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For the eighth year in a row, Kickstarter creators will debut a diverse slate of film projects at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, April 18–29. Twelve Kickstarter-funded films will screen at the festival, including including six documentaries, three shorts, two virtual-reality films, and one major restoration of an award-winning indie classic from the 1990s.

The filmmakers in this year’s lineup work in a range of cinematic disciplines, and have made use of Kickstarter in different ways. With the support of their backers, Anthony Jannelli and Robert Pietri were able to animate their short film about The Velvet Underground’s disastrous first public performance; Asad J. Malik developed the technology to make his augmented-reality documentary about the experiences of Muslims living in the United States possible; and Charlie Schwan and Adrian Siordia designed the apocalyptic 1970s/1980s setting of their darkly funny short film.

Join us in congratulating all of the Kickstarter creators whose films are premiering at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, and read on to learn more about them.

All film descriptions courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival.

Documentary Competition

United Skates

Directors/producers: Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown

Credited with incubating East Coast hip-hop and West Coast rap, America’s roller rinks have long been bastions of regional African-American culture,...

A couch is much more than a piece of furniture. Each couch has a personality, a heart, and a soul. Many of the most pleasant moments of our lives are spent in the warm embrace of a couch. 

And so, at PAX East this year, April 5–8, we wish to welcome you to Kickstarter's Couchland. We will have not one but four couches for you to settle into and play some excellent games — couches from different lands and different times, each with their own personality, all waiting to guide you gently through Couchland.

Here are the games you can expect to encounter at Couchland:

But there will be more than just games and couches in Couchland. We've also scheduled a series of small talks by excellent people who wish to inform and enlighten. Rob Daviau of Restoration Games wants to make you scones; game developer Swery wants to make you coffee; and Indie MEGABOOTH’s Kelly Wallick wants to make you sane. Each talk is set for an audience of just twelve...

[Our] products need to invite chance and accident in the way that they’re made — an element where you lose control and you don’t quite know how the product will end up when you start making it.

Granby Workshop is an architectural ceramics studio founded by the Turner Prize-winning design collective Assemble. The workshop grew out of a larger effort to revitalize Liverpool’s Granby neighborhood, producing distinctive architectural materials to renovate local homes and creating new manufacturing jobs within the community.

In the video above, Assemble designer Lewis Jones and Sumuyya Khader of Granby Workshop discuss their design process and offer a look at how they prepared to launch their first Kickstarter project, for a line of ceramics called Splatware.

“[Kickstarter] felt very appropriate for the work that we’re doing here, which is really community-driven, based around not any single person’s idea or interest, but around what comes when lots of people get together,” Jones says.

The project was successfully funded in October 2017 with the help of 808 backers.

Discover more Kickstarter creator stories here.

Ready to launch your own Kickstarter project? Get started here.

We’ve got a few nice product improvements to talk about today, including the debut of the Creator Dashboard in the Kickstarter Android app.

In case you haven’t seen it on our site or iOS app, the Creator Dashboard gives creators a bird’s-eye view of the latest activity on a live or completed project. In the latest update to our Android app, the dashboard offers:

  • An overview of funding progress. 
  • A breakdown of the most popular rewards. 
  • The top sources of pledges. 
  • Quick access to messages, as well as all the projects you’ve launched or collaborated on.

This upgrade to our Android app is available right now.

Here’s an upgrade that will make both creators and backers happy: On our site and in both of our apps, project videos now display in HD. That’s 216% more pixels than before. We’ve also added adaptive streaming, meaning we adjust the video quality based on the speed of your internet connection.

Project videos that were uploaded on or after Feb. 19 will automatically display in HD. Creators who uploaded videos before then are welcome to re-upload them to take advantage of the improved pixel count.

We’ve also improved the process of starting a new Kickstarter project on our site, giving more context to creators as they pick a category for their project, describe their idea, and select their location. And we’ve added a new project overview page that helps creators keep track of what’s left to do before they launch....

As part of our mission to help bring creative projects to life, we're always looking for ways to help artists and creators find the support and resources they need to make their ideas a reality.

Last year, we launched the Creators-in-Residence program at Brooklyn HQ. Over the course of three residencies, we welcomed more than thirty Kickstarter creators into the building. They accomplished a lot: they launched campaigns, created and produced new work, shipped thousands of rewards, and hosted performances, workshops, and events.

Here are some highlights:

How do you get into running if you find it, well, boring? If you’re Adrian Hon, you turn it into a mobile game — with zombies.

In 2011, the CEO and founder of the independent games developer Six to Start partnered with writer Naomi Alderman to create Zombies, Run!, an audio-based game that transforms your run into an adrenaline-fueled adventure during the zombie apocalypse.

“Kickstarter seemed like an obvious idea for Zombies, Run! as a way to find out whether people even cared about [our] idea and whether they were willing to put money behind it,” Hon says.

As it turns out, people were downright ravenous for the game. Nearly 3,500 backers supported the project — and soon, fans were asking when the second season would be released. In addition to recording over 3,000 minutes of audio, the team released a Zombies, Run! book, hosted virtual races, and even funded a Zombies, Run! board game on Kickstarter in 2016 with the help of over 2,000 backers.

Zombies, Run! came from me wanting to scratch an itch,” Hon says. “I knew that if no one else cared about it, at least I would have bought Zombies, Run! [for myself] when it came out. I think that’s where the best ideas come from.”

Learn more about the Zombies, Run! journey in the video above.

Watch more Kickstarter creator videos here.

Ready to launch your...

As a college student, songwriter Julia Nunes began sharing her music on YouTube. “I thought you just put your stuff there and you could send it to someone, but no one [else] is going to find it,” she says. So she was stunned when the videos began racking up views and reaching total strangers.

Suddenly, she found herself touring with her musical idols — she’s played with Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, and Weezer, among others — and thinking about releasing an album.

“I never thought I could have a sustainable career [as a musician],” Nunes says. “The world of the music-industry machine didn’t interest me.” But she did have a cache of songs she wanted to record with the help of a producer.

She launched a Kickstarter project to record her first album in June 2011, hoping to raise $15,000. She hit her goal within the first 24 hours, and wound up raising over $75,000 with the help of over 1,500 fans. “I was blown away,” she says. Since then, she’s launched two more projects, in January 2015 and January 2017.

“I think of [Kickstarter] like my record label,” Nunes says. “Instead of record executives, I have an audience that lets me know what my budget for the record is. You can make it as big or as small as your people want it to be.”

Learn more about...

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.


Thunder Road 

Winner, Narrative Feature Competition 
Director: Jim Cummings

Jim Cummings came to...

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.

In the meantime, MST3K creator Joel Hodgson rebooted the series with the help of 48,270 backers on Kickstarter, and the new season is available to stream on Netflix.

As longtime Kickstarter creators whose projects are routinely supported by thousands of faithful fans, and as some of the first creators on Drip, we asked RiffTrax to share their wisdom (and witticisms) with us. At the end of February, we partnered with Drip to host a Twitter AMA in which they answered fans’ questions about how they’ve...

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.

Identidad y Pertenencia (Identity and Belonging): Documentary Shorts

El Proyeccionista
By Marcelo Briceño

Filmmaker Marcelo Briceño tells the story of Jorge Reyes, who has been working as a film projectionist for over forty years...

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.

In the video above, Goode and Yonemura talk about why they decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign after years of being entirely self-funded, and what it was like to connect with their community directly through the project.

Discover more Kickstarter creator stories here.

Ready to launch your own Kickstarter project? Get started here.

“Never forget that the truth helps others, and helping others is one of the most fulfilling things you will ever feel.” Charlene deGuzman has built a career on being vulnerable. The writer and actor has amassed some 45,000 followers on Twitter with her earnest, sweetly self-deprecating, uproariously funny tweets. She’s gone viral on YouTube with her short films, which blend personal observation with cultural criticism and mild absurdism — among them I Forgot My Phone, which takes aim at humans’ dependence on their smartphones and attendant distancing from one another. Her debut feature film, Unlovable, based on her own experiences with sex and love addiction, is set to premiere at SXSW in Austin this week, one of twelve Kickstarter-funded films screening at the festival this year. On Twitter, deGuzman’s wisecracks and non sequiturs about completing therapy worksheets and musical reminders of failed relationships and mindless, self-soothing consumerism are interspersed with gentle, genuine advice and affirmations for followers dealing with anxiety and addiction. They’re two facets of the same impulse to share her internal monologue and experiences, using the hyper-specific to hint at emotions that are, if not universal, at...

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.

All film descriptions below courtesy of SXSW.

Narrative Feature Competition

Jinn — World Premiere 

Director/Screenwriter: Nijla Mu’min

A shape-shifting, pepperoni-loving teenage Instagram celebrity explores her identity and sexuality in the midst of her mother’s conversion to Islam.

398 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.

Thunder Road — World Premiere 

Director/Screenwriter: Jim Cummings

Officer Arnaud loved his Mom.

248 backers helped bring this project to...

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.

As we pilot this program over the next year we expect to team with a variety of institutions whose interests and missions represent the diversity of creative disciplines across Kickstarter. And we’ll build on the program to encourage greater connection between Patrons and the creators they support along the...

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.

Wolfenden and Boeing initially hoped to fund the project through grants, but without a professorial pedigree, they found it difficult to raise funds. “Kickstarter was this alternative option where the people that wanted the product could back us and believe in us to the point where we could get [Bento Lab] out in to the world,” Wolfenden says. 

After two years of prototyping, they introduced Bento Lab on Kickstarter in March 2016, and found support from over 700 backers, who pledged more than £150,000 (over $200,000) to help make the project a reality. The device will be included in an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum Museum in London this May.

In the video above, Wolfenden talks about how the project got started, what she learned from running a Kickstarter campaign, and how beta testers have used Bento Lab for some surprising and fascinating projects — including a brewer who’s creating a genetic map...

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Inside “The Felt Cave,” a workshop on a farm in Essex, a few dozen miles north of London, Lucy Sparrow fashions boxes of candy, jars of peanut butter, bottles of grape juice, cans of Coca-Cola, and just about anything else you can imagine out of colorful felt. She’s been working with felt since she was about eight years old — “but now I just take it to extremes,” she says with a laugh.

In January 2014, Sparrow raised over £10,000 (over $13,500) on Kickstarter to create The Cornershop, transforming an abandoned London newsstand into a quaint corner store where everything — from the newspapers to the chewing gum at the cash register to the register itself — was made of felt. And in 2016, she did it again with 8 Till Late, an all-felt convenience store in New York City. It was a sensation, selling out all 9,000 felt objects Sparrow had made by hand for the installation.

In the video above, Sparrow talks about how her immersive felt-art installations came together, the experience of running two successful Kickstarter campaigns, and what it was like to realize that people all over the world wanted to support her art.

“You get out of it what you put in,” Sparrow says of building a successful artistic practice. “You have to work probably ten times harder than you’ve ever worked in any paying job...

Some Kickstarter creators have built up quite a following over time. The writer and publisher Elly Blue, for example, has launched 25 projects, with new fans discovering her work all along the way. So we thought, why not make it easier for people to find specific creators on Kickstarter and check out their latest projects?

Now, when you use the search tool on our site, you’ll see the names of some of our 320,000 creators included in the results when relevant. This feature rolled out to all users today.

Once you find the creator you’re looking for, you can hit the “Follow” button to be notified when they launch a new project.

This is just the latest in a string of upgrades to our search tool over the last few months. It’s now more forgiving and helpful if you misspell a word or it can’t find an exact match. It suggests narrowing your search to areas like Documentary or Graphic Novels, updating its suggestions as you type. And on our mobile site the search results have been redesigned to make them much clearer.

We can tell that the search tool is getting more useful because the number of people who click through from search results to project pages is up by 18%. That means more backers are connecting with more creators — which is, after all, a big part of...

15 student projects from University of Illinois at Chicago School of Design

Every year, we look forward to seeing students from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Design launch Kickstarter campaigns as the final project for their Entrepreneurial Product Development class. For most, it’s their first experience with designing and offering an original product, and we love seeing Kickstarter used as part of this learning process. This year, UIC Professor Ted Burdett is leading the class. As the co-owner of Strand Design, he has created many products of his own, including the Kickstarter-funded Fourneau Bread Oven. Here, he shares a bit of the philosophy behind the class and introduces his students’ work.

When you graduate from design school, you often wind up working for an agency or as an in-house designer at a company. But I’ve noticed that a lot of my students dream of being independent — starting a studio, making things for a living, or pursuing a venture based on a social or environmental mission. Most don’t take that road and it is no mystery why; they’re saddled with debt, have limited experience, and are short on resources. Yet, In many ways there’s no better time to pursue independent creativity than when you’re full of youthful energy, bountiful creativity and optimism, and haven’t got a whole lot to lose.

Blazing an independent path is far more feasible now for young...

Today, I’m happy to announce the appointment of Fabrice Nadjari as our newest Kickstarter Fellow.

Originally from Paris, Fabrice trained as an engineer and a sociologist, specializing in innovation. He then pursued a globe-spanning career as an independent creator and entrepreneur — with his work taking him to places like Bolivia, Bhutan, and the Central African Republic. In 2011, he and a childhood friend set off for Afghanistan, where they shot a photography project documenting the lives of a nomadic tribe in the country’s remote Wakhan corridor. The work caught the attention of the United Nations, earned Fabrice an Emmy nomination, and won accolades from National Geographic.

 Today Fabrice combines his love of culture, creativity, and innovation, helping organizations like UNESCO, the International Center of Photography, and American Ballet Theater bring their work to life through visual storytelling. As a Kickstarter Fellow, Fabrice will work with me to expand our Creators-in-Residence program, to create compelling localized content in various international markets, and to develop new ideas that engage creators across Kickstarter, Drip and The Creative Independent. Our Kickstarter Fellows program is still new. Each Fellow’s tenure and scope is designed to bring their unique expertise to life on a flexible timeline, but they all...