Thank you backers, you did it!! We're now stretching for $45,000 which will bring us closer to the goal of releasing REJECT everywhere, sooner! (This campaign is funding our Educator Release in October.)
Why We Need Your Help
REJECT is a new feature-length documentary about social rejection and acceptance.
We've had great reviews and reactions from film festivals, schools, and organizations throughout the country. And now, we're looking to launch the definitive REJECT Educators DVD package in October. (plus a DVD for everyone at a later date.) The film is produced and paid for—we just need your help to get it to the finish line!
The film looks at interpersonal rejection in its many forms—bullying, neglect or abuse, discrimination, and other forms of social pain across all age groups. We look at the problems it causes to our brains and society — depression, higher drop out rates, lower IQ, and worse—and finally, at models of acceptance that have the power to heal and even prevent the damage.
How Can You Help?
You can be a vital part of this effort by making ANY size donation between $5 and $10,000 to help us meet our goal.
Making a quality documentary requires an enormous amount of time and money. We've funded REJECT to this point and we're now ready to go the next phase: wide distribution.
Your pledges will be used to pay directly for finishing expenses including footage rights, music rights, artwork, E&O insurance and DVD production. (All money raised goes to expenses only, not to the producers.) We also ask you to please tell your whole network about this campaign on Twitter, Facebook, email, snail mail, megaphone, at the campfire —any way you can think of. The more people talking about it, the more chance of success, and the sooner we can get back to work so we can launch in October!
For many years, REJECT's director heard her father, psychiatrist Dr. Herbert E. Thomas, talk about the connection of interpersonal rejection to physical pain and even the perpetration of violent acts, including homicide and suicide. This was based on his 50+ years of working with people from all walks of life, including men in prison. He wrote about these experiences and observations in his book The Shame Response to Rejection.
The film features research that explores this theory and we're proud to feature many of the country's top researchers and experts on this subject. They represent a variety of disciplines that don't typically come together in one place, including neuroscience, psychology, psychiatry, education, juvenile justice, and child development.
The documentary is made possible through collaboration with Naomi Eisenberger and Matthew Lieberman’s Social and Affective Research Laboratory at University of California, Los Angeles; Kipling Williams and his research associates at Purdue University; Ethan Kross and the Emotion and Self Control Lab at University of Michigan, the Social Psychology Lab of C. Nathan DeWall at University of Kentucky, Ronald Rohner at University of Connecticut —and many others. Additional experts include renowned early childhood educator and MacArthur "Genius" Vivian Paley, child development researcher Amanda Harrist, youth violence expert James Garbarino and other individuals whose knowledge and personal stories are being generously contributed to the making of this film.
The stories of two boys are featured in the film—Eric Mohat from Mentor, Ohio and Justin P. from Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Eric was an exuberant and witty 17-year-old who took his own life after relentless bullying and ostracism at school. With his parents Jan and Bill, we get a sense of the pain he experienced during the last year of his life and witness what it feels like as a family to experience this kind of loss.
We also meet a much younger boy name Justin. He is a lively 5-year-old who speaks English as a second language, spends a fair amount of time in the principal's office and has just been kicked out of his kindergarten. He lands in the classroom of teacher Terry Varnell, and in a very short time, Justin's behavior changes dramatically, and as does quite possibly the trajectory of his life.
We won't say much more about these two boys, but we believe the juxtaposition of their stories against the science of social rejection is why REJECT creates a powerful platform for community dialogue and real social change.
Community Impact + Partners
REJECT has been showing around the United States in community screenings from Texas to South Carolina to California with hosts ranging from universities to preschools to hospitals to civil rights centers. Major educator conferences include Charleston Educator Symposium, Indiana School Safety Academy, Indiana Youth Institute "Because Kids Count" and the New York State Associate of Independent Schools Lower School Heads Conference.
At Purdue University in Indiana, Extension educators who work throughout the state in the areas of agriculture, 4H, early childhood, community welfare and health have developed a community outreach program featuring REJECT called “All In: Building a Positive Community.” The program runs over the course of 3 weeks and features the film, further exploration of the research, and moderated teams poised to be change agents within the community. By September 2015, the program will have run in seven counties in Indiana. Early metrics on the program indicate: 97% of participants would recommend REJECT documentary and 75% have changed their behavior in positive ways.
We foresee this model for community engagement and dialogue being replicated. In October 2015, several REJECT team members will travel to Jefferson, Missouri to begin working with University of Missouri Extension and Central Missouri Community Action.
Our growing list of official partners includes Butler University College of Education, The Salvation Army Greater New York Region, Performance Services Inc, Purdue University Extension, NoBLE Support for Bullied Children at Beaumont Children's Hospital, Rohner Center for Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection, ONE Heartbeat ROCKS and others. Hopefully, we're just getting started!
Endorsements for REJECT:
"I believe this film can and will save lives In the future.” William Darnell, School Safety Officer Kokomo Schools, Indiana
“Thank you for opening our eyes and hearts with your film.” —Judith Peterson, Principal, Academic Magnet School, North Charleston, South Carolina
“This film will teach you a great deal and also bring hope to a deep societal concern.” —Heartland Film Festival
"One of the most intellectually astute and heartfelt documentaries I've witnessed to address the concept of social rejection." —The Independent Film Critic
"REJECT is a tremendous film about a seemingly simple topic: rejection." —The Film Yap
“Our screening was FANTASTIC! We could not have been more pleased. We had over 300 people in attendance and it was a mix of students, faculty, and community members.” —Julie M. Rutledge, PhD, Co-Director Center for Children and Families, Louisiana Tech University
"REJECT is destined to make a long lasting effect on communities for generations to come both through viewing it and subsequently through the changes it inspires. Thank you again for your passion and commitment to the marginalized and forgotten all around us." —James W. Betts, Major General Secretary, The Salvation Army Greater New York Division
Ruth Thomas-Suh (Director, Producer) spent many years in publishing and marketing before receiving a Masters in Journalism at NYU and moving into the world of filmmaking. REJECT is her first feature film and it evolved directly from conversations with her father, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Herbert E. Thomas. ("The Doctor" is retired and well and has loved participating in "talk backs" at festivals and community screenings!)
Kurt Engfehr (Producer) was editor and co-producer on the acclaimed documentary films Trumbo, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Academy Award winner Bowling for Columbine. He won the American Cinema Editors Award for best documentary editing for his work on Bowling for Columbine. Most recently, Kurt co-directed The Yes Men Fix the World as well as the nutrition documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, and produced the new rock-doc No Manifesto.
Peter Brauer (Editor, Producer) is a producer, director, editor and cinematographer whose credits include the award-winning Return to Life After Spinal Injury, the acclaimed documentary Second Skin (Premiere SXSW, HotDocs, Sheffield Doc Fest), and many other short and feature film projects.
Nara Garber (Director of Photography) divides her time between directing, shooting, and editing and her work as a DP appears regularly on HBO and PBS. She is the co-director of Flat Daddy documentary, DP of the acclaimed documentary Best Kept Secret, and now directing Braddock Spring about revitalization efforts in the rust belt community of Braddock, Pennsylvania.
Simone Giuliani (Composer) is a music producer, film composer, keyboard player, string arranger and music director. He has worked with an array of international artists including Beyoncé, Wu-Tang Clan and Bebel Gilberto, written original music for shows including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, True Blood and soundtracks for films and documentaries including Facing Forward, currently airing on PBS.
We'd love to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. If you are interested in a $10,000 donation, contact us regarding making it tax-deductible!
We'd like to say a special word of thanks to Todd Leatherman who was instrumental in helping create our Kickstarter video. Thanks Todd!
Risks and challenges
Since the film is already completed, we have already taken many risks and overcome many challenges! If (when) we reach our funding goal, we're confident that we can deliver REJECT Educators DVD during the month of October, as well as all of the other rewards. Reliable vendors and kind people are on standby to help get the job done on time! We have ambitious goals for this film to reach and be seen by as many people as possible and with your help we will be able to make it happen. Thank you! –The REJECT TeamLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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