It is Sundance time in America. And what that means it is time to stand up and take note of Kickstarter for the role it is playing in the development of an independent creative movement. In the film and video category alone, New York-based Kickstarter’s impact is notable.
On its website, it notes:
In the past 3 years, Kickstarter inspired filmmakers to launch 20,000+ projects, accounting for over $100 million of the $450 million pledged to date. 19 KS-funded films — 10% of the slate — were official Sundance 2012 selections, with 4 award winners!
Since its early days, the total amount of dollars pledged to Film and Video projects is, as of today, $104.9 million. And the total number of successfully funded projects is 8,680. In 2012, Kickstarter saw $57.96 million dollars pledged and 3,891 successfully funded projects.
Most of the attention accorded to Kickstarter is because of gizmos and gadgets like the Ouya gaming platform or the Pebble Watch. But since its very beginning it has provided crowd funding for creative projects – music albums, documentaries and feature films. When I interviewed Kickstarter CEO Perry Chen last year, I asked him if Kickstarter could perhaps upend the institutional control of the creative industries. Here is what he said:
we’re used to this industrial creative complex of movie studios, record labels and production houses. It wasn’t always that way. This is relatively recent in human history.
…any dent we can put into the machine we’re happy to do. I think we’re already seeing it. A lot of these things that are getting funded would not have been funded in any way. People are watching films that were made on Kickstarter and playing games that were made on Kickstarter. I think the big media companies are going to continue to have things that they’re going to keep making for the mass audiences, but we hope we’re eating away at the bad stuff.
Three Kickstarter funded films — Kings Point, Buzkashi Boys and Inocente — became the fourth, fifth and sixth films to be nominated for Oscars. Add the good stuff at Sundance, and Kickstarter’s young CEO might be getting his dream of eating at the bad stuff come true.