PRESS RELEASE: “Citizen Koch” Kickstarter Participants Thwart Censorship

For Immediate Release: August 8, 2013                            

Nearly 3,400 “Citizen Koch” Funders Put Film in Top 1% of Kickstarter Campaigns

Censorship Thwarted as Crowd Funding Replaces Rescinded Public Television Funding

Brooklyn, NY – Just after midnight last night, the documentary film “Citizen Koch” completed its successful Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign that more than doubled its original goal, and surpassed the $150,000 in funding that public television rescinded from the filmmakers in order to placate billionaire extremist and PBS donor/trustee David Koch.

The film was 226% funded at $169,552, with an average pledge amount of $50.10. According to Kickstarter, out of 46,405 successfully funded Kickstarter projects, only 283 have had more than Citizen Koch’s 3,384 backers. With nearly 3,400 backers, the film garnered more support than 99.4% of other Kickstarter campaigns. Support ranged from $1 to $5,000.

“Thanks to thousands of small donors, the public will be able to see this film, said producer/director Carl Deal. “We hope public television executives get the message that when they allow private interests to dictate their programming and funding decisions, the public will take notice and take action.”

“My 2013 pledge donation to PBS went here instead,” wrote one backer. “I had to discontinue my monthly PBS contribution when I learned about PBS pulling their support of the Citizen Koch project so I was glad to find this way to continue my support,” wrote another.

The funds raised on Kickstarter will be used to pay for the final sound mix, the film’s score and graphics, color correction, creating mastered elements for distribution, licensing archival footage and music rights and other post production and distribution costs.

“Citizen Koch” looks at the impact that the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC had on the 2012 gubernatorial recall in Wisconsin and the Republican Presidential primary. The filmmakers launched their Kickstarter campaign last month to ensure the documentary was not silenced by the money and influence of David Koch.

Almost 3,400 small dollar donors across the country stepped up and donated nearly $170,000—surpassing the $150,000 the filmmakers lost when public television executives took away their production partnership funding fearing the reaction of David Koch, who was a member of the Board of Trustees of WNET in New York and WGBH in Boston.

Judd Williams from Mill Valley, California made the donation that put the film over the $150,000 mark. “True democracy depends on the truth, and truth is discovered by hard work and investigation. Citizen Koch is some very sharp digging into the bedrock of our system.”

“We are humbled by this tremendous support and the thousands of voices speaking out against censorship and in support of democracy,” said producer/director Tia Lessin. “We can’t wait to get our film—and the stories in it—out far and wide.”

“Citizen Koch” premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival and was on track for public broadcast until the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the public agency that funds and curates independent documentaries, withdrew its financial support as well as its television partnership for “Citizen Koch.”

As Jane Mayer reported for her article in The New Yorker, “A Word From Our Sponsor: Public television’s attempts to placate David Koch,” the financial power David Koch wields impacts more than just elections. With continued funding from Koch to a powerful PBS affiliate WNET on the line, ITVS executives backed out of their deal with the “Citizen Koch” filmmakers -- compromising the very integrity of their mission. This left the public without an opportunity to see “Citizen Koch” on their local stations, and saddled the filmmakers with a major funding gap.

At last week’s Traverse City Film Festival, where audiences came out in droves for three sold-out screenings, “Citizen Koch” was honored with the Founders Prize award.

Contact: Rachel Wolf,

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Carl Deal and Tia Lessin are Academy Award® nominated filmmakers who also produced and directed TROUBLE THE WATER, winner of the Gotham Independent Film Award, the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize, and the Full Frame Documentary Festival Grand Jury Prize. Deal and Lessin were, respectively, archival and supervising producers of Michael Moore’s FAHRENHEIT 9/11, winner of the Palm d’Or, Academy Award®-winning BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE and co-producers of his most recent film CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY.