Kickstarter and Film

Share this post

It's Film Week on the Kickstarter Blog! All week we’ll be examining Kickstarter’s relationship to film through a variety of perspectives, including a number of the most successful films in Kickstarter history. There will be essays, interviews, surveys, videos, and much more. Check back throughout the week!

Over Kickstarter's first two years, film has been the dominant category on the site, accounting for more than $25 million of the $70 million pledged. More than 250,000 people have backed a film on Kickstarter, and there have been nearly 3,000 successfully funded film projects so far. There have already been more than 1,000 funded this year alone.

In Hollywood $25 million may not be a lot of money (that's low budget in some corners) but for filmmakers using Kickstarter it's been life-changing. Even before Kickstarter, to be a filmmaker meant to be a perpetual fundraiser, whether it was applying for grants or wining and dining some acquaintance's rich uncle for a big check (and hoping that he didn't ask that his lovely, non-acting daughter get the lead role in return).

Kickstarter has not replaced that experience, but it has made it public. This is important. While a similar level of energy is going into the fundraising process, with Kickstarter that experience simultaneously builds an audience, seeds an idea into the public consciousness, and markets a project from its inception. This can shift fundraising from a necessary evil to a tremendous opportunity.

We've seen a number of projects take advantage of that in a very big way. Five Kickstarter-funded films premiered at this past year's Sundance Film Festival (Pariah, Resurrect Dead, The Strange Ones, The Woods, and The Catechism Cataclysm), a dozen have seen theatrical release (more on that later), and one (Sun Come Up) was nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject at this past year's Oscars. 

It was the quality of the work itself that earned those plaudits, of course, but the Kickstarter process provided each with a unique narrative element. We got to know who was making these films, how they got there, and what was driving them. These are the things that we as audiences want to know, and that studios normally try to answer with expensive marketing campaigns and hype barrages that have little to say about the work itself.

The 250,000 people who have backed a film project on Kickstarter now have deep relationships with those films, and it wasn't because a studio executive gave a green light. Instead, they saw and responded to all the things that made us fall in love with film in the first place: good stories, honestly told, and with a happy ending for the filmmaker and their backers. Those are the sequels we're happy to see.

Comments
    1. Marc Smolowitz on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    2. Jenny Feterovich on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    3. Kevin Tostado on

      We could have released our film in New York theaters without the money we raised on our Kickstarter campaign.
      Kevin Tostado
      Producer/Director, "Under the Boardwalk: The MONOPOLY Story"
      http://kck.st/ebcqSm

    4. Kevin Tostado on

      Darn it, I mean't couldn't. NOT could.

    5. Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    6. Jeri Rafter on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    7. Yancey Strickler
      Superbacker
      on

      Hey everyone -- Comments need to be relavant to the post itself. Please do not just drop links to your project in the comments. Those posts will be deleted. Thanks!

      Yancey

    8. Frank Kelly on

      Very Cool! Looking forward to this! I've had two films partially funded through Kickstarter 140, and now Derelict! So it's been huge for me.

    9. Timothy Holloway on

      This is awesome! It gives indie filmmakers like myself hope for our projects. Kickstarter RULES!

    10. amy mcgee on

      Love it! Many congratulations to all of the @Sundance Alumni making movies using Kickstarter! I can't wait to see the films come to fruition...!

    11. Strider Moore on

      this is super kewl!! :) Kickstarter i think is one of the best ways to fund film projects for independent film makers . Keep up the good work

    12. tranvia films on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    13. Moon Molson on

      The short film CRAZY BEATS STRONG EVERY TIME also premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Thanks for noticing, Kickstarter. :P

    14. shafeeq muhammad on

      Only time will tell but Im getting a little Buzz on my facebook
      Thanks kickstarter!

    15. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    16. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    17. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    18. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    19. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    20. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    21. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    22. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    23. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    24. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    25. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    26. Missing avatar

      lflb81 on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    27. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    28. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    29. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    30. Missing avatar

      business partners on

      There is always going to be two periods in the life of every creative person... BK, before Kickstarter. AK...after Kickstarter.

    31. Robert F. Stewart on

      Dear Kickstarter,
      The stats you posted onthis article are indeed impressive. Kudos!! We were fortunate enough to be able to fund our film but that is all we could do - thats the reason we posted our project here and hope to be able to raise the money to make the festival tour. It is very heartening to know that so many film makers have had success here! Keep up the good work!
      RFS

    32. Missing avatar

      Doa Ibu Tersayang on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    33. Missing avatar

      teguhbejo on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.