The Women Filmmakers Who Crowd Fund & Win Big



The Women Filmmakers Who Crowd Fund & Win Big


Crowd funding is moving and shaking its way into the film world as a viable alternative to securing the money needed to either complete, launch, or make a film from start to finish all together.

It’s also scary as hell for filmmakers. We’re artists.

Asking for money feels uncomfortable for many of us.

And because of that fear or the anxiety around asking for money, far too many indie films are not being made or finished.

However, as an aspiring producer and published writer, I am interested in discovering the films created by women who have succeeded in the crowd funding world.

Therefore, this monthly segment in 2017 is aptly titled,

The Women Who Crowd Fund & Win

To start off the year I am highlighting four films by women who recently had successful crowd funding campaigns.


First Up:


We Do What We Can – Narrative drama feature

Location: London, UK

Woman Crew:

Kwaku, Writer/Director

Nathalie Pitters, Director of Photography

Cassandra Rutledge, Sound Engineer

Max Ross, Producer

GOAL: $2,500 RECEIVED: $4,373


Film Overview: Family drama about a young family’s struggle to survive.

SIGNS OF SUCCESS: (how they did it)

They shared a compelling personal story-

Kwaku, the Writer/Director shared how she had been wanting to make a film ever since she finished film school, which was ten years ago. She highlighted how life got in the way of pursuing her art and how she even went on to work in law and finance after film school.

They provided a spot on break down of what the money that they raise will be used for, from color grading, to sound, to festival submission fees.

They asked everyone on their donation page to at least share it on social media, even if they could not afford to donate.

Kickstarter selected them as a “PROJECT WE LOVE” pick on day 2 of their campaign, which more and likely contributed to their visibility within the Kickstarter ecosystem.

Second Up:


Choice In RecoveryDocumentary short

Location: Denver, CO

Woman Crew:

Irina Bogomolova, Director/Producer

GOAL: $3,600 RECEIVED: $4,100


Film Overview: Touches on how those that suffer from substance abuse can explore diverse recovery options in Colorado.

SIGNS OF SUCCESS: (how they did it)

They presented their case for pulling back the layers on their subject matter very well. They informed readers on their campaign page about the issue with examples. They incorporated strong call-to-actions about the issue to inspire people to become emotionally motivated to support their film. In essence, they used a refreshing social responsibility angle to provoke support.

They shared several photo stills/frames from their panel discussions. This more and likely also played a part in capturing interest from viewers.

They were most successful at getting 114 people to donate $100 each. This was very impressive to me. I couldn’t discern if this was from sheer exposure within Kickstarter or if they were able to garner this support from personal connections within their network, but either way, it made their campaign feel in-demand and worth the investment.

Third In Line:


CYCLE Narrative drama short

Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Woman Crew:

Leah Bleich, Producer

Nicole Johal, Director

Olivia Lucero, Director of Photography

Quinnoly Benson, Screenwriter

GOAL: $6,000 RECEIVED: $6,182


Film Overview: The film follows the journey of a young woman that is found unconscious in the middle of the city by a man that can only speak Spanish who takes her to the local hospital on his bike and the challenges their endure along the way.

SIGNS OF SUCCESS: (how they did it)

They provided wonderful incentives for $50 donations. In total, they received 22 donations at this level, which was their highest count in their tiered donation categories. The perks at that level included; digital download of the film, a ticket to the premiere, a movie poster of the film, and a personalized shout out on all of their social media pages.

Another exciting perk in their campaign was that at the $200 donation level a donor would receive the title of Associate Producer and at the $400 donation level the donor would be given the title of Executive Producer. They received 6 donations at the $200 level and 1 donation at the $400 level.

Last but not least:


Clara’s Closet Documentary feature

Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut

Woman Crew:

Bridley Elliott, Writer/Director

Sarah Windshall, Producer

GOAL: $30K RECEIVED: $33,790


Film Overview: Elliot films her showbiz family and uncovers their dysfunction and off beat appeal.

SIGNS OF SUCCESS: (how they did it)

They used humor and quirkiness throughout their pledge page to engage page viewers and inspire them to donate.

They kept their donors in the loop with weekly updates and even shared other films worth donating to on Kickstarter. The use of paying it forward and altruism worked to their advantage ultimately.


Share your personal story as a filmmaker on your pledge page.

Be extremely transparent. Break down what raised funds will cover.

Use humor where you can in your pledge page.

Pay it forward. Share the work of others in film.

Update supporters and donors often on the crowd funding platform you use as well as on social media and in email marketing.

Create relevant perks and incentives.


If you are a 1st time filmmaker, let viewers know. Allow your passion for your new career as a woman filmmaker to serve as a place of inspiration for potential donors.

Make your campaign funds be to primarily cover 1-2 core areas. Share WHY those areas need funding and the effect they will have on your film once there are funded. Think about showing RESULTS.

Find ways to be memorable such as sharing funny lines from the film and behind the scenes photos. People resonate with glimpses of real life and candid humor. Use that to your advantage in your crowd funding.

Share three films that are in the early stages of their campaign with your followers on social media.

Decide before going live with your campaign how often you will share fund raising updates with your supporters (weekly, daily, at milestones, etc.).

Overall, these four films succeeded for the most part because they were strategic and passionate about raising awareness for their film. Of course luck played a part to a degree but storytelling was at the heart of their campaigns.

I walked away feeling as if they were all confident that they would succeed. They did not use a passive voice when it came to explicitly sharing why they were fund raising and how much they needed.

Having a plan of action and infusing authenticity into your actual pledge page will take your crowd funding campaign a long way.

Remember: if they can do it, so can you!

fotor_148432643971353 CJ Childress is a business writer & aspiring film producer. She works with social ventures, non profits, and change agents to tell their stories RIGHT! Currently, she is learning as much as she can about producing films while writing books in her spare time. Cinematography fascinates her and she’s not a half bad photographer. You can say “What Up” to her on Instagram. 













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