Karaganda is a Title III - Regulation Crowdfunding Campaign and is actively accepting investments.
$100.00 minimum investment

Karaganda

Feature Film

Small OPO
Newport Beach, CA
Art
Accepting International Investment
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Want to invest in a film with a viable proof-of-concept? 

Invest in Karaganda, LLC

SUMMARY: Vladimir is a prisoner in a Soviet prison camp on a mission to rescue his wife who is also imprisoned in the Karaganda region. In order to rescue her, he must join the Vory v Zakonye, a criminal organization that controls the camps. The Vors succeed in finding her, but at a cost that will haunt Vladimir as he transforms into a powerful crime boss in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. 


KARAGANDA is an action film based on an award-winning thesis short filmed at the prestigious American Film Institute (voted #1 film school in the world by The Hollywood Reporter in 2011 - the year director Max Weissberg entered). This 26 min. short screened in 26 film festivals in 13 countries, earning 5 awards. Unlike the short, the feature will be in color. Note this short film was produced by "DBA LosFilm CA," a company separate from Karaganda LLC (but directed by Max Weissberg, the CEO of Karaganda, LLC).


Despite the worldwide prevalence of the Russian mafia, few films have dug deep into the inner workings of the Vory v Zakonye, an elite Russian organization going back to the time of the czars. Even fewer have told stories from the POV of someone inside the Russian mafia.  


Like THE GODFATHER, KARAGANDA will establish the genre of Russian mafia films by casting Russian actors in top-level roles, with bits of Russian to add authenticity.

The Offering

Investment

Investment type: Class B Nonvoting Membership Units


$100 per Class B Nonvoting Capital Unit | When you invest you are betting the company’s future value will exceed $1.1M.


For investors, all of the adjusted gross profits* go to you first, before any producers, actors, director, etc, see any returns. 


Once every investor, classified as those holding Class B Nonvoting Capital Units, has been paid back 115% of their investment, then all net profits will be divided into two profit pools, each equal to 50%. One pool will be for investors to share pro-rata, pari passu with all other investors against the full budget of the film. The other pool will go to the producers (actors, director, writer, etc.).


This type of revenue sharing of profit occurs in perpetuity. Potentially allowing returns for the next 20 or 30 years, or beyond. 


Minimum Investment: $100

Security Type: Class B Nonvoting Membership Units
Round Size: Min: $10,000; Max: $1,070,000
Pre-Recoupment: Investors will retain 100% of the Company’s ("Karaganda, LLC") adjusted gross profits* up to the repayment amount of 100% of their investment, plus an additional 15% bonus, then a prorated share of 50% of remaining (net) profits.

After Recoupment: Any profit after the recoupment+15% will be shared 50%/50% between Class A and Class B membership units.

Pre-Money Valuation: $100,000

    

*gross profits allocated subject to terms of Karaganda, LLC Operating Agreement attached as an Exhibit to the Offering Document below.


If the film raises between $250k and $476k in total equity, the feature will be new footage and reused footage from the 26 min. short including outtakes, with the original cast that appeared in the short. This version will be 1/3 Russian and 2/3 English and shot 95% in New York, with 5% in Los Angeles. This film will not be commercially available, and solely available on the festival circuit.


If the film raises between $476k and $699,999the feature will consist of new footage and the original cast from the short. This version will be 1/3 Russian and 2/3 English and be shot 20% in Los Angeles and 80% in New York. This version will be commercially available, but will have a scaled-back production. We estimate the production quality will be the same as the AFI thesis short, but in color. 


If the film raises between $700k and $1 million, the feature will be the same as above, but without cuts to the screenplay and a Hollywood-level production value.


If the film raises more than $1 million in equity, we will aim for a total budget of $2.5 million with the difference coming from financing through state tax incentives and pre-sales. The feature will consist of new footage only and include the original cast, albeit in different roles. We will target known A-list actors for several of the lead parts. This version will be 90% in English, 10% in Russian. The plan is to shot in Georgia, USA to take advantage of state tax incentives. 


Perks*

"In capitalism, man exploits man. In socialism, it's the reverse."

As an investor in KARAGANDA, you receive more than a share in the film's profit, but join a community of filmmakers and enjoy unique perks that you'll remember for a lifetime. Everyone who donates will be thanked in the film and added to the imdb page. For larger investors, we also offer the following perks and production credits on imdb. Each tier includes all those tiers below it.


Thank you credit: $100 or more. 


Karaganda tote bag: $500 or more.


Karaganda T-shirt: $500 or more.


Dinner with the director: $2,500 or more. You and a guest will be invited to a special dinner (paid for by the director) to discuss the project and anything else. 


Associate Producer: $10,000 or more. Inclusion in all plans for the making of Karaganda, and 1 trip to the set at your own expense. 


Featured Extra (does not include travel expenses): $20,000 or more. 


Co-producer: $25,000 or more. This includes one set visit, an invitation to all events, name in end credits and marketing materials.


Executive Producer: $50,000 or more. This includes unlimited set visits, an invitation to all events, name in main credits and marketing materials. 


A line of dialogue in the film: $200,000 or more. Limit 2. You will be required to attend all rehearsals and shooting at your own expense. You will be paid according to SAG-AFTRA rates.


If you would like a different reward, please let us know! 

-Kamensky

KARAGANDA

$100 or more.


Thank you credit

Invest

$500 or more.


Karaganda tote bag + Karaganda T-shirt

Invest

$2,500 or more.


Dinner with the director: You and a guest will be invited to a special dinner (paid for by the director) to discuss the project and anything else.

Invest

$10,000 or more.


Associate Producer: Inclusion in all plans for the making of Karaganda, and 1 trip to the set at your own expense.

Invest

$20,000 or more.


Featured Extra: (does not include travel expenses)

Invest

$25,000 or more.


Co-producer: This includes one set visit, an invitation to all events, name in end credits and marketing materials.

Invest

$50,000 or more.


Executive Producer: This includes unlimited set visits, an invitation to all events, name in main credits and marketing materials.

Invest

$200,000 or more.


Dialogue in the film: Limit 2. You'll be required to attend all rehearsals and shooting at your own expense and be paid according to SAG-AFTRA rates

Invest

For details on the bonus, please see the Offering Summary below.

The Making of Karaganda, a Proof of Concept

In 2012, director Max Weissberg started work on a 26 min. excerpt of the feature script while a directing fellow at the American Film Institute in Hollywood, CA. (This student film was set up under a California DBA, "Losfilm", by Max Weissberg, separate from Karaganda, LLC.)


From the very beginning, the feasibility of the project was questioned by the AFI faculty and staff who labelled it "impossible." Max convinced his advisors to allow him to shoot KARAGANDA. With a 7-day shoot and a total budget of $65,000, the film faced many hurdles including a fight scene, Russian dialogue, and building a believable prison camp. Unfortunately, much of the film's budget went to off-screen expenses such as a water truck, a fire marshal, and a medic - all required by Film LA and AFI. Actors were also required by AFI to be under a SAG contract and either citizens or green card holders, yet another hurdle not ordinarily faced by independent films. 


The VFX shots of the camp and some additional blood work were completed by VFX artist Joseph Schultz, whose experience includes animating/designing for the James Cameron films ALIENS, TITANIC, and X-MEN 2 via 4-Ward Productions.


The film was completed in 2013. Watch the AFI short film here.


The film screened in these outlets

"Best Showcase Short" - Soho IFF
"Best Actor" - Charleston IFF
"Finalist" - A Film for Peace (Italy)
"Honorable Mention" - Santa Fe FF
"Honorable Mention ICA" - Dances With Films
"Top 5" Jury Selection - AFI Conservatory Showcase
Official Selection - Cinema Jove (Spain)

Official Selection - Skena Up (Kosovo)
Official Selection - ContraVision FF (Germany)
Official Selection - Shorts at Midnight (Germany)
Official Selection - In the Palace (Bulgaria)
Official Selection - Montreal World FF (Canada)
Official Selection - Cergy-Pontoise FF (France)
Official Selection - Hollyshorts
Official Selection - Cinegear Film Expo

Official Selection - Belize IFF (Belize)
Official Selection - Indianapolis IFF
Official Selection - Viewster FF
Official Selection - Lucerne IFF Showcase (Switzerland)
Official Selection - Boston IFF
Official Selection - Shortax (Russia)
Official Selection - Asia TV USA / ZEE TV (India/UK/USA)
Official Selection - IndieFlix (USA)
Official Selection - 37ª Semana Internacional de Cine de Autor de Lugo (Spain)
Official Selection - Arizona State University Library
Official Selection - Imagine India Festival (Spain)
Official Selection - Pielagos en Corto Festival (Spain))

Official Selection - NTV (Russia/USA)

Official Selection - Manhattan Film Festival

The Plan

CLICK HERE FOR BUDGET ESTIMATE

With an equity raise of $250,000 - $476,000, we will combine the footage of the Karaganda short with new footage using the same actors. The script copyright was never forfeited by Max Weissberg, which is now property of Karaganda, LLC. (Note that the original short film was not produced by Karaganda, LLC, but by a separate entity: California DBA "Losfilm," with its rights managed by AFI.) This film will be available as a festival film and a representation of what the final film will be. Because the new footage will take place in New York a few years later, the color/B&W combination will make sense given that the prison camp scenes are a flashback.


To make this film a commercial release we would need to fulfill the original deferred compensation of the SAG contracts for the AFI short. This amount is $145,598.04. To reshoot the entire short film under a new SAG-AFTRA contract would be approximately $80,000 at the same production standards. Of course, we will only use the short footage when we are unable to raise $476k or more in total. 


Some of the actors from the short (Konstantin Lavysh & Vera Cherny) have since appeared on the hit show THE AMERICANS. Thus we believe this film generate enough interest to continue raising money as it nears completion. 


Whatever we raise will be put first towards the production of the film  on location in Brighton Beach, with a few VFX-oriented scenes in Los Angeles County. Our state tax benefit (30% below-the-line in NY) will pay the $57,400 for VFX, a sound mix, and licenses necessary to finish the film. This film will be approximately 30% in Russian, and 70% in English. The minimum production budget necessary for this tier is $297k, with an overall budget of $396k (including production + post production) for 28 days of shooting. The film will fall under the SAG-AFTRA modified Low Budget Agreement for actors.

With an equity raise of $700,000 to $1 million, we will reshoot the entire film using many of the same locations in the short (in L.A. county), as well as on location in Brighton Beach. We will also use the same actors as in the short. With this money, we will build a much larger outdoor set than the short and spend more money on costumes and extras. We will also be able to get better locations and have more time to shoot the scenes, exponentially raising the quality. In such a scenario, we believe Netflix or Amazon would be the most likely distribution outlet as we have relationships with them. Also, we would avoid spending anything to market the film in this scenario. This film will be approximately 30% in Russian and 70% in English. The minimum production budget necessary for this tier is $632k, with an overall budget of $768k. This will be shot at the SAG-AFTRA low budget agreement.

CLICK HERE FOR BUDGET ESTIMATE

CLICK HERE FOR BUDGET

With a budget of $1+ million, we will take full advantage of the film's earning potential. With this amount, we will line up the remainder of our financing through industry partners that will help us bank our presales and state tax credits. Unlike the short, we will recast several of the lead parts with A-list actors who we think, based on the advice of our sales agent, can guarantee our returns in overseas territories. We will also shoot in a state that has excellent tax benefits such as Georgia which amounts to 30% of the production spend. This will allow us to shoot the film for under $2.5 million which falls under the SAG-AFTRA low budget agreement. Thankfully this union agreement allows us to use both union and non-union talent, which will save us tremendously on extras. Because of this, in our opinion films under $2.5 million budgets have the most bang-for-the-buck. In such a scenario, we will divvy up the territories to increase revenue. This film will be approximately 10% in Russian and 90% in English to further maximize global revenue. 

Distribution

Our previous content (for non related entities) has been distributed on the following outlets

About Us

Our Previous Work (Selected)

Generation Iron (2013)

Narrated by Mickey Rourke, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. Among the top 5 highest grossing documentary films of 2013, this film now screens on Netflix. It has spawned 2 sequels, both on Netflix which were financed by Netflix. 

Hotel Gramercy Park (2008)

Featuring Kanye West, Winona Ryder, Ben Stiller, Jared Leto, Mischa Barton, Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, and Paris Hilton, the film premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival where it earned a jury citation. The film later screened on Sundance Channel for 5 years. Max Weissberg co-produced and appeared in this film.

Summertime In New York (2011)

Made for only $55k, this film screened in several festivals including SXSW (as "Room 4 Rent") and earned "Best Screenplay" award at First Time Fest. The film has now screened on over a dozen VOD outlets in several countries including China, U.K., Malaysia, Germany, France, and Japan.

Jeremy Scott (2015)

Featuring Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, ASAP Rocky, and Rita Ora. This film opened in more than 400 theaters and currently screens on Netflix

Director's Statement

I have always been a lover of all things Russian. For me, there is something about its music, literature, history, and even the superstitions that I find fascinating. When I listen to Russian composers like Prokofiev or Rimsky-Korsakov, I feel powerful emotions.  And I know there is a depth – a spirituality – behind what I am listening to.


Fast-forward many years and many Russian classes later. The first draft of KARAGANDA came while living in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2004 as I studied at Herzen University and worked at LenFilm Studios. Just as I was about to start my second semester, my sister Nicole disappeared in the tsunami in Thailand. This was an extremely difficult emotional moment for me. In that weird way our sub-conscious speaks with us, I heard a voice asking me what it would be worth to have my sister back. I wondered how many strangers’ lives I would trade to have one life back that meant something to me personally. I was willing to do anything at that moment, and my desire was not governed by any belief in right and wrong.

 

As I continued to write the script – I realized what values I wanted to juxtapose within the main character. I suddenly saw the hero, Vladimir, as someone willing to do anything to save the one he loved, no matter how evil. Love vs. goodness became a central theme of KARAGANDA. As it turned out, and there was no better world to find these values in conflict with each other than in the life of a Russian gangster.

 

In 2013, KARAGANDA (26 min., B&W) was realized as an AFI thesis film, overcoming budget, production, and scheduling issues to make a film with Hollywood-level action and VFX. The awards and festival success made a feature version inevitable.


www.luftmenschfilms.com

Estimated Returns

Our sales company, Moonrise Pictures, has made sales estimates which give us strong reason to believe the film will be profitable at a budget of $2.5 million.


A budget of less than $1 million with a non A-list cast is worth considerably less in the international market. With the rise of streaming services, however, we are able to distribute the film widely with little cost. Given that there are Russian people in nearly every market and that the Russian mafia is widespread, we think audiences everywhere will appreciate an authentic rendering of this dark world. 


Thankfully director Max Weissberg has years of marketing experience as a social producer/editor at TV Land and the Paramount Network (Viacom), generating millions of online views with his content.

FAQ

Do you have a brochure I can read?

Yes. It's available here.


What happens if you raise less than $250k?

If we are not able to raise the full $250k through crowdfunding, we will evaluate additional sources of capital to help us reach the minimum budget.  If we find a suitable source, we may continue with the production.  Otherwise, we may cancel the offering and return committed funds. We estimate that the bare-minimum amount to complete production is $297k. Our goal is $250k because we are confident we can raise the gap through friends and family. Because of Start Engine's rules, or in the event we are able to receive funding or a loan outside of Start Engine, we have set our minimum at $10,000.


When are you planning to shoot?

Once we reach $250k, we will assess our rate of progress. If we do not feel we can ever achieve the $1 million in a realistic timeline (6 months), we will fix our budget at the lower amount. From the point we stop funding, we need 4 months until we begin production.

If we feel we can raise $1 million based on our rate of progress, we will continue until we raise this amount. Once we have this amount, our production start will depend on the lead actor's schedule. From our talks with their agents, this will be within 6 months of our raise. 

Do you have skin in the game?

Max Weissberg has already invested approximately $40,000 towards the development and production of both the short and feature film. He does not have much more in savings (and supports a wife and child), but will gladly put his last dime into the project. He also does not receive a salary until $1 million is raised, nor do the producers. 


Who are your actors going to be if you raise $1 million?

We, unfortunately, can't reveal this information. There are 3 actors agents we've spoken to and shared our marketing materials. 2 gave us very positive responses. 1 gave us a lukewarm response. Nevertheless, we think we can land an A-list actor. If we don't get our first choice, we don't want other actors to know they were our second. This casting information will be shared with any investor above the $10,000 amount, after the offering has closed.


Can I read the script?

Yes. Unlike many other crowdfunding ventures, we want you to read the script and see for yourself. It's available here.




How come your budget is a range, and not a fixed amount?

Max Weissberg has worked with crews that range from 8 people to 50 people. More money means more personnel, bigger sets, more shooting time. Our budgets are devised around the SAG union tiers: under $700k and under $2.5 million. Each bump up becomes more expensive to hire actors and the rules become more restrictive. The more we raise, however, the more we can increase the film's quality. 


How can you make action scenes and VFX on such a small budget?

For the AFI thesis short, our fight scenes were relatively easy to accomplish from a production standpoint. The actors worked with a fight choreographer, and the camera cuts and angles made it look realistic. A knowledgeable staff makes all the difference in time and quality. 

As for our VFX, we are blessed with having Joseph Schultz who has worked on X-MEN 2, TITANIC, ALIENS, and many other action films via the famous animation house 4 Ward Productions. Mr. Schultz loves the project so much he has donated money to the film. 


In the Press

Young American Director Makes a Film About the Vors and the Gulag
January 1, 2013

A Russian article in a NY based monthly magazine that came out after Max Weissberg's film VOR V ZAKONYE and before shooting KARAGANDA.

Karaganda: A Hollywood Director Introduces Russian Culture to Americans
January 12, 2017

A Russian article summarizing the feature project and Max Weissberg's desire to promote Russian culture.

Karaganda: A New Film is Being Made About Prison Camps.
January 17, 2017

A Russian article summarizing the feature project and about the AFI short film.

Interview in Russian with NTV: Persona Grata
June 1, 2016

Interview in Russian with the director for Russian NTV channel.

Offering Summary

Maximum 10,700* units of Class B Nonvoting Capital Units ($1,070,000)

*Maximum subject to adjustment for bonus units. See 10% Bonus below

Minimum 100 units of Class B Nonvoting Capital Units ($10,000)


Company
Karaganda, LLC
 

Corporate Address
2618 San Miguel Drive Suite 496 Newport Beach CA 92660
 

Description of Business
Production of feature film, KARAGANDA.
 

Type of Security Offered
Class B Nonvoting Units
 
Purchase Price of Security Offered
$100
 

Minimum Investment Amount (per investor) 
$100











Perks*

Each tier includes all those tiers below it.

Thank you credit: $100 or more. 

Karaganda tote bag: $500 or more.

Karaganda T-shirt: $500 or more.

Dinner with the director: $2,500 or more. You and a guest will be invited to a special dinner (paid by the director) to discuss the project and anything else on your mind. 

Associate Producer: $10,000 or more. Inclusion in all plans for the making of Karaganda, and 1 trip to the set at your own expense. 

Featured Extra (does not include travel expenses): $20,000 or more. 

Co-producer: $25,000 or more. This includes one set visit, an invitation to all events, name in end credits and marketing materials.

Executive Producer: $50,000 or more. This includes unlimited set visits, an invitation to all events, name in main credits and marketing materials. 

A line of dialogue in the film: $200,000 or more. Limit 2. You will be required to attend all rehearsals and shooting at your own expense. You will be paid according to SAG rates. 

*All perks occur after the offering is completed.


The 10% Bonus for StartEngine Shareholders

Karaganda, LLC will offer 10% additional bonus units for all investments that are committed, within 24 hours of this offering going live, by StartEngine Crowdfunding Inc. shareholders who invested over  $1,000 in the StartEngine Reg A offering which closed earlier this year.

StartEngine shareholders who invested $1,000 or more in that StartEngine Reg A offering will receive a 10% bonus on this offering within a 24-hour window of this offering’s launch date.  This means you will receive a bonus for any units you purchase.  For example, if you buy 10 Class B Nonvoting Units at $100 / unit, you will receive 11 Class B Nonvoting Units, meaning you'll own 11 units for $1,000.   Fractional units will not be distributed and share bonuses will be determined by rounding down to the nearest whole share.

This 10% bonus is only valid for one year from the time StartEngine Crowdfunding Inc. investors received their countersigned StartEngine Crowdfunding Inc. subscription agreement.

Irregular Use of Proceeds

The Company will not incur any irregular use of proceeds.

Show More
Most recent fiscal year-end:
Prior fiscal year-end:
Total Assets
$29,545.00 USD
$0.00 USD
Cash And Cash Equivalents
$9,431.00 USD
$0.00 USD
Accounts Receivable
$0.00 USD
$0.00 USD
Short Term Debt
$0.00 USD
$0.00 USD
Long Term Debt
$32,284.00 USD
$0.00 USD
Revenues And Sales
$0.00 USD
$0.00 USD
Costs Of Goods Sold
$0.00 USD
$0.00 USD
Taxes Paid
$800.00 USD
$0.00 USD
Net Income
-$2,739.00 USD
$0.00 USD

Risks

A crowdfunding investment involves risk. You should not invest any funds in this offering unless you can afford to lose your entire investment. In making an investment decision, investors must rely on their own examination of the issuer and the terms of the offering, including the merits and risks involved. These securities have not been recommended or approved by any federal or state securities commission or regulatory authority. Furthermore, these authorities have not passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this document. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission does not pass upon the merits of any securities offered or the terms of the offering, nor does it pass upon the accuracy or completeness of any offering document or literature. These securities are offered under an exemption from registration; however, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has not made an independent determination that these securities are exempt from registration.


Updates

Your Privacy

3 days ago

Thank you SO much to our investors for investing in Karaganda! We will have some exciting updates to share with you shortly. In the meantime, we wanted to let you know:

1. We will not share your name or any other personal information without your approval.

2. Startengine does NOT give us (Karaganda LLC) your email or any contact information beyond your name. 

3. If you would like to start a conversation with us and are an investor, please contact: max@luftmenschfilms.com. You are under no obligation to contact us, but we would certainly like to have your contact info to extend a personal thanks! Also, we want to be at an arm's length to investors for any questions. Because of the nature of this project, we cannot disseminate all information publicly.

4. If you'd rather stick to the updates without sharing your contact info - that is perfectly okay too! 





 

FAQs on Facebook Ads

14 days ago

Facebook Campaign Showing Results

about 1 month ago

Karaganda Wants YOU

about 2 months ago

1 Week Done

about 2 months ago

Our first week is done on Startengine! So far we've landed an impressive $17,700, before our marketing campaign has taken hold. Thank you again for everyone who invested! And feel free to share our marketing materials.

Please be sure also to like our facebook page: www.facebook.com/karagandafilm. As our ads are launched into the dark abyss, we hope you will like them so more people see them. As you know, it takes a village - especially when raising money for a feature film. Not only are we marketing on Facebook, Instagram, and Google Display ads, but we are also signed an agreement with aggregator NewChip this morning to feed more investors to our campaign. Questions? Advice? Do not hesitate to ask and we'll respond immediately. 

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