Nearly 40 years after it finished filming and 30 years after his death, legendary filmmaker Orson Welles' last movie may finally be completed and screened for audiences. Welles' final film, The Other Side of the Wind, may be finished this year thanks to a crowdfunding campaign that launches today on Indiegogo.
Welles was able to cut only 40 minutes of the film
This is the latest — and what may well be the last — step in the very long history of The Other Side of the Wind. Welles began filming it in 1970 and continued to shoot for six years amid cast turnover, constant script changes, and funding issues. After filming wrapped, the negatives were locked away and legal battles over who actually owned the footage prevented him from working on it. Perpetual funding issues didn't help either.
Now decades later, a production company has gotten all the rights holders to come together. Collectively, they hope to raise $2 million on Indiegogo to finish the film. That money will go toward actually taking hold of the original negatives, having them scanned in 4K, and then move on to editing, coloring, restoring, and scoring the footage. Welles cut around 40 minutes of the film by the time of his death, in 1985, and supposedly left extensive notes on what the film is supposed to look like.
It'll be impossible to replicate precisely what Welles would have done with the film had he been given the chance. But the production company behind this effort makes it sound as though those involved are trying to stay as true to Welles' vision as possible. According to The Hollywood Reporter, they've brought on Affonso Gonçalves, editor of Winter's Bone and Beasts of the Southern Wild, to put it all together. He'll also be working with Peter Bogdanovich, a star of the film.
The Other Side of the Wind was supposed to be a Hollywood comeback for Welles. Appropriately, the film was about a great director, apparently modeled after Hemingway, who is trying to make a comeback with a new movie. Welles' film is also supposed to feature pieces of the fictional film that's being made within its story.
Modern filmmakers have easily surpassed $2 million in crowdfunding
But $2 million is by no means an unreasonable sum to look for through crowdfunding. Zach Braff raised over $3 million to make a film, a Super Troopers sequel raised over $4.4 million, and the Veronica Mars movie hit $5.7 million. Of course, those names all have a huge base of fans around today — Welles is an enormous name in filmmaking, but his name likely doesn't generate the type of wide excitement that a Super Troopers sequel does, however unfair that may seem to cinephiles.
Still, it's easy to imagine that crowdfunding is a medium Welles would have approved of. He frequently ran into funding issues and troubles with Hollywood, leading him to take on acting roles to support his movies. It's taken a long, long time, but it seems like Welles' fans will finally be able to get The Other Side of the Wind the funding it needs to be finished.