Count 'Em: Kickstarter's Seventh Go-Around at the Sundance Film Festival

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"Gook," 2017 Sundance Film Festival

Kickstarter celebrated some major milestones at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. It was the seventh year that Kickstarter-funded films have screened at the Festival, with two of our alumni winning major awards. Indiewire’s online gallery presented a nostalgic timeline of Kickstarter’s journey with the Festival and the Institute, and showcased the breadth of films and diverse creators who have run bold engagement campaigns that put them on the road to Sundance success and beyond.

Since 2011, 106 films that started as Kickstarter campaign seeds have blossomed into beautiful films premiering at Sundance. Kickstarter’s ongoing partnership with Sundance Institute has mentored, advised, and supported more than 430 filmmakers (and counting!) who have run impactful campaigns. At the 2017 Festival awards ceremony, we cheered loud when Justin Chon’s Gook won the NEXT Audience Award and Jennifer Brea’s Unrest won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing.


More than 40 Kickstarter alumni had projects at this year’s Festival, including Gillian Robespierre, Stanley Nelson, Dee Rees, Terence Nance, Pamela Yates, Brett Haley, Michael Almereyda, Dustin Guy Defa, and more.

The Kickstarter Lodge on Main Street in Park City hosted dynamic, intimate events with partners including Firelight Media, Field of Vision, Skylight, Film Comment, Indiewire – who all work to provide valuable resources for the indie film community. Kickstarter’s film team (Liz Cook, Director of Documentary Film; and Elise McCave, Director of Narrative Film) met with creators, industry members, marched in the Women’s March, and participated in insightful interviews with outlets likeThe Daily Buzz (KCPW) (take a listen!) to shout out how we partner with filmmakers to create effective campaigns. McCave also participated in the newly revamped sixth annual Creative Distribution Boot Camp, where she dispensed advice and best practices along with festival filmmaker Amman Abbasi (Dayveon) and Institute staffer Liz Manashil.

Sundance alums, including Stanley Nelson, Andrew Ahn, Penny Lane, Pamela Yates, also chatted with our editorial team to reflect on the “future of film” by answering questions about their influences, impact, diversity and where the field is heading.

The Kickstarter Film Team comprises Liz Cook, Director of Documentary Film; Elise McCave, Director of Narrative Film; and David Ninh, Film Media Relations.

Lead photo:

"Gook," 2017 Sundance Film Festival