Sundance Institute finds funding partner

Kickstarter to boost indie filmmakers

The Sundance Institute is launching a partnership with crowdfunding specialist Kickstarter aimed at providing support for indie filmmakers.

“Technology now allows filmmakers to fund and make films in ways we could never have even conceived,” said institute president Robert Redford, who founded the nonprofit in 1981. “Just as we did 30 years ago, the institute is responding to a need, with a responsibility to help the individual artist.”

Collaboration, announced Wednesday at the fest, strives to connect alums of the Sundance Institute to Kickstarter’s funding and marketing.

“We’re excited to be working with the Sundance Institute and its esteemed community,” said Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler. “Kickstarter has been an effective tool for artists of all stripes, and we’re looking forward to the projects that this collaboration will bring to life.”

Alliance calls for Kickstarter to provide branding, educational, and promotional support to Sundance Institute alumni. The announcement noted that more than 350,000 people have pledged more than $30 million to projects on Kickstarter since its launch in spring 2009.

Kickstarter’s already been involved with the festival via Sundance feature entry “The Woods,” centered on a group of anarchists who abandon civilization and move to the forest. Project was already shot, but filmmaker Matthew Lessner needed $10,000 or so more to finish the film for submission to the fest.

The first Sundance Institute alumni workshops took place at the festival this week, conducted by Strickler. The institute is planning to identify projects this spring at Kickstarter.com in order to generate support for projects in various stages of funding.

“Today’s media landscape presents opportunities for audiences and artists to connect in new and exciting ways,” said Keri Putnam, exec director of Sundance Institute. “This program is a natural and much-needed extension of our mission. With unparalleled recognition worldwide, Sundance Institute is in the unique position as a nonprofit to bring together a wide range of services and lend invaluable promotional support.”

In a pair of related announcements, the Sundance Institute said Wednesday it plans to build an online hub of resources for indie distribution options and funding strategies; and that longtime collaborator Facebook will offer Institute alumni advice, educational materials and tips on how to build and engage audiences via the service, following a series it held this week during the fest.

To execute the program, Sundance Institute has hired Christopher Horton as associate director of Filmmaker Services. Horton, who will relocate to Los Angeles after nearly a decade with Cinetic Media, will work closely with Joseph Beyer, director of digital initiatives, Katie Kennedy, associate director of development, corporate, along with the Institute’s program directors.

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