First movie to win Oscar

The First Kickstarter Film to Win an Oscar Takes Home

A great many notable things happened during Sunday night’s Oscars telecast: The First Lady announced the Best Picture winner, a movie based on a Wired story took home Best Picture, and William Shatner showed up to give some much-needed coaching to host Seth MacFarlane.

But the coolest, less talked-about bit of news from last night’s show is reserved for Inocente, the first Kickstarter-funded film to win an Oscar. The film, about a 15-year-old homeless girl and aspiring artist, won the little gold man in the Best Documentary (Short Subject) category during the ceremony. Surprisingly the film, which raised $52, 527 on the crowdfunding site, wasn’t even the only film up for an award with origins on the site. Its competition in the short documentary category — Kings Point — was also a Kickstarter project, as was the live-action short Buzkashi Boys. Three Kickstarted films were nominated in previous years, although none of them won.

“We like seeing that these projects are not just getting funded but that they’re being recognized by curators and the powers-that-be — that’s meaningful, ” Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler told Wired. “I think within the independent film world the word is out about the power of Kickstarter.”

Inocente’s win is yet another indicator that the site is in the early stages of becoming a big player in the film world – sort of a crowdfunded version of the Weinstein Company. Just last month the company announced it had surpassed $100 million in donations to independent films, and funded 10 percent — 17 films total — of the Sundance Film Festival slate this year. In addition to raising cash, the platform also creates homegrown supporters in the form of each movie’s backers.

“It really helped galvanize a community, ” Seth Fine, the co-director of Inocente told Mashable on Sunday. “It helped fund a bunch of the film and kept us going through post-production. It’s a great outlet for films especially for documentaries.”

The Academy wasn’t the only organization to recognize Kickstarter films over Oscar weekend, two crowd-backed films — Gimme the Loot and The Waiting Room also got honors at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday. Next month, a whole slew of Kickstarter-backed movies will be headed to South By Southwest, where the site’s films like Brooklyn Castle and Gimme the Loot did great in 2012. Proof positive that there’s more than one way to produce a good movie. “We’re excited when anyone uses the platform and when work is recognized it just shows that this method of creating art is a very valid one, ” Strickler said. “And it’s one that can fit side-by-side with any other.”

Check out the trailer for Inocente below. The film is also available on iTunes for those who want to watch the whole thing.

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