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Three Asian-Americans return to their birth countries to uncover the family, culture and identity they each left behind. Read more

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This project's funding goal was not reached on December 11, 2011.

Three Asian-Americans return to their birth countries to uncover the family, culture and identity they each left behind.

About this project


The storyline that we'll be shooting in Bangladesh revolves around Lucy, a Bangladeshi adoptee taking a "gap year" to work at a non-profit hospital in northern Bangladesh. Because she knows nothing about Bangladeshi culture, she gets caught up in a terrible misunderstanding with an employee in her hotel, and he sprays her with battery acid. The acid burns her face and arms, taking her journey from the streets to the hospital. Although she eventually is air lifted to a hospital in Singapore, she first meets a Bangladeshi nurse who has suffered the same fate, and their shared misfortune forges a deep bond between them.


Although this is a frequent punishment carried out on Bangladeshi women by scorned lovers and malicious relatives, acid burn generally does not happen to westerners. But because Lucy has a Bangladeshi face and Bangladeshi skin, she is treated to the same cruelty that Bangladeshi women all over the country face. Every year, acid burn victims are treated in Bangladeshi hospitals, which range from competent to utterly inadequate. The purpose of this crime is to devalue the victim by leaving her with painful, defacing scars that will make it impossible for her to find another husband and be a constant reminder of her perceived misbehavior and valueless-ness. Although the government has begun to prosecute the perpetrators more harshly, driving this incidence of acid burn down, it is still a fate that affects many women every year.


Transnationals is a feature film that will begin shooting from February of 2012. Because it is an omnibus story, the three storylines will each shoot separately, allowing us time to edit and continue to fund-raise between shoots. By the time the third shoot is finished, we'll have a killer feature film to take to festivals and theaters. The Kickstarter funds will go towards funding the first story, which will shoot in Bangladesh in February. Thanks for your support!


It takes a lot of elements to bring a film to life, even before shooting begins. Kickstarter funds will be used for pre-production elements such as:

  • Casting great Indian and Bengali actors
  • Travel to Bangladesh for some of the crew (although we'll be hiring many locally)
  • Securing our location, a non-profit hospital to which we'll make a donation


Emily L. Manthei, Writer/Director

That's me! I've written and directed 12 short films for festival and web distribution, along with a smattering of music videos, short docs and one feature documentary, about my own family's history in Germany and Poland in the 1800s. 

Kent Scott and Tajul Islam, Co-Producers

Kent is an American who grew up in Bangladesh and went on to found Bengal Creative Media, a development-minded production company that produces content from film, television, theatre and radio that uplifts and inspires Bangladeshis. Features he has produced have gone on to appear at South Asian festivals and on television.

Tajul is Kent's Banglaeshi counterpart at Bengal Creative Media. He line produces all of BCM's productions, negotiates with in-country talent and crew, and basically makes all of the magic happen. He and Kent share credits on all of BCM's festival and television productions.

Catherine Goldschmidt, Cinematographer

Catherine is a Los-Angeles based cinematographer whose work has earned recognition at Slamdance, First Glance, Tribeca and London Independent Film Festivals. She holds a Master's degree from the prestigious American Film Institute.

Michael Fitzgerald, Production Designer

Michael has designed shorts and features that have gone on to win at Slamdance and the Los Angeles Film Festival. His eye for details and attention to characters' backstory transforms his sets and locations into real screen worlds.

Matthew Lessall, Casting Director

After working his way to the Director of Feature Film Casting for 20th Century Fox, Matthew became an independent casting director and has gone on to cast award-winning films that have played at Sundance, Tribeca, Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals. He casts out of Los Angeles, New York and London, but has access to talent pools in many film centers world-wide.

Daniel Nuss, Editor

Daniel has worked in Southeast Asia for the past five years as an editor, cinematographer and director. He shoots and finishes documentary, feature and commercial projects for clients in Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand and Cambodia.


No. The Kickstarter funds are part of a $200,000 budget for the Bangladesh segment of the film. Along with the money raised on Kickstarter -- which will only be collected if we reach our funding goal -- we're talking to investors, hosting events and applying for grants to secure the rest of the funding. So once we reach our goal, you can feel free to keep donating, if you so desire!


Don't hesitate to ask: or

You can visit our website for more information, too:

Find us on our Facebook or Twitter pages too.

Special thanks to Myrmyr, whose music is featured in the video.

Thanks again for your support. We can't wait for you to see the film!!


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more
    About $1.00 USD

    0 backers

    A link to our digital on-set photos of the shoot so you'll be able to track our progress.

    Estimated delivery:
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more
    About $20 USD

    0 backers

    A physical still photo from the film, signed by cast and crew sent by mail, just to say "thanks." Who doesn't like to get something hand-written in the mail?!

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more
    About $50 USD

    1 backer

    You'll get to see the short film version of what we shot in Bangladesh via a private link. So you'll see it before it hits festivals, before the feature is finished, and before anyone else!

    Estimated delivery:
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more
    About $100 USD

    4 backers Limited (11 left of 15)

    You'll get the private link to our short film version, plus a souvenir from Bangladesh, where a good deal of the shoot will take place. We can find you a beautiful scarf, some sparkly jewelry or an outrageous hat!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more
    About $500 USD

    1 backer Limited (14 left of 15)

    Now we're getting down to business: you'll still get the private link, plus we'll give you a souvenir prop or piece of set dressing directly from the movie!

    Estimated delivery:
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more
    About $1,000 USD

    0 backers Limited (30 left of 30)

    Yes, you'll see that private link, but you'll also see the final feature before anyone else. You'll get two tickets to the premiere screening of "Transnationals" - film festival, red carpet or bust! (Transportation not included.)

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more
    About $2,500 USD

    1 backer

    You will get that private link, two tickets to the film premiere (transportation not included) or a screening near you, plus a cake. I will personally bake you a cake or other desert. And I rock at baking.

    Estimated delivery:
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Funding period

- (30 days)