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Documentary ‘Inocente’ Makes History As The First Crowd-Funded Oscar Winner
February 25, 2013
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With all the buzz today about the big winners at the Oscars, here's a cool story you might have missed.

For the first time, a film funded by Kickstarter has won an Academy Award. The film, Inocente, took home the prize for best documentary short.

It's the true story of a 15-year-old homeless girl in San Diego named Inocente - an undocumented immigrant with dreams of becoming an artist..

The film was directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix.

Last summer, they raised $52,527 from 294 backers on their Kickstarter web page - just passing their goal of $50,000.

In an interview with Mashable.com, Fine said crowd-funding "really helped galvanize a community."

"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."

"Often they are about topics that are shunned by the normal funders because they might be too risky," he said.

Here's the trailer.

Two other crowd-funded films, Kings Point and Buzkashi Boys, were also nominated but didn't win.

Kickstarter says this year's nominees were "the fourth, fifth and sixth Kickstarter projects to receive Oscar nods."

New Baghdad, Sun Come Up, and The Barber of Birmingham were the first three.

Ultimately, crowd-funding is becoming more and more of a force in the movie business, as filmmakers don't have to rely on the traditional studios.

Elliot Grove is the founder of the Raindance Film Festival and British Independent Film Awards.

He told the BBC about 30% of the 250 films at Raindance last year had been crowd-funded - a "huge increase" from the year before.

"It means that you cut out the middleman," Grove told the BBC. "You go straight to the money and go straight to the audience."

"The crowd-funders will have a personal stake in this - if you put 50 or 100 bucks on an Oscar-winning film, you'll be feeling pretty good about yourself today."

Since the site launched in 2009, Kickstarter says it has raised more than $100 million for independent films - with about 40% of that money going to documentaries.

As Grove told the BBC, "If anything crowd-funding means the films are better because they have to convince the audience, their funders, that what they're making is worth making."

"Often they are about topics that are shunned by the normal funders because they might be too risky or politically incorrect - which makes what we as viewers get to see so much more interesting."

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