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Invest in The Yogi Trademark Movie

The 1st feature comedy exploring the exploding yoga movement

Highlights

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Our test short film won Best Comedic Short at the Maui Film Festival and was runner-up at the USA Film Festival.
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Yoga and Wellness is capturing the zeitgeist of our times. Mindfulness: goop lab. Meditation apps: Headspace. Trending docs: AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda.
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Script was developed with grants from SFFILM, home of the San Francisco International Film Festival.
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Producer's films have been in top festivals like Sundance, Tribeca, and SXSW.
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Films with female protagonists are earning more at the box-office than those with male protagonists.
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Current clients include, Mother Jones, She the People, Netroots Nation, DailyKos and Levi Strauss.

Our Team

Have you ever wanted to go to an intensive eight-week competitive yoga training? Neither did Jo, but her journey will make you laugh to your belly hurts and your mind opens.

Proof of Concept: "Awarewolf"

To showcase our comedic, yet positive, take on western yoga culture, we filmed an eight-minute version of The Yogi Trademark for $20,000. Our short, Awarewolf (2017) received accolades from major film festivals across the country.

Knowing that our tasteful satire would be a hit among mindfulness-focused viewers, the Maui Film Festival screened Awarewolf ahead of the Academy Award nominated film, Going Home (2017) a Netflix documentary on the life of spiritual teacher Baba Ram Dass.

The Maui audience loved Awarewolf, awarding it Best Comedy Short Film. At that point, we decided to commit to making a feature-length commercial adaptation.

Market Research

Lots of Yogis, Very Little Content

There are 53 million yoga enthusiasts in the U.S. and only a handful of movies or shows that explore their lifestyle and culture.

The Yogi Trademark will offer a first of its kind feature-length narrative catered to the enjoyment of an audience that is familiar with yoga and the broader trends surrounding wellness and mindfulness.

Recent Yoga Movie Projects

Despite a general lack of content, below are several success stories of projects with similar themes.

  • Enlighten Up! (2009), a low budget, light-hearted, personal-transformation documentary performed well at the box office. 
  • Kumaré: The True Story of a False Prophet (2012), a cross between a documentary and narrative feature, won Audience Award for Best Doc at SXSW.  
  • Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator (2019), a Netflix documentary,  which tells the story of the downfall of narcissistic hot yoga founder Bikram Choudhury, was a viral hit.

Yoga Is a Large and Growing Market

Over the past decade, mainstream interest in yoga and wellness-culture has exploded. Here are some stats based on a 2019 report.

  • Yoga is the 4th fastest-growing industry in the US - Behind 3D printer manufacturing, hot sauce production, and generic pharmaceutical manufacturing
  • $17 billion Americans spend on yoga products. Up 87% since 2010.
  • 53 million Americans regularly practice yoga.
  • 67 million Americans have reported trying yoga at least once.
  • 34% Americans report being "somewhat likely" to "very likely" to newly try yoga within the next year.
  • Growth forecasted to continue sharply well into 2025-2030

Cast

We are hopeful to secure Connie Britton to play the role of the hippie, lovable, smothering mother of our protagonist. She saw our short at the Maui Film Festival, poked Chris in the chest and said, "I loved your short.  I want to be in the feature."  Connie has a cult like following as our favorite character, Tami Taylor, in Friday Night Lights - and was the lead in the hit series, Nashville. Connie has starred in recent films such as, Me Earl And The Dying Girl, The Mustang and most recently, HBO's - The White Lotus


We’re excited to already have Arash Marandi attached as Tashu, the sexy, spiritual, and untouchable yoga teacher. We met him at a Sundance Festival party and got along so well that he flew in from Berlin to act in Awarewolf the following year. Arash said Dan's directing style was "so personal and supportive that it re-inspired my love for the study of acting." He is amazing in the Sundance film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,  and more recently opposite Glenn Close in the Apple TV hit series - TEHRAN.

The Yogi Trademark Synopsis

Jo, mom blogger and single parent of a precocious four year old, is always one more “like” or “follow” away from happiness. She gets “the break she’s always deserved” when Vanity Magazine assigns her to publicly blog about her experience at a physically grueling eight-week yoga teacher training retreat.

Out of shape, fearlessly ambitious, and in no need of personal growth – Jo lies to her baby daddy, her editor and dysfunctional family, turning the lifestyle blog assignment into an investigative exposé revealing dark secrets behind the cult-like retreat’s charismatic leader. 

Deep undercover, she succumbs to the guru’s unconventional, humiliating and surprisingly effective directives until she becomes so competent in her yoga that she sets, yet another, different, shiny new goal – to be a world famous competitive yogi.

While on stage at the high-stakes, livestreamed National Yoga Championships, Jo at long last finds her center – and with it, a discovery worth more than the external adoration she’s been chasing. Jo realizes that what she wants more than anything is a life centered around fearless authenticity, gracious humility, and joyful connection.

A Taste of our Humor and Films

Dan and Chris, as Potluck Productions, have been producing branded content, documentaries, and comedy sketches since 2004 for clients like Mother Jones, Senator Barbara Boxer, She the People, Democracy for America, DailyKos and Netroots Nation. Other clients include Levi Strauss & Co., the Red Tab Foundation, Tides Foundation, MoveOn.org, Dockers, and many more.  


Your Profit

Where's My Money Lebowski?

The project is keeping costs down by using SAG’s Ultra-Low program (maximum budget $300,000), no and low cost shoot locations, and a retreat-model to support the many yogi extras (more details below). In addition, as this is our first feature length film, we understand that our biggest asset at the end of this project is not money, but a great movie. Therefore, you make your investment back plus a 20% profit before the filmmakers even think about making their money back. 

Our primary viewer-market is Americans (and select foreign viewers) with a strong interest in yoga and mindfulness, many of whom identify with female-focussed narratives. There are 37 million yoga practitioners in the US alone who've yet to see a good movie representing their passion - let alone one with a comedic twist and reputable actors. If we capture just .00091% of the yogi viewer market with The Yogi Trademark, you will make your money back PLUS a 20% profit. If we can snag 5% of yogis, we'll split over $4 million in profit. These projections cannot be guaranteed.

These figures are forward-looking estimations which cannot be guaranteed.

How So Cheap?

$300,000 may seem like a lot of money, but the overwhelming majority of films you see cost way more than this.  You can find many film budget's on wikipedia.  Try it.  Think of a film that you think was cheap to make, the budget will likely be over $2 million.  So how can we do ours so cheap?

No Cost Locations

75% of the film will likley be shot at a privately owned church estate that is going through a long development process. While it's idle, our friends are letting us shoot, free of charge, at their ideal location.  Namaste!

 
The Screenplay and Directors Are Free

All the money you invest in the film is going up on the screen. Our production company, Potluck Productions, has spent years on bread and butter projects while doing comprehensive pre-production on this film.  We're donating our script, directing, and producing services to you, the Yogi Movie LLC.

No-Cost Extras: The Yogi Trademark Retreat for Yogi Extras

To reduce costs and inspire collaborative creative work, we will simultaneously co-host a five day yoga retreat as part of our 18 day shoot. The retreat will be run and operated by a third party - supplying us with talented yogis to serve as extras at no cost to the production. In return for being extras, the students will receive this all-inclusive yoga retreat experience and share ownership of the film with the production team (not from the investors share). These yogis will also serve as valuable film promoters for self-distribution.

Who We Are

Laura Wagner is the recipient of the Sundance Institute’s Creative Producing Fellowship, the San Francisco Film Society’s Kenneth Rainin Foundation Fellowship, and the IFP/Cannes Marche Du Film Producer’s Network Fellowship. She is also a Film Independent Fellow and alumna of the Trans Atlantic Partners program.  She was nominated for the Cassavetes Film Independent Spirit Award for producing the critically acclaimed feature film IT FELT LIKE LOVE, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for a Gotham Award and two Film Independent Spirit Awards.  

While Dan thinks he's always been funny, he started his comedic career as a weekend player with a group formed at The Second City, the world's premier comedy club, in Chicago. He also served as Head of Production for Sports ID, where he oversaw all aspects of production, producing over 1,300 instructional sports videos, hosted by athletes like Bill Walton, Gabrielle Reece, and Ronnie Lott. 

Chris studied Technology and Policy at MIT, after which he spent several years working on climate change, environmental protection, and poverty alleviation projects in the U.S. and internationally. Once Chris began to focus on provocative story-telling as a method for social change, he was hooked.

Dan and Chris met in San Francisco where they were part of a talented team that wrote, produced, and acted in the musical comedy, Goin' Dot Com!.  The duo then formed Potluck Productions to purse self-initiated creative projects and filmmaking, using humor as a hook. They made several funny political videos that went viral at the dawn of YouTube and set out to write and make this hilarious film. They learned filmmaking by aligning themselves with SFFILM– which has championed incredible films like, Sorry to Bother You (2018), Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), and Fruitvale Station (2013). Dan and Chris eventually earned three SFFILM grants to develop The Yogi Trademark, including a two- year artist residency.

    Overview