Steven Soderbergh threw his support behind Spike Lee's crowdsourcing initiative as a way of giving back to the director who inspired him at the beginning of his career.

Soderbergh handed over a $10,000 (£6,600) donation to the Malcolm X director's page on last week (beg22Jul13) in an effort to help raise $1.3 million (£833,330) by 21 August (13) to cover the cost of an as-yet-untitled film project.

Oscar-winning moviemaker Soderbergh has now revealed he decided to become a sponsor because Lee was one of a trio of directors, including David Lynch and Jim Jarmusch, in the 1980s who inspired him not to give up his dream of making films.

In a letter entitled Why I Back Spike Lee, which has been posted on the Kickstarter page, Soderbergh writes, "The 80s was not a great decade for American cinema... (But) every so often, however, an independent film (or filmmaker) would emerge that felt connected to both those recent, great American films and to great cinema from around the world, and as I was attempting to find my own voice and place in the film world, three independent American filmmakers in particular attracted my attention and expanded my idea of what was possible; David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch, and Spike Lee... These were shoulders I would try to stand on, that I would be proud to stand on.

"For me, Spike Lee is... a totally unique figure in American cinema, and he's always gone his own way and spoken his mind (even when the commercial stakes were high), qualities which are in short supply in the film business. I know Spike's films better than I know Spike... but we're friendly enough for me to say I respect him as person as well as a filmmaker.

"So, in case you haven't figured it out already, this is why I'm supporting Spike on Kickstarter: 1. Spike's success helped make my success possible. 2. Spike has earned my attention because of his body of work and its distinct point of view. 3. You should support your friends. Now let's light this candle!"

Lee's fundraising campaign for the movie, which he has described as "funny, sexy and bloody", had raised $403,781 (£269,187) as Wenn went to press.

The moviemaker was so thrilled with Soderbergh's contribution, he has offered to take him out to dinner as thanks.