About this project
WOW!!! It takes a village to raise a documentary and we’re so grateful to have you as part of ours. You have all been AMAZINGLY generous and given us great confidence that we can make the vision we have for this film a reality.
The beauty of reaching our Kickstarter goal ahead of schedule is that we still have time to grow our audience and expand possibilities for this film!! The 30K we’ve raised will allow us to shape our rough cut from 100 hours of video into a polished, finished film and license generic music. Another 10K will allow us to work with a top-tier animator and composer to score the film…and get us even closer to crafting this into the powerful and award-winning film we know it can be!
Our STRETCH GOAL is to enlist 400 backers and raise 40K by next Wednesday 6pm when our campaign closes. AND we have lots of love for all who help us get there: Anyone who donates or ups their donation during our stretch period (Tuesday June 6th-Wed June 14th at 6pm) will get our customized pdf download of “DARN GOOD QUESTIONS” to get you thinking about how to tell your story or the story of someone you love. ALSO, anyone who donates $100 or more (or increases their current donation by that amount) during this period will get your choice of our signature Inspire Greatness T-shirt (first batch already sold out!!) OR this beautifully designed magnet with one of our favorite quotes for your fridge.)
Thank you, THANK YOU for helping us make this dream come true!!!
This film is based on a story that, for most of my adult life, I've been afraid to tell...
It starts in the summer of 1995 when, at 20 years old, I stood in the Seoul Olympic stadium clenching the hand of a man I had met just a month before and was about to marry. Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church I was raised in, arranged my marriage using 8x10 photographs. I stood that day among 10-thousand other brides and grooms, all in rows of uniform black suits and matching white wedding dresses.
Members of the Unification Church have been called "Moonies" and cult followers. Unlike many sensational cult stories, the true story behind all this is much more nuanced and complex than it may sound...
Almost five years ago, upon Rev. Moon's death, my brother Bow and I set out to create a film about the unique faith we were raised in. Although the world hasn’t always looked fondly on the Unification Church, there was something beautiful about growing up among believers who felt chosen to help change the world. We believed that a better world would be created, in part, by bringing couples from all over the world together in marriage.
This path worked for some members of our family, but not all of us.
The filmmaking journey takes us back to modern day church activities and to uncover more about ourselves and our own family history than we planned. Our parents are some of the church's earliest American leaders and remain committed to its vision to this day.
This film explores two central questions:
How do we figure out who we are despite the gravitational pull of the beliefs we're born into?
When family is built on faith, can you leave one without losing the other?
We're making this film not because we have definitive answers. But the process of asking these questions has, in subtle and big ways, moved our lives forward. We hope the film will have a similarly profound impact on our audiences.
Making a feature length documentary film is like running a marathon. Having your overwhelming support so far has been like meeting a giant cheering squad at mile 20 after so many miles running by ourselves. THANK YOU! We feel the wind in our sails and our commitment to finishing this film is stronger than ever.
Over the past five years, with the help of our personal savings, time, equipment and trusted advisors, we've collected more than 100 hours of film and archival footage. We’ve also put together an award-winning team. With your help, we plan to raise 40K by Wednesday June 14th which, in addition to hiring an Emmy Award-winning editor to finish our rough cut, will allow us to work with a top-tier animator and composer to make our film awesome. Our ultimate goal will be to craft this into an award-winning film, worthy of top-tier festivals and on par with the best documentaries being made today!
Our perks are designed to not only give you access to our film and process, but also inspire you and give you tools to think about telling your own family history. Some of our perks include: a family history journal and question list, tickets to a private screening of the rough cut, as well as opportunities to create audio and video histories of your own families for future generations.
Note: if you would like to make a donation of $250 or more for a tax-deduction (instead of a perk) you can donate via our nonprofit fiscal sponsor Moving Train HERE.
As a filmmaking team we believe in the power of personal story to break down societal stereotypes and deeply held beliefs. We hope to use this film to challenge stereotypical images of "cult" followers as well as be transparent about the deep challenges of breaking free of powerful beliefs rooted in the family. This complex, nuanced story is unlike anything ever told about the Unification Church before and, we expect, will ignite important dialogues relevant to the current political and religious divides in our country and world.
Once edited, we envision our film premiering at a major film festival and then making the rounds on the festival circuit before reaching broad audiences through a national television and theatrical/VOD release. But it all starts here, with you. We hope you'll join us on this journey.
DIRECTOR: Cara Jones is an Emmy Award winning journalist and founder of the production company Storytellers for Good. She and her team have created short films on inspiring humans from India’s first surfer girl to a team of homeless marathon runners that have garnered international attention and millions of views.
EDITOR: Jean Kawahara’s independent film credits include the feature documentaries, T-Rex; Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story and the narrative feature, Nail Polish. She was the supervising editor on the documentary, Semper Fi: Always Faithful, which won the best editing award at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and was short-listed for the 2012 Academy Awards.
PRODUCER: Chelsea Matter is an independent documentary producer whose films have screened at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, Full Frame and IDFA and received national distribution through outlets such as RADiUS-TWC, The History Channel, Gravitas Ventures, FilmBuff and OWN. Her most recent film, BEING EVEL, premiered in US Documentary Competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
PRODUCER/CINEMATOGRAPHER: Naomi Ture is a documentary filmmaker & cinematographer whose Global Lives Project film Huyền Lê premiered at NYFF 2017 & Lincoln Center as part of a collection of 24-hour-films from 10 countries intended to inspire global empathy. Recently, Naomi was co-Director of Photography on Dana Nachman & Warner Brother's award-winning movie ‘BATKID BEGINS’
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Bow Jones is an award winning cinematographer and editor. He has created promotional videos for schools, non-profits and companies around the country and world. He has worked on film projects for Amazon, Adidas and Microsoft and now leads the video production team at the Seattle based nonprofit Code.org.
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Theodore Allen is an award winning filmmaker who has worked for the past fifteen years as a cinematographer, editor, and director on projects all around the world. He dedicates much of his time creating content for non-profit organizations in an effort to promote positivity in the media, and to help tell real stories about human compassion and adversity.
Don Hardy/Advisor & Cinematographer
If you're not able to contribute financially at this time we'd be extremely grateful for your support in getting the word out. We'd be honored if you'd share this campaign among your networks and social media sites and encourage your communities to help us bring this story to the big screen. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Also, if you are a skilled animator, editor or have access to additional church archival materials you’d like to contribute please email email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!
Thank you so very much!
Risks and challenges
Given the unpredictability of the film industry and time it takes to make a high quality film, we cannot guarantee specific outcomes or timelines. However our award winning team is 100% committed to completing this film with your help!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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