Kickstarter Takes Movie From Bankrupt To Sundance

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For those who felt that Kickstarter – the crowd-sourcing investment site that allows artists to own their own work – was little more than a vanity press for the digital age, meet Matthew Lessner. His new movie, The Woods is headed to Sundance, and he literally couldn’t have done it without the site.

After funding a month’s worth of shooting with credit cards, Lessner’s movie remained untouched for over a year as the economic situation worsened. It took the advice of a friend and the open nature of Kickstarter to get things going again, he says:

I’m not a super web-savvy person — I had never heard of crowd sourcing before. I don’t do a lot of tweeting, I don’t have a Facebook Page. [But] I liked the idea of reaching out to a number of individuals for small amounts of money, as opposed to going to a rich uncle or something and asking for money. I liked the idea of getting people involved. I tried to be pretty straightforward about what it is that we were trying to do. Our film definitely marches to the beat of its own drummer to a certain extent, and I tried to make that pretty clear in our campaign. It seemed like a lot of people responded to that fact — that we were just doing our own thing with the film and not necessarily trying to target anyone in particular.

The result? Raising more than his initial target – $11,584, in total – from just 95 people, allowing the film to be completed and make history as the first Kickstarter movie to make it to the Sundance Festival, something that Yancey Strickler, Kickstarter co-founder, is proud of:

We’re really excited for The Woods and the thousands of other projects that have raised money using Kickstarter. To be recognized by an organization as respected as Sundance is a real accomplishment, and The Woods is absolutely deserving of it.

The Woods premieres at Sundance on January 21st.

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