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The New York Times is giving documentary filmmakers an international platform.
The media company has teamed with Kickstarter to highlight six short documentaries that were backed in part using the crowdfunding platform. During the next six weeks, NYTimes.com’s Times Video page will make the films available for streaming with a spotlight on one film each week.
The documentaries on the Made With Kickstarter channel cover subjects as diverse as an ice merchant in Ecuador in The Last Ice Merchant and an underdog bowler in The Greatest Bowling Story Ever Told, and each was hand-selected with the New York Times audience in mind. “We wanted these films to feel like they had a home on NYTimes.com,” says Kareem Ahmed, growth strategy editor for video at the New York Times. “We also pulled stories that we normally wouldn’t do, not because we’re too busy, but because it’s a unique perspective that the Times wouldn’t have been able to offer.”
New York Times has built a robust platform for videos that span the newspaper’s editorial departments and also curates projects from outside the newsroom. Among Times Video’s recent projects is the Op-Docs series, which showcases opinionated documentaries shot from different filmmakers with a range of experiences and styles.
Ahmed says he plans to make Made With Kickstarter a recurring series with multiple seasons of new short docs after the first six-week season runs.
For Kickstarter, the series is a way to highlight some of the high-quality projects that are funded on the site. Kickstarter Film Partnerships Lead Dan Schoenbrun says such distribution can be especially valuable for short documentaries, which struggle to find an audience beyond the festival circuit. “There really isn’t much of a market for short films,” he says. “The New York Times is a high profile platform that will get these films in front of an international market.”
The films that New York Times is highlighting on Made With Kickstarter are as follows:
Minka: A Farmhouse in Japan, Davina Pardo — A film about place and memory, a farmhouse in Japan, and the lives of the people who called it home.
The Last Ice Merchant, Sandy Patch — For more than 50 years, Baltazar Ushca has harvested the glacial ice of Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo. His brothers, both raised as ice merchants, have long since retired. A story of cultural change and how three brothers have adapted to it.
The Tree That Would Not Be Broken, Scott Elliott — It was the last living thing rescued from the ruins of 9/11. A dozen years later, one mythical pear tree is finally home, and branching out from Ground Zero in mystical ways.
Strike, Joey Daoud — One ordinary night, things start changing for underdog bowler Bill Fong as he begins to earn strike after strike. Will he attain the ‘perfect series,’ the pinnacle achievement in bowling, or buckle under the pressure?
Elvis Loses His Excess & Other Tales From the World’s Longest Yard Sale, Riley Hooper — Travel down US Highway 127 from Michigan to Alabama and meet the people at the world’s longest yard sale — an annual, four-day, 690-mile exchange of not only goods, but also stories.
A Harlem Mother, Ivana Todorovic — In 2001, 26-year-old LaTraun Parker was murdered in Harlem. Footage from LaTraun’s own documentary shot in 1998 and scenes from his mother Jean’s life today tells a tragic and inspirational story from the dual perspective of mother and son.
March 10, 10:10 a.m. Updated to reflect the correct titles of the films instead of the titles currently listed on the New York Times website.
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