6 Kickstarter-Funded Films Win Awards at SXSW

Jim Cummings’ Kickstarter-funded film ‘Thunder Road’ took home the Grand Jury Award for Narrative Feature at SXSW. Photo: David Ninh
Jim Cummings’ Kickstarter-funded film ‘Thunder Road’ took home the Grand Jury Award for Narrative Feature at SXSW. Photo: David Ninh

This year, eleven Kickstarter-funded films screened at the SXSW Film Festival. Today, we’re delighted to announce that six of those films went on to win a total of seven awards.

Jim Cummings took home the Grand Jury Award for Narrative Feature for his Kickstarter-funded film, Thunder Road, while Kickstarter alum Hao Wu won the Grand Jury Award for Documentary Feature for his new film, People’s Republic of Desire.

“It’s always been Kickstarter’s aim to be the the home of exceptional, creatively ambitious film projects that explore the form to the fullest. We’re so proud of the Kickstarter-funded SXSW award winners, who all more than meet that aspiration,” says Elise McCave, Kickstarter’s Director of Narrative Film. “Congratulations, everyone — we can’t wait to see what you make next.”

Read on to learn more about these six films, and join us in giving a big round of applause to the filmmakers who received awards this year — and the backers who made these films possible.

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RiffTrax Talks B Movies, Joke-Writing, and Milk Duds

Bill Corbett, Michael J. Nelson, and Kevin Murphy (a.k.a. RiffTrax) at a live ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000' reunion show
Bill Corbett, Michael J. Nelson, and Kevin Murphy (a.k.a. RiffTrax) at a live ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000' reunion show

This post originally appeared on the Drip blog

Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy, a.k.a. RiffTrax, are responsible for some of the best jokes about the worst movies of all time.

Their hilarious film commentary anchored the show Mystery Science Theater 3000 from 1988 to 1999. After MST3K’s final season, the trio took their schtick on the road, riffing on B horror and sci-fi films at live screenings and online. They’re currently running their sixth Kickstarter project to host two live events, where they’ll riff on MST3K favorite Space Mutiny and the swashbuckling cult classic Krull.

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Meet the Next Wave of Mexican Filmmakers

The team behind the documentary short, Anita
The team behind the documentary short, Anita

Versión en español a continuación. 

The Guanajuato International Film Festival presents twelve projects from emerging filmmakers.

A young man who believes he can save the world with a tweet. A musical duo connecting with their neighborhood through hip-hop. A community of children who use golf as both an escape and a source of hope against all odds.

For the second year in a row, Kickstarter is partnering with Mexico’s Guanajuato International Film Festival (GIFF) to feature projects by emerging filmmakers in Latin America. Representing a wide array of perspectives and cinematic visions, they offer a snapshot of the future of film in Mexico.

Each year, the festival includes two initiatives dedicated to young creators: Identidad y Pertenencia (Identity and Belonging), a program of six documentary shorts that explore the concept of national and regional identity from a personal point of view; and Rally Universitario (University Rally), which features six narrative shorts made by university students from all over Mexico, selected by the festival to receive resources and training to complete their film projects.

Keep reading to learn about the twelve projects headed to GIFF this July.

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Building a Home for Book Arts in London


Artists Simon Goode and Ira Yonemura opened the London Centre for Book Arts in 2012 to provide an open-access work space and resources to people interested in book-binding, printing, and self-publishing. "People work on all sorts of different projects [here]. Some of them are artists, some are craftspeople, some are hobbyists," Goode says.

The studio’s membership swelled over the years, and the pair started talking about what it would take to expand the Centre. “We knew that we wouldn’t be able to do it in our own,” Yonemura says. So in July 2017, they launched a Kickstarter project to expand into a new studio, planning to host workshops and special events, house a new library and reading space, and purchase new equipment. And with the support of 470 backers, the pair raised £24,000 (over $33,000) to expand the London Centre for Book Arts.

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11 Kickstarter-Funded Films to Watch at SXSW 2018

Photo by Carol Watson, courtesy of SXSW.
Photo by Carol Watson, courtesy of SXSW.

Meet a pepperoni-loving Instagram celebrity in the throes of an identity crisis. Hear the stories of the women who fought for social reform during Nicaragua’s 1979 Sandinista Revolution. Learn about the man behind the papier-mâché mask of a beloved Manchester comedian.

This year, eleven Kickstarter-funded films will screen at SXSW, ranging from inventive narrative films like Nijla Mu’min’s Jinn and Charlene de Guzman’s Unlovable to powerful documentaries shedding light on social issues past and present like Nick Budabin’s Chi-Town and Jenny Murray’s ¡Las Sandinistas! — and much more.

Join us in congratulating the Kickstarter creators whose films will screen at this year’s festival, and read on to learn more about them.

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Introducing Kickstarter Patrons

Kickstarter is a place where the world can value creators for the value they bring to the world. Since our launch in 2009, more than 14 million people have directed $3.1 billion dollars to independent creators here. Today we're happy to announce the launch of a new program to bring them even greater support — Kickstarter Patrons.

Kickstarter Patrons is a pilot program we’re developing, which creates a bridge between institutions that champion creative projects, and the creators bringing those projects to life. Patrons can be nonprofit or for-profit, but they all share our belief that creative works are essential to a healthy and vibrant society.

Each Kickstarter Patron we select for the program makes a public commitment to support campaigns through a series of pledges that are $1,000 or greater. Our team then points them toward projects that align with their mission. And they select which projects they want to get behind just as any other backer would, to push them one step closer to reality and follow the journey along the way. Patrons create a profile where anyone can learn more about them and see the projects they support.

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Bento Lab: Making DNA Analysis More Accessible

One of the things that really excites me about DNA is that it’s almost like a map of your future,” says microbiologist Bethan Wolfenden, co-founder of Bento Lab.

As a PhD student, she and her partner, Philipp Boeing, wanted to create an an easy-to-use tool that would allow anybody interested in working with DNA to conduct a simple genetic analysis. So they designed Bento Lab — a small, portable machine that could do just that.

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