Blog Post

Fox in the hen house: Kickstarter backed short wins Oscar

Inocente, the story of a 15-year-old San Diego homeless girl wanting to become an artist, won the Oscar Sunday for best short documentary. It was also the first Kickstarter-funded film to win an Academy Award. It was one of the three Kickstarter-funded films nominated for an award; the other two being Kings Point and Buzkashi Boys. So far six Kickstarter-funded films have been nominated for Oscars.

Kickstarter is slowly and surely becoming a major force in the film business, something I noted in my post earlier this year. The Inocente win comes close on the heels of Kickstarter-backed films taking center stage at the Sundance Film Festival. According to Kickstarter, the total amount of dollars pledged to Film and Video projects is, as of today, $104.9 million. And in 2012, Kickstarter saw $57.96 million dollars pledged and 3,891 successfully funded projects in 2012.

When I interviewed Kickstarter CEO Perry Chen last year, I asked him if Kickstarter could perhaps upend the institutional control of the creative industries. Here is what he said:

we’re used to this industrial creative complex of movie studios, record labels and production houses. It wasn’t always that way. This is relatively recent in human history….any dent we can put into the machine we’re happy to do. I think we’re already seeing it. A lot of these things that are getting funded would not have been funded in any way.

Looks like fox is in the henhouse.

2 Responses to “Fox in the hen house: Kickstarter backed short wins Oscar”

  1. Matt Eagar

    I’m not sure the “industrial creative complex” has been all that bad for us. In the past, patronage was hard to come by, and entertainment pickings were slim. Mass distribution of entertainment gave it a scale that enabled the creation of all kinds of new genres and forms of expression. Patronage never went away, really (we still have the National Endowment for the Arts, private commissions, etc) – but it was dwarfed by the larger institutions.

    What Kickstarter has created is not a reversion to the old world of patronage (thank goodness), but something completely new, in which “average” (middle class) people can fund things that interest them. It’s definitely exciting, but I don’t think it will supplant the studios and production houses any more than they have supplanted patronage.

    • Vera Comment

      “I’m not sure the “industrial creative complex” has been all that bad for us”

      face it, you’re not getting a movie/book/song deal unless the entertainment execs think it’s a good idea – read – return on investment – which is why there are so many terrible Transformer movies out.. it’s also why a show like Twilight continues to live and Deadwood was killed after three seasons.

      digital mediums and crowd sourced funding put the art back in the Arts. and let the little guy focus on what they want to do

      (I have little to no interest in what BMI/Warner/Sony/Universal say is good music)