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'Capital C' comes up short on crowd-funding phenomenon

'Capital C' comes up short on crowd-funding phenomenon
Jackson Robinson in the docmunetary "Capitol C." (Father&Sun)

Touted as a documentary "about the crowd revolution," "Capital C" devotes its entire running time to just one aspect of crowd-funding: small entrepreneurs raising capital.

Directors Jorg M. Kundinger and Timon Birkhofer here present three case studies: Zach Crain, the maker of the Freaker USA one-size-fits-all bottle insulator; Jackson Robinson, the artist drawing the entire deck of the Federal 52 poker cards; and Brian Fargo, the developer of the "Wasteland 2" video game. They all turned out to be resounding successes.

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These examples show that it's possible to quit day jobs, bypass gatekeepers and follow dreams, even if you'll still have to answer to your backers as if they were your bosses or shareholders.

When Urban Outfitters infringed on Freaker's patents, the start-up had no financial means to pursue legal recourse. Instead, its supporters took to social media. Then that narrative went way off on a tangent, as Crain competed for investment on "Shark Tank" and Freaker recovered from a burglary with a benefit concert thrown by its record store neighbor.

Interviewees allude to unfunded and failed projects, as well as exploitation by scam artists, which Kundinger and Birkhofer should have investigated further. Crowd-funding for the likes of former Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson and George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in Trayvon Martin's killing, is likewise unexplored.

The filmmakers also fail to provide any statistical information to contextualize the phenomenon's effect. If we're indeed entering a brave new age of hipster entrepreneurship, we certainly wouldn't know it from this film.

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"Capital C."

No MPAA rating.

Running time
: 1 hour, 26 minutes.

Playing
: At Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also on VOD.

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