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KickStart This! Wheels and Roses

There are many reasons for animators to turn to crowdfunding. One is the desire to reach underserved audiences that mainstream media doesn't. Crowdfunded animation can reach audiences that may be considered uncommercial by traditional media companies by going to the audience directly. Wheels and Roses is a YA coming-of-age magical girl meets Roller Derby series aimed at a diverse audience.

Created by Pearl Low, founder of the independent online-based animation studio Orange Blossom Studios, Wheels and Roses is inspired by sports anime and Sailor Moon. Set in a world of magic, the story focuses on protagonist Sahara who founds the magical Roller Derby team Wheels and Roses. The only trouble is she can't use magic! Can she lead Rose Academy's first Roller Derby team against the many time champions of Sunflower High?

The series will explore the relationships between the members of the team and how they learn to build meaningful relationships. While most of the series will take place in arenas where Bouts (aka games) take place, it will also show the character's life and their different lived experiences. The show is described as "unapologetically queer", "unapologetically soft" and "unapologetically tough".

The campaign is aiming to raise the funds to complete a 22-minute pilot episode. "Depending on what financial goal we hit though, we may end up creating either a trailer, or an animated short film, heck or even a graphic novel!" The more they raise the more animation they can make and the more animators Orange Blossom can hire.

Magical Roller Derby differs from the real-world version of the game in that the players are required to use magic. The bouts often take part in gravity-defying arenas and can feature players summoning magical swords.

Orange Blossom's team includes animators who have worked for A24, Sony Animation, Cartoon Network, Powerhouse Animation, Studio MAPPA and Yokohama Animation Lab. They have worked on projects including Craig of the Creek, Hair Love, BORUTO,  BLEACH, Castlevania and more.

The crew is a diverse group of artists from across the US and further afield. assembled to bring the pilot to life. Low has eight years of experience in animation and has worked on Hair Love, Craig Of The Creek and #1 Happy Family USA.

"As creators that come from all sorts of backgrounds, we feel like it's so important to carve out space for a story like WHEELS & ROSES! We want to tell a story that's For Us By Us. We want to create queer stories. We want to centre POC. We want to tell magical stories that are genre bendy!!"

The project is backed by Legends Animated, a 501c3 worker self-directed nonprofit animation company that provides collaborative opportunities to create independent animation. Founded by ASIFA-Hollywood Associate Director Leslie Ezeh, the company supports indie animation. Due to partnering with Legends Animated, all pledges are tax deductible.

Rewards start at a single dollar (for a digital promo poster) or $15 for a trailer or $25 for trailer with director's commentary. Other perks include Tote Bags, DVDs and Art books. For the flush with cash $2.5k will get you a cartoon cameo,  $6K will get you a producer credit and an invite to the premiere, while $10k gets you an Executive Producer credit and flown out to the Premiere in LA. Shipping costs are included for pledges of $500 or more, otherwise, they cost $15 within the US or $25 internationally.

The campaign is seeking $90,000 and you only have until February 29 to pledge.At time of writing it has reached 61% of its goal with 850 backers.

If the campaign reaches its goal in its final days there are several stretch goals set. These include making a short film, paying full union wages, a dub and a TV pilot.

If you want to help make Wheels and Roses a reality, head over to the campaign page now.