STRAY: A Case-Study On A Successful, Independently Financed Feature Film

STRAY is the debut feature film from writer/director/producer Dustin Feneley. It is a bold arthouse film that was made outside the traditional funding system and has been received positively by international film festivals, critics and audiences. This independent film was financed through private investors, sponsorships, the goodwill of cast and crew, and crowdfunding donors – where it raised the highest amount ever for a New Zealand film.

In this comprehensive case study, Dustin will discuss both the creative and the practical, including:

  • his unique approach to screenwriting and directing
  • trusting your gut and following your creative instincts as a filmmaker
  • staying passionate during the years of script development and financing
  • growing your entrepreneurial skills and tenacity to succeed as an independent filmmaker
  • how the STRAY team financed the project as an independent film, with a particular focus on the extensive process behind the record-breaking crowdfunding campaign.

This case study will not only be useful and inspiring to writers, directors and producers with a feature film project currently in active development, but to anyone with aspirations of making a feature film in the future.

We recommend you see the film prior to the case study you attend
Dunedin: 8 October, 6pm, Rialto
Christchurch: 9 October, 6pm, Alice
Screenings also in Alexandra, Wanaka and Roxburgh – check your local cinema.
Dustin Feneley is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts Film School. His short films as writer and director (NIGHT, SNOW, HAWKER, ESKIMO KISS) have won numerous awards and screened at over one hundred film festivals, including official selections at Cannes, London, Sydney and Melbourne.

STRAY holds the record for the highest amount ever raised through donation-based crowdfunding for a New Zealand film. In 2016 Dustin Feneley raised over $125,000 in a 30-day campaign on NZ arts crowdfunding site Boosted.

Hailed by The Dominion Post as “one of the very best films ever made in New Zealand”, Flicks writes that STRAY “fortifies hope in the breadth and ambition of New Zealand film”.

After receiving rave five-star reviews and numerous sell-out sessions at NZIFF, STRAY secured theatrical distribution in Australasia and will be released nationally on October 4 in over 30 cinemas.

STRAY had its World Premiere in competition at the Moscow International Film Festival where it won the award for Best Actor. STRAY’s successful festival run continues with over 20 international film festivals screening the film this year.


DUNEDIN: 9am-12:30pm Tuesday 9 October
Petridish – Green Room, 8 Stafford Street, Dunedin
Co-presented with Film Dunedin

Book tickets for Dunedin – $ 15 (limited spaces)

CHRISTCHURCH: 9am-12:30pm Wednesday 10 October
Venue: Belmont Studios, 31 Southwark St, Christchurch.
Allow time to find a park and walk to the venue.

Book tickets for Christchurch – $15 (limited spaces)

This Script to Screen workshop is made possible thanks to generous support from
The New Zealand Film Commission.



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