Doc fests team with crowdfunding platforms

Sheffield Doc/Fest is partnering with IndieGoGo, and Hot Docs is teaming up with Kickstarter on initiatives designed to help docmakers find funding.
April 25, 2011

Crowdfunding, or funding a project through public contributions, has been a financing method employed by scores of documentarians; most notably, by Robert Greenwald, who raised US$267,000 in 10 days via a crowdfunding campaign for Iraq for Sale, and Franny Armstrong, whose crowdfunding efforts for her climate change doc The Age of Stupid paid off to the tune of £1.5 million. Now, two prominent documentary festivals are teaming up with top crowdfunding platforms to facilitate the process.

Earlier this month, Sheffield Doc/Fest and crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo announced a multi-year partnership that will see the creation of the Crowdfunding Fellows initiative, in which the UK documentary conference and festival will choose five projects from IndieGoGo and actively promote them and their funding needs to the international documentary community.

The first five Crowdfunding Fellows projects are: Anyone Can Play Guitar; You’ve Been Trumped; Kettling of the Voices; Victor, Victorioso and Up in Smoke.

“At Doc/Fest we’re passionate about the potential of new technology and new opportunities for funding and distribution,” said Charlie Phillips, director of Sheffield Doc/Fest’s MarketPlace. “Crowdfunding raises finance and builds a community for film projects. It’s the future of collaboration between filmmakers, who can support each other outside of the constraints of both public and private finance. We’re delighted to be working with IndieGoGo to bring these opportunities to a wider community.”

Meanwhile, Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is teaming up with Kickstarter and has launched a Hot Docs-curated page on the Kickstarter site that will feature assorted projects from the upcoming co-financing pitch forum and market, the Hot Docs Forum. Festival organizers say that through its social media networks and onsite promotion, Hot Docs will encourage its public audience of over 130,000, to pledge support for the projects via the crowdfunding site.

Hot Docs Forum pitch projects currently on Kickstarter include: A Fierce Green Fire; When Two Worlds Collide; Within Every Woman; and Uranium Drive-In. Four projects that have successfully completed their Kickstarter campaigns are also featured on the page and will compete in the Forum: The Waiting Room: Sudan at the Crossroads; Finding Vivian Maier; A Whole Lott More; and TPB AFK: the Pirate Bay – Away from Keyboard.

“Of the many sources filmmakers must tap to get documentaries made, crowdfunding offers multiple benefits such as audience building, engagement and financial support,” said Elizabeth Radshaw, Hot Docs Forum and market director. “Kickstarter is charging the path of this growing movement and we’re happy to be collaborating with them to support Hot Docs Forum pitch project campaigns. It is a very exciting way to engage audiences in the making of documentary films.”

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.