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$624 pledged of $12,000 goal
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By Samantha Rife
$624 pledged of $12,000 goal
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About this project

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT:

          I'm a wife, I'm working on a second graduate degree, a history lover, a full-timer and freelance researcher with taste buds for Chicken Tikka Masala. However, after I gave birth to my two kids, my identity was watered-down into one single archetype: MOTHER.

         This got me thinking... Why is it that when my family grew to include two adorable kids, all those other interests that made me, ME aren’t valued anymore? There is an expectation to sign off on my former identity and assume a new one, like some kind of double agent... And because I work full time, my new title is - WORKING MOM.

          You may have been pegged with one of those other tired phrases: “STAY-AT-HOME MOM” or “SUPER MOM” or “TIGER MOM” or “HELICOPTER MOM…”

          The message?

          Women must give up their personal and professional identity once they become Mothers. Once they give birth, a line is drawn in the sand and they must fall in line and accept their badge. What's worse, these titles are often used as arguments to pit one Mother’s parenting style against another, the most frequent being SAHM vs. WORKING MOM – which parenting style is better?

That's not the point.

          These stock characters do nothing other than make Mothers feel like inadequate parents and people. The REAL HARM is something more subversive… it’s in the DNA of our culture and public policy. And like racism and sexism, it has a name...

"MOTHERISM"

BACKSTORY:

           The United States praises Mothers as the selfless devotee.

***Motherhood is the most important job in the World!***

***Stay-at-home Moms are chefs, chauffeurs, accountants, therapists... if paid a salary, they'd be trillionaires!***

Say, WHAT?!

          We may celebrate Motherhood more than any other country, yet as a nation FAIL in almost every appreciable measure. In fact, out of 185 nations, we rank among the WORST in support for Mothers.

  • The U.S. is ONE of only FOUR countries that DOES NOT offer government-mandated paid maternity leave. (The other three are Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and Lesotho). 

Why is this important?

- Paid family leave has been shown to reduce infant mortality by as much as 20%. Oh, and the U.S. ranks low on infant mortality too - 37th out of 185 countries surveyed. – Released in May/2014 by the United Nations’ International Labor Organization

  • In the U.S., 25% of all women return to work fewer than 10 days after giving birth. This makes breast-feeding more difficult.

So?

- Inadequate breast-feeding causes higher rates of infant illness and hospitalization at a cost of billions of dollars annually. - American Academy of Pediatrics

  • Mothers are either the sole or primary source of income in over 40% of households with children under 18. However, they make $17 LESS per week than women without kids.

And what about men?

- For a man, having children means making $147 MORE per week than their childless peers. - Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Pew Research and Social Demography

And speaking of men... of 185 countries surveyed, 76% offer paternity leave. The United States doesn’t.

Not only is public policy telling us Mothers are not important - but neither are Fathers.

WHY MAKE THIS DOCUMENTARY?

  • Because ANTI-MOTHER = ANTI-CHILDREN.
  • Because current American media and public policy does not value Mothers and consequently does not value the family unit – Mothers, Fathers and children.
  • Because there is no preordained role how Mothers must act - whether working or staying-at-home, Mothers must not be made to feel "Mom-guilt" about choosing the best means of caring for their families.
  • Because we broke through the glass ceilings and have risen through the job ranks - but we’re cutting ourselves along the way. Women must not be punished for working and child-rearing.
  • Because “MOM” shouldn’t be a dirty word and with YOUR help, WE CAN START A SEA of CHANGE.

THREE STATES have mandated maternity leave - California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Join us and we can pressure all states to put maternal and parental leave - as well as other family concerns - on the agenda.

MDW director, Samantha Rife (pic right)
MDW director, Samantha Rife (pic right)

OTHER TOPICS OF DISCUSSION IN "MOTHER IS A DIRTY WORD"

  • The idea that as soon as women deliver, they're encouraged to “shed the pregnancy weight," removing the scars a.k.a "badges" of Motherhood.

  • The notion that women must "do it all" and never complain, because that's unbecoming of a Mom and they must TAKE IT LIKE A WOMAN. Of course, this creates guilt and a "bad-Mommy" complex.

  • The discrimination against Mothers breast-feeding in public.

  • The controversial trend of "child-free" businesses and the increasing momentum of the ‘Ban the Brat’ and ‘No-Kid Allowed’ movements.

  • The rise in the popularity of ‘egg freezing’ among women and employers.

  • The increasing number of women opting out of having children entirely.

  • The sparsity of relatable Mothers in TV and film. Media representations of mothers still reinforce the same stock characterizations that existed in the 1950s – bad mothers vs. good mothers and that maternal problems are not public but personal issues.

WHY KICKSTARTER?

           We understand it takes many financial streams to make a film. In addition to applying for grants (Sundance, Roy D. Dean, Fledging Fund, Cinereach, Tribeca, among others)... we're counting on our Kickstarter goal to get us over the next hump in production.

           Another advantage of Kickstarter is the opportunity to reach a broader audience and unite more Mothers together. We're always eager to strengthen our message and happily embrace your feedback.

HOW YOUR FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION WILL BE USED:

           First off, thank you for supporting female filmmakers. You may already know women account for just 16% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors. In an industry dominated by men, your contribution not only supports women in film, but Mothers in film!

           MOM IS A DIRTY WORD documentary is already in PRODUCTION. To date, we’ve shot hours of gut-wrenching, intimate footage with our THREE MOTHERS:

Elizabeth Covington Strauss and Family
Elizabeth Covington Strauss and Family
Maureen Oakley and Family
Maureen Oakley and Family
Jamie Gianoutsos and Family
Jamie Gianoutsos and Family

We've also interviewed PULITZER-NOMINEE AND NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR Ann Crittenden.

Ann Crittenden and MDW director Samantha Rife
Ann Crittenden and MDW director Samantha Rife

          Your financial support will help us continue our production, financing equipment rentals and transportation costs. The following inspiring women have already signed on to be interviewed for the next phase of production:

           However, to interview these women, we really need your help to make this dream happen.

JUST SOME OF THE EXCITING REWARDS!

$10 pledge – To give our thanks for your $10 pledge, enjoy a “I LOVE MOM” temp tattoo. While your support is permanent, this temp tattoo is removed easily with a bit of baby oil.

MOM Temporary Tattoo
MOM Temporary Tattoo

$15 pledge – “I SUPPORT MOMS” wristband.

$25 pledge - With your $25 pledge, we'd like to include your photo, along with all of our other contributors in our Mother Mosaic image!

$200 pledge – We're offering LIMITED EDITION POSTERS signed by the entire MDW crew! $200 contribution snags this exciting reward!

$300 pledge – Five signed copies of Arlie Hochschild's "THE SECOND SHIFT" is on offer for a $300 contribution.

Five Signed Copies of "The Second Shift" Available!
Five Signed Copies of "The Second Shift" Available!

$300 pledge – Five signed copies of Sharon Lerner's "THE WAR ON MOMS" is on offer for a $300 contribution.

Five Signed Copies of "The War on Moms" Available!
Five Signed Copies of "The War on Moms" Available!

$300 pledge – Five signed copies of Ann Crittenden's "THE PRICE OF MOTHERHOOD" is on offer for a $300 contribution.

Five Signed Copies of "The Price of Motherhood" Available!
Five Signed Copies of "The Price of Motherhood" Available!

$500 pledge – Delve into your maternal ancestral line with the help of SJR Research. Uncover the powerful female figures buried in your past and bring them back to life to celebrate today for your $500 pledge.

SJR Research will Reveal your Maternal Ancestors!
SJR Research will Reveal your Maternal Ancestors!

$1,500 pledge – Your $1,500 contribution earns you an opportunity to be the photo subjects in an upcoming "4th Trimester Bodies Project" photoshoot!

Participate in a Very Special Photoshoot with 4th Trimester!
Participate in a Very Special Photoshoot with 4th Trimester!

GET INVOLVED

You can support Mom Is a Dirty Word in three crucial ways:

1. Make a financial commitment to our Movement. Every contribution helps.

2. Share our message with your family, friends, and colleagues in person or through Facebook posts and tweets. If our vision aligns with other journalists or bloggers you know of, please help spread the word. Individually, we’re powerful. In numbers we’re unstoppable!

3. Do you have a story you’d like to share with our movement? Post your photo or message with #isupportmoms. We’ll include your contribution to the ongoing discussion on our Facebook page.

Show your support with a pic and #isupportmoms
Show your support with a pic and #isupportmoms

And FINALLY… a call for INTERVIEWEES

           If you’re in the  DC, Maryland, Virginia, and Central PA region and would like to be interviewed for an opportunity for YOUR STORY to be included in MOM IS A DIRTY WORD documentary, email the director, Samantha Rife via Kickstarter.

REMEMBER... MOM ISN’T A DIRTY WORD – Join the movement!

The MDW Filmmaking Team

SAMANTHA RIFE is Principal and Founder of SJR Research. For over 25 years, she has worked as a research, writer, and provided administrative support for large and small projects in a wide variety of fields including History, Genealogy, Information Technology, Education, Writing/Editing, Film and Media, Communications, Marketing, Public Health/Social Services, managed Healthcare, Visual Arts, Retail, and the Tourism and Hospitality Industries. Samantha is a mother of 2 children – Joshua and Cassandra. She lives in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, with her husband Jamie.

DARREN MITCHELL is an American actor and cinematographer based in Lancater PA. Darren has written, directed and produced more than 20 short films as well as worked on Hollywood production crews for short and feature films. Darren owns and operates Relevant Noise Media/RLVT Films, a freelance production company for commercial film and television.

MICHELLE MEDVEDOFF is a screenwriter and filmmaker who has produced over 10 films. Her feature film, "The Wife Master" won the "Critic's Prize" at Mexico City’s Mic Genero film festival in 2014 and has found distribution with Pathfinder Pictures and Fandor. Medvedoff writes short film scripts for independent filmmakers through her company "Short Script Gods." 

 ENDREA KOSVEN: Founder and CEO of EDK and Company, a boutique marketing communications, copywriting, and social media agency based in Los Angeles. She studied broadcast journalism at the USC School of Journalism. She has worked for several media outlets, including MTV News, KCAL-9 Los Angeles, and KYSR 98.7 FM Los Angeles. Before launching her own venture, Endrea was an Account Executive at Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, where she worked on public relations campaigns for large consumer goods and entertainment companies such as Nissan North America, DreamWorks SKG, Microsoft Xbox, Baskin Robbins, Universal Studios Home Video, and ABSOLUT Vodka. She later worked as a Style Consultant with several luxury and boutique hotel brands in Southern California. Her client list included the Four Seasons Resort Santa Barbara, Bacara Resort & Spa, Canary Hotel, Montecito Inn, and San Ysidro Ranch.

ASHLEE WELLS JACKSON and LAURA WEETZIE WILSON. Known for their transformative photography for "The 4th Trimester Bodies Project," these two soulful gals are an inspiring addition to the MDW team! 

Risks and challenges

Our team includes professional, working filmmakers who have produced feature-length, award-winning films. We are aware of the unexpected challenges that can come up in movie-making and are taking every precaution to minimize potential roadblocks.

Like all filmmakers, our ultimate goal is for the documentary to gain an audience, and for that one depends on finding a distribution partner. While our team has secured DVD and VOD distribution for other feature films, there is never any guarantee we will earn distribution for MDW. However, our passion for MDW is contagious. The stories of our Moms and Dads featured in MDW are inspiring, and we believe this project will attract a fabulous distribution partner.

If after making the rounds on the festival circuit we do not find a distribution partner, we will self-distribute. Throughout the duration of this project, we will always maintain our true mission: to improve the lives of Mothers in the United States. We will never compromise our mission and always choose to collaborate with people and organizations that are as passionate about Moms as we are.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

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    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    VICTORIOUS NIKE: Your contribution of $1 brings us closer to victory! For that we send a big electronic kiss of thanks! :D)

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    GENIAL JUNO: Your pledge of $5 is the kind of "high-five" we need to keep the MDW motor running. We'll include your name and a shout out @you on Twitter and Facebook.

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    HANDSOME HESTIA: Your love for Moms isn't temporary, but this tattoo is! Showoff your MDW pride with an "I LOVE MOMS" temporary tattoo. Who ever thought supporting Moms would be so rebellious? + Acknowledgements.

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    EYE-CATCHING ELPIS: Sport your MDW pride with a fetching "I SUPPORT MOMS" wristband. + Acknowledgements.

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    GROUNDED GAIA: We want to create a piece of art that showcases the deep connection between all Mothers. With your contribution, your photo will be included in a "Mom Mosaic." You will receive a jpg copy of the art to print or use as a screensaver. + Acknowledgements.

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    IMMENSE ISIS: Your $30 contribution helped make it happen! Enjoy the movie with us and receive a digital download of the completed film upon release. + Acknowledgements.

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    MIGHTY MINERVA: Gain access to behind the scenes and see what happens outside the frame. Pledge $40 and receive a beautiful book, PDF-style, with exclusive photographs and insights from the phenomenal women and men in "Mom is a Dirty Word" + all downloads and acknowledgments!

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    RISING RHEA: Your contribution greased the wheels and made MDW GO! In appreciation of your $50 contribution, we will mail you a DVD of the feature length documentary + acknowledgements!

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    VERY VENUS: A LOT of awesome footage hits the cutting room floor. See it all and receive a DVD with extended bonus footage. + Acknowledgements.

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    CELEBRATORY CYBELE: Sport your MDW pride with an awesome T-SHIRT in your selected size. It was created special just for YOU and this project. + Acknowledgements.

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    INSPIRATIONAL IRIS: When the movie is over and the houselights go on, you can continue to spread the word for MDW. Display your support for Moms with a LIMITED EDITION POSTER signed by the whole crew! + Digital download of the completed film when it is released and Acknowledgments!

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    AGELESS APHRODITE: Your $300 contribution gives our project boundless energy. For this reward, receive a signed copy of "The Second Shift" by Dr. Arlie Hochschild. ! + Digital download of the completed film when it is released and Acknowledgments!

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    PRECIOUS PERSEPHONE: Precious? Yes YOU are! Receive a signed copy of Ann Crittenden's bestselling book, "The Price of Motherhood." + Digital download of the completed film when it is released and Acknowledgments!

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    DISTINCTIVE DEMETER: Receive a signed copy of the book, "The War on Moms" by Sharon Lerner. + Digital download of the completed film when it is released and Acknowledgments!

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    HARDY HERA: Your $500 contribution funds a full recording day of frank and heartfelt Mother interviews. Through this personalized family-tree reward, reconnect with YOUR maternal ancestry and bring the strong female ancestors from your maternal line back into your life. + Digital download of the completed film when it is released and Acknowledgments!

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    MY MAIA: Put YOUR FACE in the MDW doc! We'll send you a MDW hat. Send a photo of you wearing the hat. We'll include your pic in the MDW documentary! + Digital download of the completed film when it is released and Acknowledgments!

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    AUTHENTIC ARTEMIS: Your contribution of $1,500 is HUGE! As our thanks, we'd like you to be able to preserve your special Mommy moments and participate in a "4th Trimester Bodies VIP Photo-shoot."
    Available in these cities:
    JUNE 2015: Boise, ID and Pittsburgh, PA.
    JULY 2015: Anchorage, Alaska
    AUGUST 2015: Montreal and Denver
    ANYTIME: Chicago
    + Digital download of the completed film when it is released and Acknowledgments!

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    CEREBRAL CERES: Your $4000 contribution to MDW will be remembered forever! Your name, along with up to nine other backers, will receive a "CO-PRODUCER" credit in the theatrical and video film releases. + Digital download of the completed film when it is released!

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    ACHIEVING ATHENA: With your contribution of $5,000 you are a crucial piece to the MDW puzzle. For that we'd like to extend an "EXECUTIVE PRODUCER" Credit. + Digital download of the completed film when it is released!

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    VIBRANT VESTA: All the above, PLUS: we will upgrade you to a "PRODUCER" credit (instead of other credits) for the feature length documentary.

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Funding period

- (30 days)