Kickstarter was thrilled to be at Sundance this year, celebrating the accomplishments of the 17 films that raised funds with us and went on to premiere there. (We also had a party.) Some of the exciting news to report back:
Indie Game: The Movie, a feature documentary on the craft of independent video game production that raised funds with a pair of successful Kickstarter campaigns, was optioned by HBO for TV redistribution rights and walked away with the World Cinema Documentary Editing Award. Other notable acquisitions include Katie Aselton's Black Rock, a thriller penned by Mark Duplass and starring Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell, which sold to LD Distribution, and the Chris Crocker documentary Me @ The Zoo, which was also picked up by HBO.
Rodney Ascher's Room 237, a documentary exploring the vibrant, conspiracy-rich, fan culture surrounding Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, enthralled audiences and critics alike, procuring raves from both the New York Times and Wired. Kyle Henry's Fourplay was also well-received by critics, along with Ira Sach's Keep the Lights On.
Terence Nance, director of An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, popped up on Deadline's Sundance Lucky 13 list. (Katie Aselton is also in there!)
NY Times columnist David Carrreflected on Kickstarter's role in the future of independent filmmaking: "...Kickstarter represents a kind of triumph of small numbers. The site and its community have financed almost $50 million in films in the last three years, equally divided between features and documentaries, with a surprising amount of so-called shorts also in the mix."
Alison Klayman accepted a Special Jury Prize in the Documentary category for her film about the life of Chinese activist and artist Ai Weiwei in the cheeky spirit of her subject, asking the audience to raise a "middle finger salute" — a gesture referencing Ai's photographic series "Finger."
Maria White's The Debutante Hunters, her short documentary exploring the culture of a Southern belle cum fierce huntress, won the Short Film Audience Award.
Yancey sat down with Cinespect to talk about crowd-funding, the future of independent film, and Russian oligarchs (tangentially-related): "But what’s exciting is, because of the success that the amateur class has had (and I use the word 'amateur' very lovingly here), and the amount of money they’ve been able to generate, it’s made the professionals more interested. Suddenly, pros are looking at this thing thinking, ‘Maybe I want into that,’ because it seems genuine. And it seems cool, and it seems honest. So you can see how, eventually, the two suddenly intermingle. And consequently you have the really pro, established filmmaker sitting next to the guy who maybe idolizes them. It could be somewhere on the site right now — Hal Hartley’s project sitting next to some kid’s who saw Trust when he was fifteen years old and realized that’s what he wanted to do with his life. And they sit side by side, and that’s really kind of the point: It’s just about making things, no matter who you are."
See the full list of Sundance winners here.