Rough Cut: Apply to Host a Work-in-Progress Screening at Kickstarter HQ

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Making movies is tough, but thrilling. And there’s nothing more thrilling for filmmakers than to see the fruits of their labor in post-production and eventually on to festivals and distribution. But there are countless challenges along the way, and filmmakers must to be able to step out of the edit and see their work on a larger format in order to be able to fine-tune it and, ultimately, lock picture.

Kickstarter’s Film team wants to ease the financial pressure on alumni filmmakers in post-production who are looking for a venue to screen their work. So, earlier this year, we decided to open our fifty-seat theater at our headquarters in Brooklyn to select Kickstarter alumni with films nearing completion. This gives them the chance to show their works-in-progress to funders, collaborators, and test audiences. For some of them, it will be the first time they see their work on a big screen.

As part of this program, which we’re calling Rough Cut, directors Anthony and Alex screened an edit of their Kickstarter-funded documentary Susanne Bartsch: On Top at Kickstarter’s HQ last year. The film recently had its world premiere at the Hot Docs documentary film festival in Toronto, and the directors are currently seeking distribution.

“It can be so difficult to secure a theater space on a limited budget, and the opportunity to screen our work-in-progress at Kickstarter’s theater made the experience so much easier,” Anthony and Alex said. “Susanne [Bartsch] hadn’t seen even a moment of the film at that point yet, and the theater was the perfect place for her to experience it for the first time.”

Another Kickstarter alumnus, Ema Ryan Yamazaki, screened a rough cut of her documentary Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George's Creators at the Kickstarter theater. It recently played at several festivals, including the L.A. Film Festival, and is now available to stream online.

“As an independent filmmaker making her first film, the opportunity to have a rough cut screening in a proper theater — free of charge — was invaluable,” said Yamazaki. “Not only did it give me a goal to push toward (making a presentable cut for the screening), but watching the film with an audience was a completely different experience from watching it by myself on my computer. I was more alert and sensitive to what was and wasn’t working. It made clear what work was left to do before the film was ready to be released to the world.”

If you’re a Kickstarter Film alum and would like screen a rough cut of your film at our office in Brooklyn, you can fill out this application. Our theater is available Monday–Thursday from 6–8:30 pm. Filmmakers must have run a Kickstarter campaign for the project they want to screen in order to be eligible for the Rough Cut program.