When Ariel Nasr walks down the red carpet this Sunday at the Oscars, the 153 people who gave his nominated film its last financial push will be smiling. Nasr is the producer of Buzkashi Boys, a narrative short film shot entirely on location in Afghanistan, nominated in the Best Live Action Short category. It's one of many films that have recently found financial saviours in a very untraditional place: strangers who learned about it on the internet and gave money. In fact, it was 153 investments, totaling $27,410, generated on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter that helped Nasr finish his film. Another campaign, which raised more than $10,000, also helped pay for its stars to travel from Kabul to Hollywood for the award show. […] Gabriella Coleman, a lecturer at McGill University who specalizes in digital activism, said one of the reasons crowd funding has exploded in popularity is that it can tap into an artist's fan base and give those people their own portion of the project It's also become attractive because it helps fund projects that may have no chance obtaining funding institutionally. "The advantages are getting a small pool of money quickly – most successful projects are funded in the $1,000 to $9,000 range – and connecting to a community that is really, really vitally interested in that project," she said.