Oscars: Kickstarter looks for first Academy Award

Dylan Stableford
The Lookout

Among the nominees for Sunday's Academy Awards are three short films that were funded with the help of Kickstarter, the three-year-old crowd-funding platform for creative projects.

"Buzkashi Boys," a coming of age story shot in Afghanistan, was nominated for best live-action short. According to its Kickstarter page, the film raised $27,410 with 153 pledging support (most donated between $25 and $50).

In the best documentary short category, Kickstarter has two: "Kings Point," which profiles six longtime residents of a retirement community; and "Inocente," the story of a 15-year-old homeless girl who refuses to give up her dream of being an artist.

"Kings Point" raised $10,165 on Kickstarter with 111 backers--including 38 who pledged more than $75 in exchange for credits in the film. "Inocente," with 294 backers, raised $52,527.

Of the 558 people who backed Kickstarter's three Oscar hopefuls, just six pledged more than $2,500 and just one kicked in more than $10,000. For that pledge, the "Buzkashi Boys" filmmakers said they would arrange travel to northern Afghanistan "where you will visit the fabled Buddhas bombed by the Taliban, and the legendary lakes of Band-e-Amir, nestled in stunning mountain scenery. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity." However, they cautioned, travel to Afghanistan is subject to a "current security situation."

According to Kickstarter, filmmakers have raised more than $85 million on the site since it launched 2009.

It isn't the first time that a Kickstarter project has been nominated for an Oscar. In 2012, "Incident in New Baghdad," "Sun Come Up" and "The Barber of Birmingham" each received nominations.

But 2013 could be the first year Kickstarter claims a winner. As the Kickstarter blog notes, film critic Roger Ebert called "Buzkashi Boys" the "strongest nominee" in its category.

UPDATE: "Inocente" won!