Music

Kathleen Hanna Doc Kickstarter Backers Haven’t Gotten Their Rewards

The film was successfully funded three years ago, but some backers haven’t gotten what they were promised. Director Sini Anderson explains why.

1. 2013 film The Punk Singer, a documentary about riot grrrl-era icon Kathleen Hanna, was successfully funded in 2011 on Kickstarter.

2. The film premiered at SXSW in March 2013, and was distributed by IFC Films.

3. But now, backers of the project say they have yet to receive rewards they were initially promised by director Sini Anderson when donating.

7. Back in August of 2013, Anderson apologized to backers for the then two-year wait. Anderson said that creating rewards was a lengthy process, and thanked backers for their patience.

8. In the past six months, backers have continued to ask for rewards.

The lot of initially promised rewards included things like access to the first five minutes of the finished film (a $50 pledge,) a poster signed by Hanna ($100), or tickets to a private NYC screening of the film ($500). The film is now currently streaming on Netflix.

9. According to Kickstarter’s Terms of Use, although “it’s not uncommon for [projects] to take longer than expected,” creators are legally obligated to fulfill the rewards for their project.

10. But it’s ultimately up to a project creator and their backers to figure things out. Kickstarter does not “evaluate a project’s claims, resolve disputes, or offer refunds.”


A spokesperson for Kickstarter declined to comment for this story.

11. On Wednesday, The Punk Singer director Anderson said that the rewards are the result of mistakes she made in planning out the film’s funding.


“Because of the perceived success of the film right now, people think I have made a lot of money off of it,” she said in a phone call to BuzzFeed. “I’m barely getting by right now.”

Anderson used Kickstarter to fund the film’s post-production, but most of the documentary’s costs came out of pocket. “Even though rich people own this movie, rich people did not make this movie,” she said.

According to Anderson, a first set of rewards went out to backers but she can’t afford to print the next batch, which includes zines and posters.

As for the private screenings and sneak-peaks for The Punk Singer that were promised, she said she couldn’t provide them because IFC owns the film at this point, not her.

1,238 people pledged on Kickstarter to help The Punk Singer become a reality. It’s hard to pin down how many received the reward they selected. 94 people have commented on the project, and they haven’t all mentioned disappointment.

The negative comments, Anderson added, don’t accurately reflect the feelings of the majority of the film’s backers. “Most backers actually,” she said, “they just wanted me to make this film.”

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