12 Kickstarter-Funded Films to Premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival

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Image courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival
Image courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival

For the eighth year in a row, Kickstarter creators will debut a diverse slate of film projects at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, April 18–29. Twelve Kickstarter-funded films will screen at the festival, including including six documentaries, three shorts, two virtual-reality films, and one major restoration of an award-winning indie classic from the 1990s.

The filmmakers in this year’s lineup work in a range of cinematic disciplines, and have made use of Kickstarter in different ways. With the support of their backers, Anthony Jannelli and Robert Pietri were able to animate their short film about The Velvet Underground’s disastrous first public performance; Asad J. Malik developed the technology to make his augmented-reality documentary about the experiences of Muslims living in the United States possible; and Charlie Schwan and Adrian Siordia designed the apocalyptic 1970s/1980s setting of their darkly funny short film.

Join us in congratulating all of the Kickstarter creators whose films are premiering at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, and read on to learn more about them.

All film descriptions courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival.

Documentary Competition

United Skates

Directors/producers: Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown

Credited with incubating East Coast hip-hop and West Coast rap, America’s roller rinks have long been bastions of regional African-American culture, music, and dance. As rinks shutter across the country, a few activists mount a last stand.

428 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.

When Lambs Become Lions

Director: Jon Kasbe

In the Kenyan bush, a crackdown on ivory poaching forces a silver-tongued second-generation poacher to seek out an unlikely ally in this fly-on-the-wall look at both sides of the conservation divide.

418 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.

Spotlight Documentary

Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable

Director: Aaron Lieber

One of the most fearless and accomplished athletes of her generation, Bethany Hamilton became a surfing wunderkind when she returned to the sport following a devastating shark attack at age 13. Now she faces her biggest challenge yet: motherhood.

1,453 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.


The Feeling of Being Watched

Director/writer: Assia Boundaoui

Journalist Assia Boundaoui sets out to investigate long-brewing rumors that her quiet, predominantly Arab-American neighborhood was being monitored by the FBI — and in the process, she exposes a surveillance program on a scale no one could have imagined.

187 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.

Special Screenings

Every Act of Life

Director/writer: Jeff Kaufman

Every Act of Life presents a revealing portrait of four-time Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally’s groundbreaking six-decade career in the theatre, the fight for LGBTQ rights, and his triumph over addiction.

207 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.


Director/writer/producer: Cynthia Lowen

In the midst of a watershed moment for gender equality, three very different women whose lives were torn apart by online harassment devote themselves to fighting back against the internet’s Wild West of unpoliced misogyny, cyberstalking, and nonconsensual pornography.

736 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.


In the Soup: Restoration and 25th Anniversary

Director: Alexandre Rockwell

In the Soup tells the story of Adolpho (Steve Buscemi), who is writing a screenplay from his crumbling NYC apartment and falling for the girl next door. In a desperate attempt to get his screenplay funded, he connects with Joe (Seymour Cassel), a shady high-roller willing to play dirty. After winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 1992, the film all but disappeared and only one damaged archival print remained. Through the efforts of Factory 25 and a Kickstarter campaign, the film has been restored in time for its 25th anniversary.

796 backers helped bring this restoration project to life on Kickstarter.

Storyscapes: AR & VR

Queerskins: A Love Story

Directors: Illya Szilak, Cyril Tsiboulski

In Missouri in the early ’90s, a diary and a box of belongings offers a devoutly Catholic mother — and participants of this haptic virtual-reality experience — a chance to know Sebastian, the estranged son she has lost to AIDS. Sitting in the back seat of a car behind Sebastian's parents, you’ll take an emotionally charged journey down a country road, a memory lane populated with scrapbook artifacts that present an archive of Sebastian’s life.

159 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.

Terminal 3

Director: Asad J. Malik

Terminal 3 is an interactive augmented-reality documentary that explores contemporary Muslim identities in the U.S. through the lens of an airport interrogation. As viewers put on the Hololens, they step into the uncanny to directly interrogate, and determine the fate of, the hologram passenger before them. These interrogations become strikingly personal encounters that only end when the participant decides whether the hologram should be let into the country or not — but there is a twist.

198 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.


The Goodnight Show

Director: Charlie Schwan

Being a virgin isn't the end of the world, but when the world is actually ending, the stakes are higher. Tragic hero Samuel embarks on a quest to lose his virginity before it's too late.

35 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.

So You Like the Neighborhood

Director: Jean Pesce

After Wendy gets dumped and then evicted from her Brooklyn apartment, she befriends some locals, who offer to help her with the eviction. The thing is, they’re mafia members, and by “help,” they mean something more nefarious.

65 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.

The Velvet Underground Played at My High School

Directors: Robert Pietri, Tony Jannelli

This animated short recounts the Velvet Underground's first gig — in 1965, in front of a crowd of shocked kids at a suburban New Jersey high school.

115 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.

Support the next Tribeca Film Festival premiere — explore live Film projects on Kickstarter.

    1. Missing avatar

      jeffmartin19 on

      Such movies are really about art unlike those we are watching in the cinema and on TV today! I wish such festivals were held more often for people involved getting money and enthusiasm for future projects. Keep it up!
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