The Kickstarter Blog

SXSW Film Festival Recap — 6 Award Winners, Blue Like Jazz, Girl Walk, Trash Dance, and More!

  1. Double Fine Day

    On February 7, a project called Double Fine Adventure launched, and along with it a record-setting 24 hours. Things haven't really slowed down since. A third project reached $1 million, another revived an all-time great series, and 33 Kickstarter-funded films made it into SXSW. It's been a memorable month.

    On Tuesday that month was bookended by Double Fine's big finish, commemorated with a live stream of the project's champagne-soaked countdown. The final tally? A startling $3.3 million pledged from 87,141 people. It wasn't that long ago that 87,000 people had even heard of Kickstarter.

    Though yesterday wasn't quite the crazy 24 hours we experienced in February, it was close. From major new records ($1,664,432 was pledged yesterday, breaking the original Double Fine day record) to big debuts to exciting discoveries, March 13th was a day to remember.

    Wasteland 2 Launches

    Double Fine creator Tim Schafer closed their livestream with an impassioned speech: "I don't want to say this is the end of the game publishing as we know it," he said, adding: "I'm sure a few games will still need publishers."

    Yesterday brought maybe the first glimpse of the post-Double Fine world. A new game project called Wasteland 2 launched with a big $900,000 goal. The original Wasteland was a beloved 1988 RPG and the inspiration for the popular Fallout series. Produced by the well-regarded Brian Fargo, the project is Double Fine-like in its ambition, approach, and underdog origins.

    Also like Double Fine, Wasteland 2 is off to a stunning start. The project raised more than a half a million dollars in its first 24 hours, and it's on its way to becoming the fourth million dollar project already this year. Don't miss the project video, which cleverly satirizes what some developers go through to get their games made.

    Blue Like Jazz premieres

    In 2010 a project launched for a film called Blue Like Jazz. The project ended up raising nearly three times its $125,000 goal, and it still stands as Kickstarter's largest film project.

    Last night Blue Like Jazz made its world premiere at SXSW to a great response. However there was something unusual about the film itself. Here's a picture of its credits, snapped at the premiere by our own Elisabeth Holm:

    See the long, blurry list of names on the right-hand side? Those are the names of the film's 799 Associate Producers. Even for an indie movie that's a lot of producers! But those folks were actually Kickstarter backers who pledged $100 for the honor. Their names scrolled through the entire Blue Like Jazz credits, and ended up being even longer than the credits themselves. Crazy!

    SXSW News

    Blue Like Jazz wasn't the only Kickstarter news out of SXSW yesterday:

    • There was big news for the Kickstarter-funded doc Brooklyn Castle. The film tells the story of the best junior high chess team in the country, which happens to be from a poor Brooklyn school. Yesterday it was announced that mega-producer Scott Rudin, the very same guy who is turning the Kickstarter-funded Indie Game: The Movie into an HBO series, has optioned the documentary's fiction rights. Congrats to them!
    • Trash Dance, a documentary about a ballet starring Austin's sanitation workers, made a hometown premiere and got two standing ovations. We've seen the film and can attest to its tear-jerking greatness.
    • And we can't forget yesterday's premiere of one of our favorite projects everSpace Ducks, musician Daniel Johnston's first-ever comic book. The literary debut was celebrated with a crazy party at SXSW featuring the Kickstarter-funded R. Stevie Moore, Built to Spill, and others. We wish we were there!

    Lost Da Vinci Found

    Finally, yesterday brought perhaps the most unexpected milestone of all. 

    Last fall a National Geographic photographer launched a Kickstarter project to find a Da Vinci painting historians believed was hidden behind a centuries-old mural in an Italian church. While the Kickstarter project came up short of its goal, yesterday researchers announced that they believe they've found the painting in that exact spot! It's a mystery novel with an unbelievable ending. Watch the project video above for the whole story.

    Congratulations to everyone on their remarkable achievements and another incredible day. Way to go!

  2. Projects in the News

    Every week, we round up some of the stories about projects that made it into the press. We're happy to see them out there in the real world, and excited to share their progress with you! Read on.

    Jake Coyle of The Associated Press wrote a story examining Kickstarter's role in bringing indie film projects to life: "Just as 'Girl Walk // All Day' transforms familiar landscapes, the source of much of its funding — the crowd-financing website — has electrified the traditional structures of filmmaking. Girl Walk // All Day, a dance-music film not easily categorized, was enabled by Kickstarter. After creating an eight-minute internet video, the movie's director, Jacob Krupnick, put in a request to Kickstarter's community for various levels of investment from interested fans. With options like $50 for an associate producer credit and $500 for a dance lesson, he hoped to raise $5,000. He got nearly five times that."

    A scene from Mosquita y Mari, a story about two Chicanas falling in love.
    A scene from Mosquita y Mari, a story about two Chicanas falling in love.

    Nishat Kurwa of NPR's "All Things Considered" produced a segment on the narrative feature film project Mosquita y Mari, and its recent journey to Sundance: '"That's when I decided to turn to my community, and that's when everything changed,' [filmmaker Angela Guerrero] says. She decided to raise the entire production budget of $80,000 by soliciting small, individual donations via Kickstarter. With two days left before her deadline, she still had $35,000 to go. Her filmmaking and online communities swung into action. 'I mean it was just ... wild,' Guerrero says. 'People were Facebooking, tweeting ... everyone was rooting for Mosquita y Mari to make it.'"

    Alysia Santo of Columbia Journalism Review kicked off a regular series set to examine journalism projects getting their start on Kickstarter: "Each week, dozens of journalistic endeavors turn to Kickstarter for funding. Pitching media projects to this online community brings another meaning to the concept “public interest journalism”; success depends on how intrigued people are by the pitch. From the hugely popular to the barely noticed, CJR’s Kickstarter Chronicles is a weekly look through some of these journalistic proposals." Projects featured in the inaugural post include: Bring Back the Bushwick News, Billionaires and Ballots, The American Festival Culture, Matter and The Encyclopedia Game.

    Angela Watercutter of Wired thoughtfully explored a number of projects that worked their way to Austin this week for SXSW: "With just a month before her unfinished documentary would premiere at South by Southwest, the director Kristy Guevara-Flanagan faced an unexpected task: Scraping together $15,000 for editing, travel and other costs associated with taking her movie about superheroines to the film festival in Austin, Texas... The indie spirit embodied and enabled by the crowd-funding trend speaks to the DIY ethos at the heart of SXSW, the annual event where the music, film and internet worlds collide and intertwine for a certain kind of March madness."

    Still from Discovery Channel's "Daily Planet" show featuring a Skallops sculpture.
    Still from Discovery Channel's "Daily Planet" show featuring a Skallops sculpture.

    The Discovery Channel's show "The Daily Planet" featured the recently successful design project, Skallops. Tune in to the 3'24'' mark for an eight foot model of the Eiffel Tower that a local design club built in six hours to show what the Skallops can do.

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