While Kickstarter fans and filmmakers eagerly await the 2015 Kickstarter Film Fest, I have a problem with this year’s event. Although the Kickstarter Film Fest will keep some of its charm (hey, it’s still free), it will lose what made last year’s so great— the Kickstarter community feel.
New York’s 2014 Kickstarter Film Fest took place at the Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn. The park was covered with blankets, picnic baskets and friends. A stage welcomed local performers. Further back, snack and dessert shops lined up with visitors buzzing about the exotic dishes. Neighbors talked to one another and sneaked wine in thermals. It was an open community of happy people waiting for the night sky to take over so the films could begin. People didn’t mind waiting for the show to start, sitting on uneven ground, or even standing against trees. Together, hundreds of people celebrated art. Kickstarter, an online fundraising platform, became a physical community.
Hosting the Kickstarer Film Fest in a movie theatre, rather than open parks, will ruin this experience. Not only will less people be able to attend the event, but also less filmmakers will be able to showcase their talents. Last year, 18 animations, films, documentaries, and shorts played. It gave many artists the opportunity to connect with new audiences. This year, only 2 features and 3 shorts will play. The website states, “We combed through thousands of the features, documentaries, and shorts funded on Kickstarter to pick out an incredible program for you — including hits from Sundance, groundbreaking animation, and one knockout documentary.” It seems that successful projects will continue their success. Meanwhile, unnoticed films go unwatched, underfunded, and unappreciated.
The viewing experience for the Kickstarter Film Fest has been compromised for viewers and filmmakers. It’s a lose-lose. Furthermore, Kickstarter food vendors won’t be able to camp out at the movie theatres. So it’s a lose-lose-lose. Perhaps the seats may be more comfortable, but is that what art is about? Who is this really helping? What do you think fueled this decision? What are your thoughts on this year’s new venue and program strategy?