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Johnny Derango (standing on truck) speaks with crew members during the shooting of the independent film “Lost on Purpose.” Derango, a Peru native, was a producer and the director of photography for the film that has used a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to cover the costs of distribution.
A bit of online fundraising is helping a Peru native’s independent film make it into theaters, perhaps even theaters in the Illinois Valley.
Johnny Derango, originally of Peru, served as a producer and the director of photography on “Lost on Purpose,” a film telling the tale of a California dairy farmer struggling to hold onto her farm that was written by brothers Ian and Eshom Nelms.
“It’s not the ‘I hate my hometown and want to get out of here’ (film), it’s sort of our love letters to the areas we come from,” Derango said.
Despite having some notable cast members, including Jane Kaczmarek, C. Thomas Howell, Aaron Hill, James Lafferty and an appearance by Octavia Spencer, the producers couldn’t find a distribution deal — the process of getting the finished film to the public — they liked.
Instead they turned to Kickstarter, an online fundraising platform that has helped bring many creative endeavors to life.
Their goal was $40,000 and with roughly a week before the campaign’s deadline, they reached it on Saturday night.
“Hitting our $40,000 Kickstarter goal was like having the weight of the world lifted from our shoulders, but only long enough for us to realize that we have another goal, $50,000,” Derango said in an e-mail. “Every dollar we bring into this project brings us that much closer to coming to another city. Every city we get to brings us to a new set of fans.
“It is our goal to get this film in to as many markets as possible allowing as many people to see it as we can.”
As of Tuesday night the campaign had raised more than $41,000 with 462 people contributing. The fundraising campaign continues until Sunday night.
By reaching the goal, the production crew will be able to put the film in select theaters around the country as well as distribute it through video on demand and online digitals outlets.
Although the Illinois Valley may not be a hotbed for cinema action, Derango said he hopes to eventually show it in his hometown.
“I personally couldn’t be more excited to bring this movie home to Peru and show it in the very same theater where I spliced together prints of films 15 years ago,” he said.
Among the many supporters of the film, including Illinois Valley residents Dr. John Derango and Ron Yanke, who received executive producer credits, Derango said there was an unexpected swell in financial aid from supporters of another film project.
He explained that a group of girls came across the “Lost on Purpose” Kickstarter campaign after pledging money to one of the most recent notable Kickstarter successes, a campaign to create a feature film based on the television series “Veronica Mars.” That campaign raised more than $5.7 million. Apparently those girls, after falling in love with “Lost on Purpose,” began urging people to support that campaign on the Veronica Mars campaign webpage.
“They’ve raised us thousands of dollars on their own,” Derango said.