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      Nonna Maria launches crowdfunding campaign

       
      By
      Nov. 1, 2013

      Online puppet sensation Nonna Maria and her entourage are on a mission to create more episodes of Nonna Maria & Friends. And for the first time ever, they are asking fans for help. Last month they launched a crowdfunding campaign via the IndieGoGo website with the goal to raise $12,000 to produce a new batch of six episodes over the course of the winter.

      Nonna Maria & Friends launched in 2009. The videos, which feature puppets Nonna Maria and Chef Luigi, and their real life grandson David, began as a creative and personal experiment by a small group of 20-something friends. But not long after they began to upload the videos to YouTube, they became an Internet sensation. Not only did fans find their videos funny, but they quickly grew attached to Nonna Maria herself. She reminded many viewers of their own Italian grandmothers. And they adored her.

      The puppets now make appearances at Italian community events, and kids and adults alike swarm the gang for a photo opt. One of their most popular videos, Shit Nonnas Say, has had over one million YouTube views since it was uploaded in January of 2012.

      Nonna Maria boasts over 31,000 followers on Facebook and over 7,300 on Twitter.

      Anthony Imperioli, the leader of the Nonna Maria camp (and the voice of Nonna Maria), admits that they weren’t sure how fans would react to their call for contributions.

      “Our fans had been waiting for a new video, and the first video in a long while was one of us asking for money. We were very nervous to initiate the crowdfunding campaign. But it was a long time coming. We just didn’t know what form it would come in,” Imperioli explains.

      The catalyst for the campaign launch was a sponsored talk show format video produced earlier in the year that did not turn out as they had hoped. Instead, it hurt their reputation. Before that, all their videos had been self-financed.

      “We realized we needed to go back to making the episodes that our fans loved. We have to bring the focus back to Nonna Maria. We really feel like we have to win back our community,” Imperioli admits.

      As an incentive to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign, fans will be able to claim a variety of perks. The perks are as varied as they are creative, from an Attestazione di Nipotaggio, that is, a digital certificate of adoption by Nonna Maria, to signed DVDs and t-shirts, to having the five guys from the Nonna Maria camp actually show up at your home to set up your tempo. The last offer is only available to folks in Montreal who contribute $300.00 to the campaign.

      To date, the crowdfunding campaign has raised over $4000.00.

      To contribute to the “Let’s Make More Episodes of Nonna Maria & Friends” campaign, please visit http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/more-episodes-of-the-italian-webseries-nonna-maria-friends. The campaign ends on November 21, 2013.

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