One in a Crowd: Torched

New documentary about Austin's pro Ultimate Frisbee team crowdfunding now


Photo by Matthew Brooks

Like many artists, Austin's creative community is increasingly turning to crowdfunding platforms to cover developmental costs. For potential backers, it can be hard to navigate all the sites out there, so we scour the web for local projects. Remember, do your own due diligence before you back anything.

Who’s raising the funds?

Torched, a documentary about the Austin Torch, Texas' first professional Ultimate Frisbee team of women and nonbinary players, is directed by Hoag Kepner, originally of Full Service/Two Player band fame.

What’s the project?

Torched will tell the team's story from its start in 2018 to the current 2022 season. Started by Kepner's brother and bandmate "Bonesaw" with current Torch co-presidents and players Andrea Esparza and Rachel Yeager, the Ultimate Frisbee team was much like a startup business, which Kepner said was suited to Bonesaw's talents, honed during their indie band days.

In 2018, Kepner worked with the Torch doing video content for them like vlogs and player profiles. As he amassed all that footage, he discovered the makings of a documentary. "In the broadest sense, I see the team's story as a DIY start-up story, an underdog story," Kepner wrote. "There's a lot that goes into turning a dream into a reality." Torched will highlight how the team's members overcome gender and racial inequity in sports, balance activism and being in the sports business, juggle their day jobs on top of Premier Ultimate League duties, and – most relevant to the subject of the Kickstarter – how they fund the team. Kepner also reassured that the doc will have the players' personalities shine through as well as their senses of humor, making them easy to root for. The Torch is "a team of iconoclasts and disruptors," he said, "unafraid to show the world who they are and what they stand for. … Youngsters who see the film will see people like them doing something awesome, and maybe think, 'Hey, there's a space for me to play, because of these people I'm seeing on the screen. They're like me.'"

Target?

$29,000, which includes $5,000 to cover the team's season expenses.

What are the perks?

$25 earns you a thank-you shout-out in the film's end credits; $50 promises a prerelease screening of the film through a private link, with the $100 tier adding on a director's commentary; $250 nets a livestream Q&A with Kepner and a Torch player; and $500 gets you a perk from one of Kepner's other ventures – a telegram from Puppet Telegram's own Burnie the Puppet. Donate $1,000 for a co-producer credit or $5,000 for executive producer, but only one $10,000 donator can claim the prize of having their name in the opening credits next to "Presented By."


The Torched crowdfunding campaign runs through May 22 at kickstarter.com.


The Torch’s next home game will be on Saturday, May 21, at 5pm at St. Edward’s University’s Lewis-Chen Field. Find out more about the Torch at atxtorch.com.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

One in a Crowd, Torched, Austin Torch, Ultimate Frisbee, Andrea Esparza, Rachel Yeager, Bonesaw Kepner, Hoag Kepner, Premier Ultimate League

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