Thousands of films get their funding on Kickstarter, but so far in the site’s history, only three have made their way to the Academy Awards. February 24, that number will double, when documentary shorts Kings Point and Inocente and live action short Buzkashi Boys arrive at the ceremony.
Buzkashi Boys is a production of the Afghan Film Project, an NGO based in Kabul that conducts two-week workshops with promising local filmmakers to bolster the native Afghan film industry. The film was a natural fit for Kickstarter, striking as it does the twin bells of social good and entertainment–but it wasn’t what they went for first says the film’s producer Ariel Nasr. No two films funded through Kickstarter are alike, but Nasr’s experience with Buzkashi Boys contains a handful of important things for filmmakers to keep in mind.
IF YOU’VE BEEN IFFY ON KICKSTARTER, IT’S TIME TO RECONSIDER
When Nasr and his team were starting to raise money in late 2009 and early 2010, Kickstarter “seemed a bit like a fringe way to raise money,” he says. “Frankly, we just didn’t know.” But by early 2012, when they found themselves out of funds, Kickstarter had matured. “We underestimated it, so we put our focus on other things,” Nasr explains. “We didn’t have any idea how powerful it was.”