These Kickstarter-Funded Films Are Headed to the 2019 Sundance Film Festival

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For the eighth year, Kickstarter creators will bring their documentaries, narrative features, shorts, and series to Park City.

This year, we’re thrilled to share that nine Kickstarter-funded projects will be making their way to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah (January 24—Feb 3, 2019), joining the 123 Kickstarter-funded documentaries, features, shorts, and series that have been invited to screen at the fest since 2011.

From Jimmie Fails and Joe Talbot’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco to Knock Down the House, a documentary following the campaigns of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and three other women running for U.S. Congress in the 2018 midterm elections, this year’s selected films push forward new narratives, showcase emerging talent, and enhance the way we tell stories on-screen.

Kickstarter’s Film team will also be at Sundance this January, hosting events, panels, and parties at the Kickstarter Lodge and cheering on creators at their films’ world premieres. (Follow @Kickstarter on Instagram for live updates from the mountain.)

“So many of these films began as projects on Kickstarter years ago,” says Kickstarter’s Director of Documentary Film Liz Cook. “It’s a true testament to the time, grit, patience, and care these filmmakers bring to the stories they tell.”

Films include Knock Down the House, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Mrs. Purple, and more.

Read on to learn more about the selected films.

Knock Down the House, U.S. Documentary Competition
Directed by Rachel Lears

Directed by Rachel Lears, Knock Down the House is a story “about power and what it takes to achieve it.” Filmed before, during, and after the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, the documentary follows four women—including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the recently elected 29-year old Representative from The Bronx—as they run for Congress during a time of political turmoil.

Ms. Purple, U.S. Dramatic Competition
Directed by Justin Chon

In his follow-up to the Kickstarter-funded feature Gook (winner of the NEXT Audience Award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival), Justin Chon tells the story of two Asian-American siblings growing up in LA’s Koreatown. “The extreme emotions between brothers and sisters have such an amazing range,” he says, “from an undeniable bond of family to knowing just the right buttons to cause the most pain.”

The Last Black Man in San Francisco, U.S. Dramatic Competition
Directed by Joe Talbot

Writer and actor Jimmie Fails and director Joe Talbot collaborated to create this narrative feature about life and identity in a rapidly changing San Francisco. In it, Fails dreams of reinhabiting his grandfather’s former Victorian home, but feels as though the city—and his future—is moving on without him.

Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins, Documentary Premiere
Directed by Janice Engel

Outspoken columnist. Best-selling author. Southern spitfire. Directed by documentarian Janice Engel and co-produced by native Texan Carlisle Vandervoort, this documentary traces the life of larger-than-life journalist Molly Ivins, a.k.a. “six feet of flame-haired Texas trouble.”

Give Me Liberty, NEXT
Directed by Kirill Mikhanovsky

Funded on Kickstarter in 2015, Kirill Mikhanovsky and Alice Austen collaborated to create this dark comedy based on Mikhanovsky’s own experiences growing up as a Russian immigrant in Milwaukee during the 1990s.

Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, Indie Episodic
Created by Becky Sloan, Joseph Pelling, and Baker Terry

In 2014, London-based directing duo Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling ran a Kickstarter project for their puppet-led web series Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared. Now, they’re bringing a half-hour pilot based on the series to viewers at Sundance as part of the fest’s Indie Episodic programming.

Crude Oil, U.S. Narrative Short Film
Directed by Christopher Good

The second short film from music video director Christopher Good follows a character named Jenny who breaks away from a toxic friendship to harness a magical superpower. Andreina Byrne, Tipper Newton, and Josh Fadem round out the cast of Good’s raw and stylistic film.

The Rat, U.S. Narrative Short Film
Directed by Carlen May-Mann

Filmmaker Carlen May-Mann is inspired by films that deal with “the terror that emerges from below the surface of our daily lives.” At Sundance, she’ll premiere The Rat, a short in which an enamored couple makes an unexpected detour to a haunted house on Halloween night. “I want to tell a story that speaks to the unique ways that we are always frightened,” she says.

Lavender, U.S. Narrative Short Film
Directed by Matthew Puccini

In 2017, Brooklyn-based filmmaker Matthew Puccini’s short The Mess He Made premiered at SXSW and was later featured by Short of the Week. His newest short, Lavender, is a raw and realistic portrayal of a young gay man as he grows increasingly entangled in the marriage of an older couple.

Will you be at Sundance too? Get in touch with our Film team at