The long-awaited M.I.A. documentary might not be happening, or it might be delayed for a very long time, or it might get a Kickstarter campaign to launch it to completion, with or without the participation of director Steve Loveridge. We're confused, too.
Loveridge leaked a teaser for the documentary this weekend, The Guardian reports, calling on his viewers to "reblog the shit out of [it]." Naturally, M.I.A.'s label, Roc Nation, objected, removing the trailer from YouTube and asking Loveridge to be patient; "it IS going to move forward and get done in time for this album cycle and festivals," a label employee wrote, according to a screenshot on Loveridge's Tumblr. (That's a reference to M.I.A.'s forthcoming album Matangi, which—like the film—was initially due last year but reportedly rejected by Interscope for being "too positive," a post-Yeezus label interference if ever there's been one.)
"I really couldn't give a flying fuck," Loveridge tersely replied to Roc Nation. "Count me out. Would rather die than work on this..."
So M.I.A. took to Twitter and set alight speculation regarding a Kickstarter for the film:
im gonna need @kickstarter and my fans to help make this exsist , ive been black listed through normal channels !!!!!!!— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) July 7, 2013
Could M.I.A. become the next major celebrity to bypass The Powers That Be and take to Kickstarter for funding or distribution? And—more curiously—would it be worth the backlash that would inevitably follows in today's "crowdfunding economy" or whatever? Zach Braff courted public shaming when he unveiled his Kickstarter campaign this past spring for a new film, but he at least successfully met his goal. Girls co-star Zosia Mamet was not so lucky, failing to raise more than 10 percent of her goal for a music video project in May—and humiliatingly misspelling "privilege" in the process, which is funny because, do you get it? She is privileged. And Amanda Palmer attracted public scorn for, well, reasons that go well beyond her absurdly successful Kickstarter campaign last summer. But anyway.
M.I.A. would not be the first to turn to crowdfunding—and it seems her documentary is already close to being finished; it's just the distribution that's posing a headache for all involved. You can watch the teaser here, as per Loveridge's wishes. But just as entertainingly, read Loveridge's exchange with Roc Nation.