Toronto

Toronto filmmaker believes missing crowdfunded money may have wound up in Calgary

It appears to be a case of one step forward and two steps back for a Toronto filmmaker who's crowdfunded production money has been missing for months.

$13K raised in March still hasn't been delivered, and now filmmaker says it's in a Calgary account

Sexual assault victim Mandi Gray, left, and filmmaker Kelly Showker in the midst of a new YouTube campaign aimed at recovering the donations lost due to a clerical error. (Gary Morton/CBC News)

It appears to be a case of one step forward and two steps back for a Toronto filmmaker who's crowdfunded production money has been missing for months.

As CBC Toronto first reported Monday, the money went missing in March, Kelly Showker says, shortly after the end of her Indiegogo campaign, which she launched to pay for a documentary about the ordeal and trial of Mandi Gray, who was sexually assaulted by a fellow York University student in 2015.

A one-digit error in the transit code meant no one was sure exactly which Royal Bank account the money had disappeared to, she said.

Showker says she found out this week that RBC now knows where the money went. But she said she's been told that the customer who received it in error is refusing to give it up.

So she's launched a YouTube campaign in effort to find the person and convince them to return the money.

RBC has not confirmed Showker's assertions.

Showker, Gray and a production assistant filming their YouTube video, which they hope will lead to the return of the missing donations. (Gary Morton/CBC News)

"Somebody in Calgary has the money and they may already have spent it, or the may still have it," she told CBC Toronto on Wednesday. "We're asking the person who has our funds in Calgary to please come forward and help our film get made.

"We had 108 people donate and none of them have had their funds go to the person the funds were intended for."
 
Mandi Gray's mother, Sheryl Gray, who donated $3,000 to the campaign, has a message for the person who they believe wound up with the money.

Sheryl Gray, of Winnipeg, donated $3,000 toward the making of a documentary about her daughter Mandi's ordeal. (CBC News)

"This isn't a lottery; you didn't win it," she said from Winnipeg, where she lives, on Wednesday. "It belongs to someone else, and you're hurting people by not doing the right thing and giving it back."

The YouTube video features Showker and Gray holding up a series of placards on which they've written a narrative of the problems they've faced. They appeal for help in locating the person in Calgary who they believe has the money.

The film is called Slut or Nut: The Diary of a Rape Trial. It deals with Mandi Gray's struggles after she was sexually assaulted and her high-profile court case. Her attacker was convicted earlier this year, but the case is being appealed.

As well as telling Gray's story, the unfinished documentary is billed as a teaching tool for other young women who may someday face the same ordeal.

RBC, Indiegogo say they're looking for a solution

RBC issued a statement Tuesday. It reads: "We recognize that this is a difficult situation for our client and have advised her on the steps she needs to take with Indiegogo to recover the funds for her film."
 
Indiegogo says its bank is working with RBC to find a solution to Showker's dilemma.

About the Author

Michael Smee

Reporter, CBC Toronto

Michael Smee has worked in print, radio, TV and online journalism for many years. You can reach him at michael.smee@cbc.ca