The Kickstarter Blog

Zombies with Hearts and Brains

  1. Lolotte, Pearl, and In The Chair: a Shout-Out to Shorts

    As we explored back during Kickstarter Film Week, "Film & Video" has always been the dominant project category on site, accounting for more than $25 million of over $70 million pledged. More than 250,000 people have backed a film on Kickstarter, and there have been over 3,000 successfully funded film projects so far. While features tend to get more of the press, short films are an absolutely crucial part of any filmmaker's journey, and we see an awful lot of wonderful shorts coming to life through Kickstarter. 

    As most filmmakers can attest, short films put you on the map. They play important festivals, they win awards, they inspire investors. Short films make people take notice, and they are what allow you to make more films, be they shorts or features. But even beyond building a resume and network of support, short films are just plain awesome. They can take you on a wonderfully weird journey in the time it takes you to run a mile. They can expose incredible truths while the turkey bastes. They can break your heart in eight minutes flat. In many ways, short films are bread and butter of what makes Kickstarter go. And we're real glad about that. Here are a few currently funding shorts we love:

    LOLOTTE - a short film project video thumbnail
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    "Set in a small French coastal town during the winter, Lolotte is an intimate character piece about the last day a father and daughter spend together." Writer/Director Felix Thompson is no stranger to short filmmaking. His previous two shorts, Bedford Park Boulevard and The Third One This Week both premiered at SXSW; Bedford Park went on to play Tribeca, London, and Vancouver film festivals, and Third One screened in over 70 cities worldwide. As the creative director of Buffalo Picture House, we trust Thompson knows a bit about creative directing, and we look forward to seeing Lolotte trot the globe.

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    "Pearl, based on the poem of the same name by former US Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser, is the story of a man traveling to tell his mother's last living cousin that his mother has passed away. During their visit, an intriguing revelation occurs. Pearl is a story of transitions, from one phase of life to the next." Writer/Director/Actor, Dan Butler (Frasier) was immediately drawn to the project as he felt a strong sense of connection to Kooser's Midwestern roots. He knew exactly what house he wanted to shoot in and his dream actress to play the title role. That Tony Award-winning theater, film, and TV actress, Frances Sternhagen (Sex & The City), agreed, and now Butler and Producer Richard Waterhouse seek funds to complete Pearl and share Kooser's story on the festival circuit.

    In the Chair project video thumbnail
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    While commercial cinema has oft portrayed the barbershop as a place full of caricatures and stereotypes, young filmmaker Melina Greene hopes to offer an alternative. For In The Chair, Greene explains, "I would like to portray a different side of the beauty salon microcosm. I want to create a subjective experience for the viewer — the experience, as I know it." She hopes to capture a more authentic experience on film by featuring the frenzied sights, sounds, thoughts, and feelings that take hold within the real cacophony of a salon. In The Chair will be shot from the point of view of a Kayla, a young woman who comes to a Bedford Stuyvesant salon for the first time. If Greene's project video is any indication of the film to come, we can't wait to see it!

  2. Unite and Take Over!

    Unite and Take Over: comic stories inspired by the Smiths project video thumbnail
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    The unifying theme to this comics anthology is the type of simple, brilliant premise that feels inevitable. It's as if there was an empty space in the universe just waiting to be filled with this project, that asks its contributors one question as a jumping off point:

    What story plays in your head when you listen to your favorite Smiths song?

    The story that plays in my head mostly involves too much red wine and crying into a leather-bound journal, but that is why I do not make comic books.

    The project's creator, Shawn Demumbrum — who owns an indie press called Spazdog, which he named after his comicbook store — had always wanted to collaborate with some of his favorite fellow comic book creators to make an anthology. He knew that making an anthology based on a theme everyone loved would be the most fun, and whose capital-F Feelings are a better unifier of comic book nerds than those of the master of melancholy himself, Steven Patrick Morrissey?

    (For those of you wondering, the first Smiths song Shawn ever listened to was "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack in high school.)

    Shawn set out to make what was essentially a comic book among friends, by local artists he'd gotten to know through his own involvement in the community. He launched a project with his "setlist" of 13 contributors, just like an album, and all inspired by different Smiths songs. "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before," "How Soon Is Now?" "Pretty Girls Make Graves," and "Girlfriend in a Coma," all make appearances. Visions of Super-Moz dance in my head.

    When I checked out the project for the first time, all I could think was: "Why is this so perfect?" Maybe it's the idea of the unlikely hero, the precise yet open-ended theme, or the fact that the ethos of indie comics and the mythos of The Smiths go together so damn well, but we aren't the only ones who seem to think so.

    Unite and Take Over still has nearly a month to go, and it's already tripled its goal and gotten coverage from media outlets like the Guardian, Galley Cat , and Paste Magazine, just to name a few.

    What this means for the book is that the "setlist" has nearly doubled — from 13 up to 25 — and the pages have climbed from pocket-sized to nearly 200. Shawn is currently in the middle of getting the rights to all the Smiths songs and is already planning Volume 2. It's just one of those ideas that everyone wants to be a part of.

    Shawn, if you're reading this, think about this for Volume 2:

    "Asleep," featuring wine, crying, journaling, and passing out on your mom's couch. 

    I can't draw, but I do have Feelings.

    An early draft of the Kickstarter-exclusive cover — illustrations of Smiths cover band lead singers.
    An early draft of the Kickstarter-exclusive cover — illustrations of Smiths cover band lead singers.
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