By Hillary Busis
August 16, 2013 at 04:46 PM EDT
Dario Cantatore/Invision/AP

The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint is a go.

On July 22, the acclaimed director launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for his next film, a “new kind of love story” about “human beings who are addicted to Blood.” 25 days later, he’s exceeded his $1.25 million goal.

Like other big names who have turned to Kickstarter in the wake of the Veronica Mars movie’s smashing success, Lee faced a slew of criticism after his campaign was announced. The Oscar nominee fought back by citing the difficulties of financing independent films and pointing out that he’s spent plenty of time hustling to find backers for his movies: “We were doing Kickstarter before there was Kickstarter,” Lee explained in an interview with filmmaking blog Film Courage. “We just didn’t have the technology.” The director also noted that he’s self-financed his own movies before, including last year’s Red Hook Summer.

Lee’s backers include 31 people who pledged $10,000 apiece. In return, four of them will receive “the ultimate filmmaker fan award,” which includes a day on the set of Lee’s new film, admittance to a master filmmaker class taught by Lee, and a day observing Lee and his editor as they cut the movie. One will receive a flag seen onscreen in Malcolm X.

The other 26 will have dinner with Lee before accompanying him to a New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, where they’ll sit courtside. These high-rollers are in good company; one of them is Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh.