STRAY is the debut feature film from award-winning writer/director/producer Dustin Feneley and producer Desray Armstrong.

The film was made outside the traditional funding system, and was financed through private investors, crowdfunding donors, sponsorships and the goodwill of cast and crew.

STRAY has subsequently been received positively by international film festivals, critics and audiences. 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”.

STRAY had its World Premiere in Main Competition at the Moscow International Film Festival in April this year, where it won the award for Best Actor. After receiving rave five-star reviews and numerous sell-out sessions at NZIFF, STRAY secured theatrical distribution in Australasia, released nationally on October 4 and is screening in NZ in over 40 cinemas.

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

In this session, Dustin Feneley and Desray Armstrong discuss how STRAY was financed as an independent film. With a particular focus on securing private investment and the record-breaking crowdfunding campaign, they explore the entrepreneurial skills, drive and tenacity needed to succeed as independent filmmakers.