Kickstarter's great! People with neat ideas can show off their concept, win over online backers, and move their brain gems into the real world. Or, they can plagiarize someone else's cool idea and earn money (and an award). Uhhh.
NYU junior film student Matias Shimada did just that, completely ripping off the premise—at some points scene-for-scene—of a post-apocalyptic French animated short. The two films tell the tale of a duo trapped in a poisoned world in which clean air is lacking—one's CGI and the other isn't, but that's about as far as the disparity goes. Shimada's "Synchronized" clearly jacked "Replay," the French original, without even a slight mention of homage on the project's Kickstarter page—which netted him a cool $1,726 and top prize at the school's Campus Film Festival.
As mentioned, Kickstarter is a terrific place to give people with great minds a chance—but it's still the internet, and like anything else on the internet, you've got no basis for trusting anyone else. Cases like this may be the minority, but before you kick in your $20 donation to the next worthy-looking project, do a little homework to make sure you aren't funding intellectual theft. [Kickstarter via NYU Local]
Update: Matias provided us with the following statement: "I was not trying to hurt anyone, but I should have thought twice about what I was doing the entire time. It was a huge mistake and I apologize to everyone who was affected by it."