Pop Culture

Kickstartable: Afghan Cycles

This week’s Kickstartable project is an inspiration for women everywhere, from a place most would think unlikely: Afghanistan.

Afghani girl on bike
Photo Courtesy of Shannon Galpin

Tell us a little about your Kickstarter project. What do you hope to accomplish with the funds raised? 
We are making a film about the Women’s National Cycling Team in Afghanistan. The 12 women on the team are extremely brave because riding bikes in the country is still considered to be very taboo. I am inspired by them because they have found their passion, and they’re risking it all to do it. The funds raised through Kickstarter will get us to Afghanistan and help pay for all of our costs there – fixers, translators, etc. This is the first step in the Afghan Cycles production, and it is encouraging to get a supportive audience through Kickstarter from the get-go.

Is this your first Kickstarter project? If so, what made you make the leap to engaging the world community to promote your cause?
I have worked on a handful of productions that were Kickstarter funded. There is something so special about having your work funded on a crowd funding platform like Kickstarter because your get people board who are invested in the success of the project and who believe in the work wholeheartedly. This is the first film that I’m directing that I am seeking funding for on Kickstarter. Outside of Kickstarter, we’re continuing to get funding from numerous outlets for post-production and distribution, but to get the early stages of the film backed by individuals who share our passion for the film is very meaningful for me. When we’re working with the Women’s Cycling Team, I will tell them about the incredible support the project has gotten, and I hope it in someway connects us all to the example they’re setting as women riding in Afghanistan. It is important to me the those women know that our Kickstarters aren’t just backing the work that my team is doing to create the film – they’re supporting these Afghan women and their courage to ride.

What was the most challenging part of getting your Kickstarter presentation together?”¨ 
The most challenging part of putting the Kickstart together was clicking the “submit” button. I knew that the moment this went live, there was no turning back, we were in it. With things like this, there’s always the fear that no one will be interested in your story. It’s a vulnerable thing to put an idea out there, and hope that you’re not the only one that thinks it’s an important story to tell. Pushing “submit” made the concept a reality. The support we have been getting from friends, family, colleagues, and strangers alike has filled us with so much positive energy. Starting the production off with this kind of support sets such a positive precedent for what lies ahead.

What has been the most pleasantly surprising thing since your video has been live?”¨ 
It always feel great to get the support from those in our community – friends, family, colleagues. But this project has been attracting all kinds of people, many of which my team and I have no connection to. That is the power for crowd funding platforms – you bring in people with no bias who genuinely support what you’re doing. At the end of the day, it isn’t about how much someone donates. What is important is that Kickstarter has connected up to people who share our passion for this story. I am excited to stay in touch with our backers, and I hope that the end product is something they are proud to have supported.

What’s your project’s biggest selling point?”¨ 
I hope that our biggest selling point is that we’re telling a positive story from a country that most people have negative associations with. I hope that people back this because they want to be involved in telling this inspiring story. But then again, a handmade kite from Kabul would be pretty cool too, so if that’s the hook, then I can’t wait to get them one while we’re there!

The idea that there’s a place on earth that riding a bike would be considered taboo kind of blows my mind. I love that Sarah and her team will able to capture and tell this story to a larger audience.

Afghan Cycles is able to be funded through Friday, April 12, 2013.

Disclaimer: Please do not take this review or my personal endorsement of this project as investment advice. I am a lady blogger on the Internet, not an investment adviser, nor am I an angel investor myself.

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