Top 8 Crowdfunded Short Films You Need to Watch

By: Divya Kilikar

Published On: June 04, 2018

What do a rich Californian teen, a middle aged Indian couple and a pimp-cum-murderer have in common? They’re all protagonists of movies that made it to the screens (or are in the process of making it) through crowdfunding!

Read: To know more about crowdfunding and how it works, click here.

You may have heard of Kristen Bell’s neo-noir movie, Veronica Mars. This is one of the many big-budgeted movies from around the world that were made through crowdfunding campaigns! And India isn’t far behind on the trend; charitable causes or a loved one’s medical treatment aren’t the only reason Indians are turning to crowdfunding now.

The first Indian film that was crowdfunded for, depicted India’s White Revolution, led by Verghese Kurien, the co-founder of Amul, and was made as early as in 1976. Manthan became a reality after Rs 2 was collected from over 5 lakh farmers.

Image result for manthan film 

Read: Manthan features in our blog on films that can inspire you to become a game-changer. Click here

The popular Netflix original series, Dear White People, a satirical comedy addressing the racial discrimination at a fictitious college that is referred to as a “very white place”, was also backed by crowdfunding.

Get inspired by our list of top 8 short films whose filmmakers turned to crowdfunding!

Sisak - India’s First Silent LGBTQ Film


Sisak features a wordless, fleeting romance between two men who commute by the Mumbai local. Dhruv Singhal and Jitin Gulati play the lead roles. Dhruv grew to become a homophobic, as his seniors in school would tease each other using words like “chakka” or “hijra”. 

As a result, Dhruv soon followed suit. When he met Faraz Ansari, the director, in college, his life changed and today he’s an activist for the LGBTQ community.

Their crowdfunding campaign raised over Rs 4 lakh and today, Sisak has been featured in over 40 film festivals across the country. 

And the best part? 90% of the shots in the movie were the first takes as the crew never took permission to shoot on Mumbai locals and had to get their takes quickly before the cops could catch them! Read more about Sisak’s making here.

Portraits of the Solidarity Economy - 7 Short Films to Make You Think About Economic Imagination

The metropolitan world is caught in the midst of an economic imagination crisis. We don’t question the idea of excelling in any business by competing. This “dog-eat-dog” perception of the business industry leads us to believe that profit is the only true focus. 

We take no note of the harmful effect that it has on workers, communities and the environment.

These 7 short films are a must watch for anyone trying to make it in the corporate world. 

The films focuses on three innovators from New York who are finding a different approach to business; one that is ethical and respectful. They’re creating the solidarity economy. You can watch the films here.

The First Thing - Caught Between Right and Wrong

the first thing

Commercial surrogacy was legalized in India in 2002. Today, India is the prime choice for surrogacy around the world; it makes up a large part of the multibillion-dollar medical tourism industry in the country. 

The lack of regulation protecting Indian surrogates and the relatively inexpensive costs are some major reasons for the booming industry.

The First Thing follows the story of a New Yorker RJ and his businesswoman wife, who have been trying to have a baby for nearly a decade. When they arrive at the solution of surrogacy, they find themselves in a dilemma-between the controversial process of the industry and their desperate need for a child.

Balcony - a Story of Three Different Generations

Ish Raheja came up with the story of Balcony, a short film featuring the stories of three different generations of tenants who have nothing in common except that they lived in the same apartment building: an old lady dealing with crippling loneliness, a middle aged couple discovering new responsibilities and three college students, who are living life to the fullest. 

The story explores the differences that draw the tenants apart and the similarities that bring them together. Their crowdfunding campaign raised Rs 45,000.

Fiction - an Unnamed Man, a Pimp and a Druggie


This indie film hasn’t released yet, but it sure sounds promising. Fiction questions our perceptions of reality and time. Characters are for a change, fully aware that they’re fictional. There’s an unnamed man who’s pursuing Maya, a pimp and murderer on a quest for love and Ansh, who has just been dumped and is slowly losing himself to drugs. 

The film is produced by Chicken Sambhar Productions, and their story has been featured on The News Minute and many other media channels. The creators of the film are recent graduates of Manipal University.

The Spirit Machine - It’s 30 Minutes of Indiana Jones Meets The Prestige

the spirit machine

In 1920, Thomas Edison claimed to have been working on a machine that could communicate with the dead. However, the machine was never found. Cut to the 21st century, an eccentric dork and his teenage daughter set out on a perilous journey to look for a legendary “spirit machine” in this half-hour long adventure-packed steampunk-themed animated film.

The creator, Timothy Plain, raised over $95,000 on his crowdfunding campaign. 

You can watch the movie here.

The Itching - a Dark Adult Claymation Fairytale

What makes the 12-minute film special is the creators’ ability to explore the psychologies of anxiety and obsession in clay animation. This short film was screened at Sundance Film Festival 2015 and is truly one of a kind. It features an introverted, mentally ill wolf called Faye as she attempts to befriend a group of outgoing bunnies. 

In the process of stepping out of her comfort zone at a party thrown by the said bunnies, Faye’s own body revolts against her by developing a mysterious itch on her thigh. The more she resists, the worse the itch gets, eventually developing into an infection.

Adults who are looking to explore this neurotic, totally relatable character in this brilliant clay animation, head here!

Catching Up - Disability, Sex and Love

Bill Crossland grew up falling in love with adventure, horror, thriller and fantasy movies and knew that his life would be all about making films on these genres. But that’s not what he did. Instead, he made a movie about a disabled person.

Read: How disabled-friendly is India? Find out here

In college, Bill noticed that movies that had disabled characters in them were… plain boring. They were either sentimental or political, and always, always, about the disability itself rather than the person. 

So here’s a real narrative about a disabled high school teacher who is just living his life, exploring normal professional and personal challenges like everyone else rather than overcoming a disability to do something great. Catching Up was screened at Sundance Film Festival 2015.

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