In March, Seed&Spark and Project Greenlight Digital Studios announced the world’s first crowdfunding rally. The Untold Story Crowdfunding Rally was created to find “the next great untold story in documentary,” accepting submissions in search for feature documentaries on stories and perspectives not seen before.
The ten finalists were announced today, and from vertical farms to Native American comedians, the chosen stories certainly are untold. The finalists had to raise $10,000 in crowdfunding money on Seed&Spark in order to qualify, and now will have the chance to will $20,000 in finishing funds for their projects, distribution in millions of homes, and $5,000 in data storage.
“We are excited not only to celebrate the finalists, but to celebrate all participants who made of the most of the rally and used it to spread the word about their unique stories, connect with their core audience, and raise at least $10,000 for their film,” said Emily Best, CEO of Seed&Spark, in a statement. “In the worst case scenario, filmmakers who finished this rally have money to make their movies, an audience to watch it, and an extra $8k in resources in the form of our Filmmaker Gift Box – the point of a rally is actually that everyone gets to advance their project forward.”
The choice of winner will fall to a panel of judges, which includes documentary critics, festival programmers, experienced documentarians, and Sundance veterans. The winner of the Untold Story Crowdfunding Rally will be announced on August 11th.
Read more about the finalists and their projects below.
“Building the American Dream” (Chelsea Hernandez): In Texas, undocumented immigrants make up half of the million construction workers in Texas and face exploitation and lack of proper safety training.
“Devoti Tutti” (Bernadette Wegenstein): Devoti Tutti uses citizens – including a 13-year-old street girl, a weathered fisherman, and more – to retell the story of Saint Agatha of Catania from a feminist perspective.
“The Great Flip Off” (Dafna Yachin): When Ringling Bros. eliminated their three-ring circus, it marked the death of the original circus act. Find out how extreme bareback families are fighting against extinction.
“Hearts of Glass” (Jennifer Tennican): Can a vertical farm with a social mission nourish a community & become a model for others? This project captures the drama of the 1st year of operation of Vertical Harvest, a cutting-edge greenhouse in the heart of Jackson, Wyoming.
“A punk Daydream” (Jimmy Hendrickx): Despite Indonesia’s extreme social, political, and environmental conditions, the continent has the largest growing punk community in the world; see it through the eyes of punk youth.
“Rez Comedy” (Robert Fairbanks, Jon Roberts): Two Native American comedians set off on an adventure across the country to meet with comedians from other reservations on their way to Hollywood California.
“Risking Light” (Dawn Mikkelson): From a mother’s meeting with her child’s killer to a genocide survivor’s decision to turn away from vengeance, Risking Light explores the act of forgiving the unforgivable.
“Shadows of the Valley” (Josh Webb): When cartel wars erupt in the Valley of Juarez, a missionary is placed on a drug lord’s hit list.
“The Ties That Bind” (Diana Newton): A searing look at a Southern family wrestling with each other and their beliefs, exposing the culture wars at play below the surface.
“Time Well Spent” (James Fazio): Four boys who have survived homelessness, poverty, abuse, and death band together to take the surf trip of a lifetime and celebrate their worth, as well as their future.