This year’s Kickstarter Film Fest—featuring naught but crowdfunded watchables—will hit Brooklyn (July 18), Los Angeles (Sept. 12), London (TBA), and, really, anywhere you happen to have an Internet connection. Trouble is, you’ve got to pick what to see.
Or do you? Here’s a cheat sheet to the films that people are likely to be buzzing about, some of which are already freely available online. But we know there’s nothing quite like a big screen and a packed house, and these lovingly crafted works have earned both.
Where Michael Jai White’s Black Dynamite gave us a send-up of blaxploitation films that maintained a hilarious reverence for its source material, Kung Fury is like if a macho ’80s cop flick suffered a cocaine overdose that opened up a wormhole in space-time. If this trailer doesn’t have you fist-pumping like a sugar-addled 13-year-old, I pity you.
The Burning House
This polished dark satire should ideally have Wes Anderson fanboys rethinking their fussy materialist aesthetic. Based on a real-life blog, it asks whether a privileged man can survive disaster with nothing more than his most prized—and utterly useless—possessions, “including a pair of beeswax candles, a toaster, and a glass doorknob.”
First to Fall
Your must-see documentary is a raw, front-lines look at the revolution that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, narrowly observed through the eyes of two friends who fled their studies abroad to become part of history at home. It’s hard to recall, in recent memory, any warzone footage more bracing, and as Hamid and Tarek begin to experience what Call of Duty couldn’t prepare them for, a terrible kind of knowledge descends.
A lushly beautiful and intimate sci-fi short in which even the lighted specks of dust floating through an alien forest seem significant, Prospect introduces us to a father and teenage daughter scouring a toxic planet for a rare and fatally precious substance. When they’re attacked by a stranger, the expedition becomes a life-or-death-or-worse struggle.
If you find yourself in the mood for trippy animation, look no further than this 365-second Mirai Mizue piece, assembled from 8,760 pictures drawn by hand over an entire year. The psychedelically abstract and supersaturated WONDER stipulates that it boasts “not a story to tell but emotions to feel,” so yes, you should probably be stoned.
Clearly the mainstream breakthrough of the festival, Obvious Child is more than just the long-overdue rebuke to the hideously retrograde Knocked Up—it walks a razor’s edge all its own and never once loses its footing. With a pitch-perfect ensemble and a star-making turn from Jenny Slate, it’s as fierce and funny an argument for abortion as anyone could ask for.