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Kickstarted (2015)

| Documentary, Music, News
In just a few short years, crowdfunding has changed the face of creativity and opened the doors of opportunity to millions of people with great ideas. Kickstarted follows three dramatic and... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Emily Best ... Self
LeVar Burton ... Self
Brad Carter ... Self
Leah Ann Cevoli ... Self
Dale Constable Dale Constable ... Self
Dallas King Dallas King ... Self
Zane Lamprey ... Self - Host
Amanda Palmer ... Self
Fred Vreeman Fred Vreeman ... Self


In just a few short years, crowdfunding has changed the face of creativity and opened the doors of opportunity to millions of people with great ideas. Kickstarted follows three dramatic and inspiring crowdfunding stories to explore how this phenomenon is changing the world. Despite the newness of crowdfunding, we find our that passion, perseverance and hard work are still the keys to success.

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Late to the crowdfunding party.
28 July 2016 | by tfxravenSee all my reviews

It doesn't feel like it's been long, but three years ago crowdfunding was on a white-hot tear. Spearheaded by pioneers like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, the idea that you could pay to make an average person's dreams come to life was quickly cloned for all kinds of purposes, helpful or malicious. Eventually, big players who didn't want to risk their own skin on creative gambles, like Hollywood actor/producer Zach Braff, clogged the scene and pushed a lot of small players out of the limelight. Kickstarted was pitched and funded before this mood swing and, three years since its very own crowdfunding campaign successfully wrapped, it feels oddly anachronistic.

While originally pitched as an opportunity to meet a variety of game developers (who were the kings of the crowdfunding hill in the early half of 2013), this doc focuses on musician Brad Carter and his struggles to fund an album before his tremors disable his ability to make music. Alongside Carter's story is aspiring UCLA filmmaker Dallas King and Hozon, his campy and extremely violent martial arts film, as well as a pair of inventors who bumble through one crowdfunding campaign after another, coming across as a bunch of grifters than passionate dreamers.

All of this would have been well and good had the film released in those halcyon debut days of crowdfunding, but three years later, it feels like a time capsule. The producers state that post-production issues kept them behind - there certainly are a lot of interviews here and some guests are weirdly unmic-ed, coming off as awfully amateurish - but they also wanted to finish filming the arc of Carter as he weaves in and out of surgery to reduce his tremors. His story winds up being the anchor of the film, but would it have had quite the effect if the doc had informed us he was already a somewhat famous actor with appearances in critically-acclaimed series like True Detective and Sons of Anarchy? I genuinely don't know.

After Carter, there isn't much weight to the movie. The plight of King and our rural inventing schemers are decent stories, but there's no emotional heft to them. The film barely runs 70 minutes as-is and it seems the opportunity to pivot and cover the industry shift that came after this documentary was funded was limited by the budget. It would've been genuinely cool to see a Gibney-style investigative flick that dove into why some campaigns failed to materialize after funding. I have nothing against a documentary about very real human stories involving crowdfunding, but it feels like a much smaller film than the one I pledged my dollars into so many years ago.

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$86,000 (estimated)
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