The deal making begins weeks before the celebrities touch down in Park City, Utah, a pop-up center of the universe for the culture industry during the ten-day run of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Open Road Films buys the Steve Jobs biopic jOBS, starring Ashton Kutcher as the Apple co-founder, long before audiences clap, yawn, or both at its Sundance Closing Weekend premiere. Other movies including Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey, and No, featuring Gael García Bernal, also arrive with deals intact. The pre-fest deals, as well as decisions by filmmakers from former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl (Sound City) to Shane Carruth (Upstream Color) to take on a DIY release model, lead to an inevitable question: with the ability to build communities of fans and supporters 24/7 on digital platforms, are the time, energy, and money spent getting in and getting to Sundance still necessary?
Here and there in recent months, there have been grumblings about Kickstarter burnout. There have also been Kickstarter indecision crises — how do you know when to pledge, and how much? — and Kickstarter skepticism. But to all the naysayers, nonbelievers, and doubters, Kickstarter might now present this: stats from 2012, which show that the crowd-funding platform raised the impressive sum of $274.4 million last year. And that’s just the money raised — some $319.8 million was pledged, which I feel compelled to point out is more than double the National Endowment of the Arts’s fiscal year 2012 budget ($146 million).
LOS ANGELES — A couple of years ago, new-media performance artist Marc Horowitz submitted his life to the audience. Dubbed “The Advice of Strangers,” his Creative Time–commissioned performance was determined entirely by opinion polls and votes from the audience. Horowitz is at it again, as he turns to strangers for advice. But this time, he wants to save a friend’s life.
LOS ANGELES —Yesterday, the crowd-funding site, Kickstarter, made news when two of their projects raised over $1 million!