pavel Tabakov (son of the outstanding Soviet theater director, Oleg Tabakov) and a promising actress new to the movie world, while the supporting cast includes recognized national stars, Vera Alentova, Victor Verzhbitsky, Bronislav Vinogrodsky and the young rap star Oxxxymiron. The cast bodes well for the success of the movie.
Who doesn’t prick up their ears at the work “postmodern”? And that’s the word for Empire V. A book about a writer made into a movie with a plot that implies that the actors know they are being filmed and then watched by a cinema audience, and more. Following Pelevin’s book, the movie dives deep into the philosophy of finance, musing on money, its genesis, evolution, transition and transformation. It’s a movie that had to be financed by the most advanced funding technology in the world today.
And here is something for dessert: a nice set of the movie captures and backstage pics. It looks like the filming crew is preparing something impressive!
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