Drum Roll, Please... Kickstarter-Funded Films at Sundance!

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Over the past couple of weeks — and with much anticipation! — the team at Sundance Film Festival has been revealing selections for January's fest. Now that most of the featured flicks have been announced, we're thrilled to report that, for the fifth year in a row, a bold selection of Kickstarter-funded works will be included. Hooray! 

This year at Sundance, we'll be crossing our fingers for a great roster of docs and dramatic features in competition for major awards: NUTS!, Spa Night, Trapped, and When Two Worlds Collide. Documentary premieres include Film Hawk, Maya Angelou and Still I Rise (this team deserves major kudos for reaching their funding goal just a few short weeks ago), and Unlocking the Cage

A must-see event taking place at the festival will be Behind the Scenes with Anomalisa, featuring a special screening and Q&A with the film's creators, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson (and, not to mention, we're sending major congrats to the Anomalisa team for snagging a Golden Globes nomination for Best Animated Feature). We're also tremendously excited to report that The Skinny — created by and starring YouTube filmmaker Jessie Kahnweiler, & co-starring Illeana Douglas — also made it into the Special Events section. Additional shorts in the mix include The Itching (Animated), The Procedure (Midnight), and Catching up (U.S. Narrative), and and The Send-Off (Documentary Shorts). In addition, River of Grass is being unearthed from the Sundance Collection at UCLA for a special screening, which Kickstarter helped to restore.

Sundance takes place Jan. 21-31, 2016, and the Kickstarter film team will be on the ground in Park City to cheer along and celebrate with the remarkable storytellers who brought these films to life. We also have some very exciting events in the works for the Sundance lineup, so stay tuned! We can't wait to see you there. Hooray for independent film!

Since 2011 Sundance Institute and Kickstarter have partnered to mentor and advise Alumni Projects through the Institute's Artist Services Initiative, which provides support and strategy for Creative Funding, Marketing, and Distribution to independent films.

ANOMALISA, Paramount Pictures © 2015 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
ANOMALISA, Paramount Pictures © 2015 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

The full roundup of Kickstarter-funded films in the mix:

NUTS! | Director: Penny Lane | U.S.A. | World Premiere | U.S. Documentary Competition 

The mostly true story of Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, an eccentric genius who built an empire with his goat-testicle impotence cure and a million-watt radio station. Animated reenactments, interviews, archival footage, and one seriously unreliable narrator trace his rise from poverty to celebrity and influence in 1920s America.

Nuts! directed by Penny Lane
Nuts! directed by Penny Lane

Trapped | Director: Dawn Porter | World Premiere | U.S. Documentary Competition

American abortion clinics are in a fight for survival. Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws are increasingly being passed by states that maintain they ensure women’s safety and health, but as clinics continue to shut their doors, opponents believe the real purpose of these laws is to outlaw abortion. 

When Two Worlds Collide Directors: Heidi Brandenburg, Mathew Orzel | Peru | World Premiere | World Cinema Documentary Competition

An indigenous leader resists the environmental ruin of Amazonian lands by big business. As he is forced into exile and faces 20 years in prison, his quest reveals conflicting visions that shape the fate of the Amazon and the climate future of our world. 

Spa Night Director and screenwriter: Andrew Ahn | U.S.A. | World Premiere | U.S. Dramatic Competition

A young Korean-American man works to reconcile his obligations to his struggling immigrant family with his burgeoning sexual desires in the underground world of gay hookups at Korean spas in Los Angeles. 

Spa Night
Spa Night

Film Hawk | Directors: JJ Garvine, Tai Parquet | U.S.A. | World Premiere | Documentary Premieres 

Trace Bob Hawk's early years as the young gay child of a Methodist minister to his current career as a consultant on some of the most influential independent films of our time.

Maya Angelou and Still I Rise | Directors: Bob Hercules, Rita Coburn Whack | U.S.A. | World Premiere | Documentary Premieres 

The remarkable story of Maya Angelou — iconic writer, poet, actress and activist whose life has intersected some of the most profound moments in recent American history.

Maya Angelou and Still I Rise
Maya Angelou and Still I Rise

Unlocking the Cage | Directors: Chris Hegedus, Donn Alan Pennebaker | U.S.A. | World Premiere | Documentary Premieres 

Follow animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. By filing the first lawsuit of its kind, Wise seeks to transform a chimpanzee from a "thing" with no rights to a "person" with basic legal protection.

Behind the Scenes of Anomalisa | Directors: Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson, Screenwriter: Charlie Kaufman | U.S.A. | Special Events 

Michael Stone—husband, father and respected author—is crippled by the mundanity of his life. On a business trip, he checks into the Fregoli Hotel. He’s amazed to discover a possible escape from his desperation in an unassuming woman, who may or may not be the love of his life. The Festival will present a screening of the film followed by a Q&A with the creators. Separately, they will speak on a Festival panel explaining their creative process and how they brought their extraordinary film to life. 

The Skinny | Director and screenwriter: Jessie Kahnweiler | U.S.A. | World Premiere | Special Events

Follow feminist and wannabe YouTube star Jessie as she struggles to live, love, and get over her bulimia. The Festival will premiere six 10-minute episodes, followed by an extended Q&A with Kahnweiler. 

The Itching | Director and screenwriter: Dianne Bellino | U.S.A. | Animated Shorts 

In this parable, a shy wolf tries to connect with a group of hip, party-loving bunnies but finds her body is in revolt.

The Itching
The Itching

The Procedure | Director and screenwriter: Calvin Lee Reeder | U.S.A. | Midnight Shorts

A man is captured and forced to endure a strange experiment.

Catching Up | Director and screenwriter: Bill Crossland | U.S.A. | U.S. Narrative Shorts 

A physically disabled high school teacher seeks assistance from his cynical friend after falling in love with an able-bodied co-worker. This funny and dramatic examination of disability, sex, and love stars real people with disabilities.

The Send-Off | Directors: Ivette Lucas & Patrick Bresnan | U.S.A. | Documentary Short Films

Emboldened by a giant block party on the evening of their high school prom, a group of students enters the night with the hope of transcending their rural town and the industrial landscape that surrounds them.

River of Grass | Director: Kelly Reichardt | U.S.A. | From the Collection

River of Grass, Kelly Reichardt’s debut feature, chronicles the misadventures of disaffected housewife Cozy and her lover, the aimless layabout Lee. Reichardt describes the film, shot on 16mm, as “a road movie without the road, a love story without the love, and a crime story without the crime.” Cast: Lisa Bowman, Larry Fessenden, Dick Russell, Stan Kaplan, Michael Buscemi. Premiered at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival. Preserved by Sundance Institute, Oscilloscope Laboratories, the UCLA Film & Television Archive and TIFF.

River of Grass
River of Grass
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    1. Abeer FJ on

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    5. Cabe Lindsay on

      Another excellent Kickstarter-supported documentary didn't make the cut at Sundance this year: Wild Family. This is our debut feature film, and it's a world-shaker for sure! Sundance is missing out. :) Here's the Kickstarter project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wildfamily/wild-family-a-film-to-free-the-child-inside

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    15. Quiana Kyles on

      To, see the project for Maya Angelou is so awesome! Her, creative legacy lives on through so many whom have gone without notice. She(through her lyrical legacy) have passed on her element of creative expression to me...I, am because she believed enough to dream....Thank, you!

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