As the number crunchers at Kickstarter point out on their recent blog entry looking back at the three-and-a-half year old company's fundraising successes, the $100 million it has raised is the equivalent of just one bombastic Hollywood production.
But the fact that independent filmmakers have raised these funds from friends, family and strangers on the Internet as donations (with rewards rather than equity given in return) is, indeed, one of the biggest gamechangers in the last few years of independent film. Since launching April 28, 2009, Kickstarter has helped 8,567 film projects raise $85.7 million (with $102.7 million pledged) from 891,979 backers.
The end-of-year blog entry highlights the site's various successes of the past year, but here are some of the biggest landmarks:
- 10% of the lineups at Sundance, SXSW and Tribeca were funded on Kickstarter.
- 86 Kickstarter films have had theatrical releases tracked by Rentrak.
- Eight Kickstarter-funded films are up for Independent Spirit Awards.
- While three Oscar-nominated short films have had Kickstarter campaigns, this year's feature documentary Oscar shortlist includes three Kickstarter films.
The crowdfunding site also got a boost recently when Dallas Mavericks owner and ostentatious angel investor Mark Cuban said in a NextMarket podcast that while investors with business acumen are still needed for startups, "Kickstarter should be a requirement for every startup. It's a way for you to create demand and sell the product without giving up any equity. That is a complement to what an investor might do." (h/t Business Insider)
While Cuban's interests are primarily in his own investing specialty, the tech industry, treating the platform as a marketplace and marketing platform — rather than just a source for funds — will undoubtedly become a trend as Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms become the standard for independent filmmaking.
While Kickstarter has had the most high-profile funded films so far, projects on IndieGoGo have also made major dough. The crowdfunding environment is getting, well, more crowded, with platforms such as Seed&Spark attracting their own high-profile projects. In the case of Seed&Spark, the site launched with a distribution arm that featured films by Ian Olds and the Safdie Brothers.