In the vital and exciting mood of SXSW and the invigorating artistic spirit that thrives there, I’d like to share the film that won best documentary short subject: Inocente. It was one of the first films whose successful Kickstarter campaign led to an Academy Award.
The film opens with a shot of the film’s subject, Inocente, her boldly illustrated eyes that have been highlighted with make-up and paint and they lead with a short introduction from the artist we will spend the rest of the movie with:
Dear people of the world… I’m not just a girl, I’m a girl who likes to jump in puddles and likes flowers. Just because I’m homeless doesn’t mean that I don’t have a life.
The film shares the story of Inocente a homeless youth in San Diego as she creates art for a gallery show sponsored by A.R.T.S. (an art workshop for at risk youth). Now, admittedly, with subject matter like that there’s no way that the heart strings were going to remain un-tugged, but it is an uncommon film in that with such difficult themes, the film is never sensational or dramatic, but is instead intimate and personal and feels very authentic. It is not surprising to me that it scooped an Oscar.
Granted, the Kickstarter campaign asked for a modest sum of money to type up the loose ends of filming (creating HDCam tapes, Digibeta tapes, Blu-rays, and DVDs in the correct formats for TV and community film screenings) and was therefore not a film that covered every expense with crowdfunding, but perhaps with its success that might be something that we see in the future. It was also partially a product of Shine Global, which is “a 501(c)3 non-profit film production company dedicated to making films and other media aimed at raising awareness, inspiring action, and promoting change” making it particularly well-suited for Kickstarter. The filmmakers themselves are seasoned in the business (and have previously been nominated for awards), so it’s not so much an underdog story as much as it is a story about the changing collaborative process in the world of indie film.
I think anyone who watches the film will be glad that they succeeded. You can rent or download the film on iTunes.
What other things make the Inocente film a great candidate for a crowd venture? How is the face of independent film shifting with these new possibilities?