One Million People Have Supported Documentary Film on Kickstarter

Share this post

Thousands of documentary filmmakers have turned to Kickstarter over the last seven years to galvanize communities, engage audiences, and make beautiful films. More than one million people from around the world have now supported their work. Today we’re shining a spotlight on some of the amazing things that couldn’t have happened without the help of this impassioned community:

  • One million people have collectively backed more than 12,000 documentary film projects — and more than 5,000 of those projects have been successfully funded.
  • Documentaries are now backed more than 600 times every day. In Kickstarter’s first year, they were backed just 18 times a day.
  • To date, $120 million has been pledged to documentary film on Kickstarter.
  • Of the one million people who have supported documentary film on Kickstarter, more than 460,000 of them have backed projects in other creative categories as well.

Kickstarter-funded documentaries have been honored on the world’s biggest stages, from Tribeca, Sundance, and Cannes to Sheffield, Slamdance, and TIFF. To call out just a few: Alison Klayman’s Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance. Sean and Andrea Fine’s Inocente took home the Oscar for Best Documentary Short. Rodney Ascher’s Room 237 played Sundance and Cannes in the same year. And Brian Golden Davis’s The Million Dollar Duck won both the Jury and Audience Awards at Slamdance earlier this year. There are dozens more outstanding documentaries you can watch right now.

Sean and Andrea Fine with subject Inocente Izucar win the Oscar for Best Documentary Short for Inocente in 2013.
Sean and Andrea Fine with subject Inocente Izucar win the Oscar for Best Documentary Short for Inocente in 2013.

The spectrum of docs on Kickstarter tell powerful and poignant stories that educate, entertain, heal, move the masses, and inspire change. Here are some notable trends we’ve seen emerge in documentary film:

Female Filmmakers Telling Important Stories

Bustle recently proclaimed, “Thanks to platforms like Kickstarter, people can help fund projects by female directors and prove there is a place for movies made by women.” Dawn Porter’s Trapped and Martha Shane and Lana Wilson’s After Tiller both explore reproductive rights. Amanda Micheli’s Haveababy chronicles the struggles of infertility. Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall’s Call Me Kuchu tackles LGBT oppression. And Shaleece Haas’ Real Boy examines transgender rights through one teenager and musician’s transition from female to male. Each has been brought to life by a vibrant backer community committed to amplifying urgent stories. 

Amanda Micheli’s Haveababy
Amanda Micheli’s Haveababy

Literary Giants

Book lovers support their literary heroes and back films that delve into their life stories. From Joan Didion and Kurt Vonnegut to farmer-activist Wendell Berry and groundbreaking science fiction and fantasy writer Ursula K. Le Guin, we've seen biopics that spotlight some of the world’s most celebrated authors find tremendous support from the community of documentary fans on Kickstarter.

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time
Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time

Powerful Female Biopics

The inspiring stories and legacies of high-profile female pioneers have been honored on Kickstarter. They include documentaries on Dr. Maya Angelou, New York party queen and LGBT activist Susanne Bartsch, teenage Olympian boxer Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, and previously undiscovered photographer Vivian Maier (nominated for an Oscar in 2015). Recent documentaries center around stories of brave women doing extraordinary things. Breast cancer survivor Paulette Leaphart’s 1,000-mile march is at the heart of the upcoming Scar Story, and Naomi Kutin, profiled in Supergirl, is an 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl and record-holding power lifter.

Galvanizing Communities, Making Change

Director Jehane Noujaim’s emotionally and politically charged The Square spotlighted revolutionary young Egyptians amid the chaos of Cairo’s Arab Spring, and went on to earn an Oscar nomination. Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution showcased the significance of The Black Panther movement, played major festivals, enjoyed a theatrical release, and aired on PBS earlier this year. Josh Fox raised more than $100,000 to bring his environmental film, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, to 100 cities. David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall’s Thank You for Playing centers around the parents who designed the emotional video game That Dragon, Cancer as a response to their young son’s struggle with the disease. The Kickstarter campaign raised funds for an impactful community tour and led to additional screenings set by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

Jehane Noujaim's The Square
Jehane Noujaim's The Square
Cultural Icons 

The three most-funded documentaries on Kickstarter are all biopics chronicling the lives of iconic creatives with passionate followers: a musician, a scientist, and a sci-fi legend. Alex Winter’s Who the F*@% Is Frank Zappa? was funded thanks to 8,688 Zappa fans who pledged more than $1.12 million. It surpassed the previous documentary record holder, the Bill Nye Film, which raised $859,000 from 16,850 backers. And right behind Nye is Adam Nimoy’s moving tribute to his father, Leonard, For the Love of Spock, which raised $662,000 from 9,439 backers.

Alex Winter’s Who the F*@% is Frank Zappa
Alex Winter’s Who the F*@% is Frank Zappa

The one million of you who have supported documentary film on Kickstarter have empowered new generations of diverse, talented storytellers to turn the spotlight on thousands of important and inspired stories from around the globe. Now more than ever, it’s essential to keep developing these new voices and supporting the stories they’re working to bring to life. Thanks for being such a huge part of this community.

    1. Missing avatar

      Rakesh Raja on

      lucky patcher
      lucky patcher for change features of your applications

    2. tayzac on

      thanks for sharing

    3. Missing avatar

      deepweblinks on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    4. Missing avatar

      Μπεχρακη Εβιτα on

      After reading your articles i became very keen follower you..
      very interesting article, great list…

    5. umedsinghola on

      we witnessed and experienced moments of transformation in how the work for justice lives inside of us # Packers And Movers Bangalore # Movers And Packers Whitefield Bangalore # Packers And Movers Marathalli Bangalore #Packers And Movers Koramangala Bangalore #Packers And movers indranagar bangalore # Packers And Movers BTM Layout Bangalore # Movers And Packers Whitefield Bangalore #Packers And Movers Electronic City Bangalore # Packers And Movers JP Nagar Bangalore] #Packers And movers hebbal bangalore

    6. umedsinghola on

      This is an excellent article written by you. please more Information share :- # packers and movers pimple saudagar pune # Movers And Packers kalewadi Pune # Movers And Packers Pimple Gurav Pune # Movers And Packers Ahmednagar # Movers And Packers Udaipur

    7. umedsinghola on

      [url=]Packers And Movers Pune[/url]
      [url=]Movers And Packers Pune[/url]
      [url=]Packers And movers Warje Pune[/url]
      [url=]Packers And movers undri Pune[/url]
      [url=]Movers And Packers hinjewadi pune[/url]
      [url=]Movers And Packers wakad pune[/url]
      [url=]Movers And Packers kothrud pune[/url]
      [url=]Movers And Packers chakan[/url]
      [url=]Movers And Packers bavdhan Pune[/url]
      [url=]Movers And Packers talawade Pune[/url]
      [url=]Movers And Packers sangvi Pune[/url]
      [url=]Movers And Packers solapur[/url]
      [url=]Packers And Movers Magarpatta CityPune[/url]
      [url=]Packers And Movers Vimannagar Pune[/url]
      [url=]Packers And Movers Nanded[/url]
      [url=]Packers And Movers Ahmednagar[/url]
      [url=]Packers And movers pune kalyani nagar Pune[/url]
      [url=]Packers And movers pune kharadi Pune[/url]

    8. Missing avatar

      fathur on…………………………………

    9. shikha varma on

      Your website content is fabulous and awesome but I would like to say your website also good. Thanks for sharing... Keep it up..
      With the many years of experience in supporting people with this requirements and colossal assortment of packers and movers organizations Chennai, we require push to invest you with the better choices. In this way, how about we come us and get help with the best help.

    10. Missing avatar

      Muhamad Fathurrohman on…………………

    11. Missing avatar

      Maltezos Starozlis on

      very interesting article, great list…

    12. Missing avatar

      gurgaonpackers movers on

      one of the best also visit :-

Line icon alert icon Artboard Copy 8 arrow-down icon arrow-down arrow-left icon arrow-left arrow-point-left icon Fill 1 Copy 5 arrow-point-right icon Fill 1 arrow-right icon arrow-right arrow-up-right icon icon--arrow-up-right copy bar-chart icon Artboard Copy 6 bell icon Combined Shape Copy 5 book icon Artboard Copy 3 bookmark icon Fill 1 brand-assets icon Artboard Copy 13 cart icon Artboard Copy 4 chat icon chat check icon Fill 1 Copy 6 circle-back icon Fill 1 Copy 13 circle-forward icon Fill 1 Copy 16 circle-k icon circle-k circle-left icon circle-left circle-right icon circle-right clipboard icon Artboard Copy 12 clock icon Combined Shape close icon close closed-caption icon Fill 1 compass icon Combined Shape Copy 2 conversion icon conversion delta-down icon Fill 1 delta-left icon delta-right icon Fill 1 delta-up icon Fill 1 duplicate icon duplicate embed icon Combined Shape Copy 6 eye icon Combined Shape Copy 12 facebook-contained icon Facebook Contained facebook icon Facebook logo flag icon Fill 1 Copy 3 gear icon Fill 1 Copy 14 global-africa icon Fill 1 Copy 9 global-america icon Fill 1 Copy 10 global-asia icon Fill 1 Copy 17 graph-bar icon Combined Shape Copy 9 graph-line icon Combined Shape Copy 16 heart icon Fill 1 Copy 8 help icon human icon icon--human icon--alarm icon icon--alarm icon--alert icon icon--alert icon--arrow-down icon icon--arrow-down icon--arrow-left icon icon--arrow-left icon--arrow-right icon icon--arrow-right icon--arrow-up-right icon icon--arrow-up-right icon--arrow-up icon icon--arrow-up icon--backer-badge icon icon--backer-badge icon--bell icon icon--bell icon--bolt icon icon--bolt icon--bookmark-outline icon icon--bookmark-outline icon--bookmark icon icon--bookmark icon--calculator icon icon--calculator icon--calendar-check icon icon--calendar-check icon--calendar icon icon--calendar icon--campaign-outline icon icon--campaign-outline icon--check icon icon--check icon--chevron-down icon icon--chevron-down icon--chevron-left icon icon--chevron-left icon--chevron-right icon icon--chevron-right icon--chevron-up icon icon--chevron-up icon--circle-around icon icon--circle-around icon--circle-back icon icon--circle-back icon--circle-forward icon icon--circle-forward icon--circle-loader icon Page 1 icon--circle icon icon--clipboard icon icon--clipboard icon--clock icon icon--clock icon--closed-caption icon icon--closed-caption icon--code icon icon--code icon--collapse icon icon--collapse icon--commissions icon icon--commissions icon--compass icon icon--compass icon--confirmation icon icon--confirmation icon--conversion icon icon-conversion icon--cpu icon icon--curve-right icon icon--curve-right icon--cross icon icon--cross icon--delta-down icon icon--delta-down icon--delta-left icon icon--delta-left icon--delta-right icon icon--delta-right icon--delta-up icon icon--delta-up icon--download icon icon--download icon--ellipsis icon icon--expand icon icon--expand icon--external icon icon--external icon--eye icon icon--eye icon--facebook icon icon--facebook icon--filter icon icon--filter icon--flag icon icon--flag icon--frown-filled icon icon--frown icon icon--gear icon icon--gear icon--globe-africa icon icon--globe-africa icon--globe-america icon icon--globe-america icon--globe-asia icon icon--globe-asia icon--graph-bar icon icon--graph-bar icon--graph-line icon icon--graph-line icon--happy-filled icon icon--happy icon icon--heart-outline icon icon--heart outline icon--heart-thin-outline icon Fill 1 icon--heart icon icon--heart icon--home icon icon--home icon--home-with-door icon icon--human icon icon--human icon--humans icon icon--humans icon--image icon icon--image icon--inbox icon icon--inbox icon--info icon icon--info icon--instagram icon icon/instagram icon--lightbulb icon icon--lightbulb icon--link icon icon--link icon--lock-black-bg icon lock-icon icon--lock icon icon--lock icon--mail icon icon--mail icon--meh-filled icon icon--meh icon icon--menu icon icon--menu icon--message icon icon--message icon--mobile icon icon--mobile icon--overflow icon icon--overflow icon--pause icon icon--pause icon--pencil icon icon--pencil icon--pin icon icon--pin icon--pinterest icon icon--pinterest icon--play icon icon--play icon--plus-human icon icon--plus-human icon--plus icon icon--plus icon--prohibit icon icon--prohibit icon--project-budget icon icon--pull-quote icon icon--pull-quote icon--question-filled icon icon--question-filled icon--question icon icon--question icon--reorder icon icon-reorder icon--reply icon icon--reply icon--save icon icon--save icon--saved icon icon--saved icon--search icon icon--search icon--section-break icon icon--section-break icon--small-k icon icon--sound-hi icon icon--sound-hi icon--sound-lo icon icon--sound-lo icon--sound-mute icon icon--sound-mute icon--star-outline icon Star Outline icon--star icon icon--star icon--subtitles-captions icon icon--subtitles-captions icon--text-bold icon icon--text-bold icon--text-bullet icon icon--text-bullet icon--text-italic icon icon--text-italic icon--textalign-centered icon icon--textalign-centered icon--textalign-right icon icon--textalign-right icon--thumbs-down icon icon--thumbs-down icon--thumbs-up icon icon--thumbs-up icon--thumbsdown-outline icon icon--thumbsdown-outline icon--thumbsup-outline icon icon--thumbsup-outline icon--trash icon icon--trash icon--tumblr icon icon--tumblr icon--twitter icon icon--twitter icon--unlink icon Artboard icon--unlock icon icon--unlock icon--update-freeform-round icon icon--update-freeform-round icon--update-freeform icon icon--update-freeform icon--update-pinned icon Artboard icon--update-qa-round icon icon--update-qa-round icon--update-qa icon icon--update-qa icon--upload icon icon--upload icon--video icon icon--video icon--youtube icon icon--youtube icon-imagealign-center icon icon-imagealign-center icon-imagealign-left icon icon-imagealign-left icon-imagealign-right icon icon-imagealign-right info icon Combined Shape Copy instagram icon instagram copy kickstarter icon Artboard Copy 5 leaf icon leaf lightbulb icon icon--lightbulb link icon Combined Shape Copy 8 loading-spin icon lock icon Combined Shape Copy 4 mail icon Combined Shape map-pin icon Fill 1 menu icon Group message icon Fill 1 Copy 12 mobile icon Page 1 Copy 2 pause icon pause copy pencil icon Combined Shape Copy 3 pin icon Combined Shape Copy 11 pinterest icon pinterest play icon play copy plus-human icon icon--plus-human plus icon Fill 1 Copy 7 question icon Combined Shape Copy 14 search icon Fill 1 Copy 11 shapeshift icon share icon Fill 1 Copy slash icon solid-arrow icon solid-arrow sound-hi icon Combined Shape sound-lo icon Combined Shape sound-mute icon Combined Shape star icon Fill 1 Copy 2 stopwatch icon Group 2 thumbs-up icon Shape tools icon Shape trash icon Combined Shape tumblr icon tumblr copy twitter icon twitter copy user icon Artboard Copy 10 volume-up icon Artboard Copy 9 warning icon Combined Shape Copy 10 write icon Artboard Copy 11 x icon Fill 1 Copy 4 youtube icon Combined Shape