Announcing Kickstarter's Creators-in-Residence Pilot Program

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Back Row L to R: Carlos Rojas and Hannah Choe // Front Row: Rekha Shankar, Stephanie Ching, and Ellen Martinez
Back Row L to R: Carlos Rojas and Hannah Choe // Front Row: Rekha Shankar, Stephanie Ching, and Ellen Martinez

As part of Kickstarter's mission to help bring creative projects to life, we're always looking for ways to help artists and creators find the support and resources they need to make their ideas a reality. Today we're happy to announce a new pilot program that aims to do just that — the Kickstarter Creators-in-Residence program.

During this pilot, we're opening our doors in Brooklyn to several Kickstarter alumni as they work on their projects and offer them physical space and other resources they need to complete their projects. This also gives us the opportunity to learn more about the distinct challenges that they encounter and it gives them the chance to learn from each other.

Carlos Rojas and Hannah Choe from the Sons and Daughters of the Incarcerated team
Carlos Rojas and Hannah Choe from the Sons and Daughters of the Incarcerated team

Some background on how this came about: Last fall, New York-based author, designer and illustrator Adam J. Kurtz asked if we had any extra space available in our office for him to work out of. For a few weeks, he used our office as his reward packaging and shipping center. A light bulb went on –– and we started thinking about what a formal Kickstarter residency program would look like.

So last winter, we put out a call to creators in the New York City area who had recently run a project on Kickstarter. We’re very proud to announce that the teams behind three projects recently started their residencies at Kickstarter HQ this spring. All of them happen to be working on film and video projects. In addition to the space, we’re offering the residents resources like equipment and helping to promote their films to press. Here’s some information about these teams and their projects:

After Spring

Ellen Martinez and Steph Ching are the team behind After Spring, a feature documentary about the Syrian refugee crisis. They will be spending their time at Kickstarter packing up and shipping out the rewards from the After Spring campaign, as well as developing their new international documentary series. After Spring was executive produced by Jon Stewart, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and was broadcast on STARZ in February. Ellen and Steph are recipients of the Frontline Award for Documentary Journalism and are MacArthur Foundation grantees. Before directing After Spring, Steph was associate producer and additional editor on the Emmy nominated documentary Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. Her other passions include volunteer work and she made several trips to Sichuan, China, to film testimonies with survivors of the 2008 earthquake. Ellen was associate producer on Tested, a feature documentary about NYC standardized testing, and she’s worked on various NYC-based films.


Rekha Shankar is the creator and co-star of Hustle, a video-game-themed series about two women of color chasing creative dreams while fighting the super-villain of unequal opportunity. During the residency, Rekha and her team will be filming and producing their next episode inside Kickstarter’s HQ. Rekha is a Brooklyn-based comedian and filmmaker, has written for comedian Hari Kondabolu, Reductress, and MTVNews, and has produced videos for Clickhole. You can see her work on and catch her on Harold Night at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

Rekha Shankar and actor Tom White from Hustle
Rekha Shankar and actor Tom White from Hustle

Sons and Daughters of the Incarcerated

Director Denali Tiller (named one of ‘110 Filmmakers to Watch’ by Variety Magazine in 2015) and Producer Rebecca Stern will be editing and finalizing their documentary Sons and Daughters of the Incarcerated with their editing team of Carlos Rojas and Hannah Choe. The film is an extension of Denali’s thesis film at the Rhode Island School of Design and is her feature filmmaking debut. The film is an intimate view of childhood through the eyes of Tre, Maison and Dasan –– three boys whose lives are complicated by having a parent in prison. Following their interweaving trajectories through boyhood, and directly through their perspectives, the audience experiences the challenges of growing up, resiliency, and what it means to become a man. These children represent three separate and diverse experiences of having a parent in prison, tied together through the thread of boyhood. Through the families, and the filmmaker’s unprecedented access to the Rhode Island Correctional Facility, the film patiently immerses the audience, allowing the viewer to connect with these children for who they are.

We’re excited not only to share our space with these creators, but to work alongside them as they put the final touches on their films. We’re looking forward to learning from their experience and working on making this program available to more creators in the future. If you’d like to learn more about the Creators in Residence pilot, write to us at 

    1. Missing avatar

      Marty Stanton on

      Would you consider creators who have never run a crowd funding campaign. And by any chance do you know any alumni who have conducted successful crowd funding campaigns that would consider partnering with newbie creators. kinda like they share their experience for part of a startups stock.

    2. Ezra Soiferman on

      Love the idea! I'm the artist in residence at Tweed up in Canada. Tweed is Canada's largest cannabis company.

      You can read more about what I've been up to during my residency here:

      Here's to more companies offering residencies to artists. Great going, Kickstarter!


    3. A/V8D on

      Fascinating. Pure incentive. One more reason to launch. Thank you.

    4. Heaven 11 Audio on

      Excellent initiative...and a good way to exchange about challenges and to be motivated by other people's successes.

    5. Missing avatar

      patricia on

      Fascinating and inspiring!
      json editor @