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'Corner Gas: The Movie' Kickstarter passes its $100,000 goal in a day

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TORONTO - A Kickstarter campaign for the "Corner Gas" movie surpassed its $100,000 goal in one day — with donations reportedly flooding in from as far away as Australia, China, India and Kyrgyzstan.

The campaign on the crowdfunding website had raised more than $125,000 by Wednesday evening. It opened Tuesday morning with a goal of reaching $100,000 in 30 days.

"Corner Gas: The Movie," based on the hit CTV show about a gas station owner and friends in a rural Saskatchewan town, will be released in December. The movie is fully funded with an $8-million budget, including taxpayer funds from Telefilm Canada.

Creator and star Brent Butt said Wednesday that he was stunned by the support.

"The way people have responded to this show has been blowing me away since that first episode. I thought nothing the fans could do would surprise me anymore," he said in a release.

"But to reach a month-long target in one day is beyond incredible. 'Corner Gas' fans blow my mind yet again."

Some 842 people have backed the campaign, including Maaike de Lintnt from Toronto, who was the first to donate, according to Bell Media. One backer purchased a brief speaking role in the film for $6,000, while 10 people spent $2,500 each to play a background role in the film.

Other rewards bought by eager "Corner Gas" fans include $1,500 set visits and $750 to name a character in the film. Backers can obtain entry to the "Corner Gas Backers Club" to receive behind-the-scenes updates.

Butt has said the goal of the Kickstarter campaign is to give fans a chance to participate in the movie-making process. The first $100,000 will pay for the fan rewards, while the remaining funds will go toward improving production values.

"We thought, 'How can we give people who are really committed fans to 'Corner Gas' (something) that the regular person on the street isn't going to get? How can we kind of reward that series-long cultish fan base?' We wanted to give them something exclusive," he said in an earlier interview.

"At the same time, it's always pricey to make a movie and you've got to cut corners at certain places. There were a couple places where we thought it would be great to have a few extra bucks to ramp up the special effects."

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website that allows people to donate to projects, often in exchange for rewards. Its stated purpose is to be a "new way to fund creative projects," big and small, but it is often used by independent or first-time creators who do not have access to traditional financing.

Butt said he expected to face some criticism for using Kickstarter, but he knew the fans would embrace it.

"Corner Gas" was a runaway hit during its five-year run between 2004 and 2009. The film will reunite all eight original cast members and will begin shooting in Rouleau, Sask., in June.

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