A campaign to raise money for the documentary Rollaball will run until 22 September 2012 on Kickstarter, an online funding platform for creative projects. Rollaball is a documentary about an inspiring team of Ghanaian polio survivors pioneering an extreme sports hybrid of skateboarding and soccer.
As of Thursday 13 September Rollaball had received $14,247 from 123 supporters from all over the world, but still needed to raise just over $22,000 in 11 days to reach its goal before the Kickstarter campaign ends.
Big World Cinema producer Steven Markovitz (Viva Riva!, Encounters DocumentaryFestival) says: “We’re so thankful for the support we’ve received so far. According to a recent study by Ethan Mollick at The University of Pennsylvania, the average successful Kickstarter campaign raises an average of $7,800, so we’re already well over that. Out of the 70,000+ projects since Kickstarter launched, we're in the top 3,500 campaigns of all time that have raised over $10,000, so we’re already in the top 5%. But we’ve still got a long way to go to reach our goal of $35 000.”
“It’s terrifying,” says director Eddie Edwards, who also helmed the award-winning sports documentary The Fight, about South African boxing champion Andile Tshongolo. “We’ve come so far already, but Kickstarter only funds films that reach their targets: otherwise no contributors are charged. It would be heartbreaking, both for us and for the Rolling Rockets team, to have accomplished so much and still to walk away with nothing and be unable to complete filming.”
The filmmakers have reasons to be hopeful though. Rollaball has received numerous endorsements, most recently from footballer Michael Essien, founder of the Michael Essien Foundation.
“Skate soccer is one of the most inspiring forms of the beautiful game I've seen and shows how the sport can be adapted and enjoyed by anyone,” says the Ghana Black Stars international who recently moved to Real Madrid on loan from Chelsea. “These athletes' determination, strength and creativity is inspiring and makes me proud to be Ghanaian. I hope the Rollaball documentary will give them the exposure they deserve and I look forward to seeing Ghana host an African Cup of Nations for skate soccer in the near future.''
Essien’s endorsement follows similar shows of support from the likes of AC Milan midfielder and Ghanaian Black Stars international Sulley Muntari; Disabled Peoples’ International; paralympian Anne Wafula Strike; The UN Special Rapporteur on Disability; World Cup Skateboarding; and South Africa’s Department of Women, Children and People With Disabilities.
"Michael’s endorsement is an inspiration for the entire team and makes us even more determined to host the first Skate Soccer Cup of Nations in Ghana next year," says Albert K. Frimpong, coach of The Rolling Rockets and executive director of SYDO Ghana (Sports and Youth Development Organisation).
Featured Kickstarter projects have an 89% chance of success, according to a recent study, so it’s also encouraging that the Kickstarter community has embraced Rollaball - it was featured as a Kickstarter Staff Pick and on the curated Kickstarter pages of both Good Pitch and Okayafrica. Rollaball also won the Puma.Creative Catalyst Award in partnership with BRITDOC.
“The good news is that when projects fail on Kickstarter, they normally fail badly,” says associate producer Shelley Barry, a film director and disability rights activist. “Rollaball’s Kickstarter campaign is currently 37% funded. Of the films that reach 30%, only 10% fail to reach their targets, and if we can get to 50% funded our odds increase to 97%, so we’re hopeful that the flood of goodwill we’ve received will convert over the next 11 days into the money we require to finish shooting and give this remarkable team of athletes the exposure they deserve. But we need everyone’s help: we can’t do this without you.”