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Thousands of high school seniors will take a 9 hour test that for many, will determine the course of the rest of their lives.
Thousands of high school seniors will take a 9 hour test that for many, will determine the course of the rest of their lives.
351 backers pledged $8,711 to help bring this project to life.

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    1. Kelley Katzenmeyer Creator on

      Hello all,

      We have been receiving some messages inquiring about the film's release date.

      The film's release has been experiencing some significant delays due to health concerns. In 2013, our director, Kelley, fell ill due to a previously undiagnosed autoimmune disorder which lead to multiple staph infections, a fungal blood infection, MCAS, and biotoxin poisoning that caused microscopic damage to the mitochondria in all the cells throughout her body. As the mitochondria are most prolific in the nervous system (and subsequently the brain), Kelley also developed autonomic nervous system disorder (dysautonomia), along with brain inflammation and brain damage (caudate atrophy, similar to Alzheimer's). At the time Kelley fell ill, there was no known certain cure for this brain damage, and no FDA approved treatment that insurance would cover, but there was an independent experimental treatment that seemed to be working for some patients. After finally getting access to this treatment in late 2015, two years after she fell ill, Kelley's nerve pain and brain damage slowly began to reverse after seven months of treatment. In her initial NeuroQuant MRI, on a scale of 1 to 8 (eight being the worst possible condition) she was a seven, but after several years of treatment, she has now healed up to a five. No patient has yet to successfully heal up to a four or above (a score of "one" is a normal healthy person), but we hope with the advancement in science in the coming years this will one day be possible for Kelley.

      These days, Kelley is attending the hospital every other day to get supplemental IVs and injections as she still has problems digesting and absorbing food. Additionally, she is being given high levels of magnesium inserted directly into the blood stream which new research suggests seems to be helping the recovery process in many patients. As of this year, her speech has improved (one of the symptoms of caudate atrophy is problems with word recall) and although she still has many difficult health days, she also has some good ones too. She is very thankful for the health insurance she receives in Korea, where she is able to get all this treatment for only $30 a week. (In America, it was costing her $500 a week, so she had to move back to Korea. Luckily she has a county like Korea to move back to! Many other patients are just stuck suffering and slowly dying in the US because insurance doesn't cover the proper treatments there yet.)

      These days, she has a lot of talented local college students helping her with the film and coordinating the things her health doesn't allow her to manage yet. (Because of her MCAS and lung inflammation, it can be dangerous for her to go outdoors without a mask.) Luckily, most of the work these days is sitting at the computer editing, which isn't too straining on the body. Also, she has several air filters for her house, so she doesn't struggle with her breathing issues there while she edits. So even with her illness, she is usually able to edit about 30 hours a week on the film.

      We have test screenings of the film every month in Seoul-- if you're in the area, please let us know and we'll put you on the next invite list. You can reach us at

      Our apologies for the film's delay. We know it must seem confusing from the outside. Most of the film team is Korean (including our producer), so when Kelley got sick, there weren't many people who spoke English to take over the English PR.

      Please come visit us in Seoul if you're around, and thank you again for your continued interest in this film. We currently do have a solid cut of the film which we could release now if we had to, but doing a few more months of test screenings and tweaking will really bring the film to the high level it needs to be at to make a true and lasting difference in these students' lives.

      The only upside of the film taking this long is, of course, you get to catch up with the same students five years later. So we have a pretty epic epilogue. Get ready for the last shot of the film... it will be unexpected. ;)

    2. Missing avatar

      Tim Nguyen on

      It has been a VERY LONG while since an update. Do you have anything for us, Kelley?

    3. Erika Kristina Lindberg on

      What's the status of this project? Will you be completing the documentary or refunding us?

    4. Missing avatar

      Daniel DeLacy on

      I do hope that Kelley is on the road to recovery or at least an improved state from her last update. Please let the community know how she is doing and what to expect going forward. Best wishes

    5. Kelley Katzenmeyer Creator on

      Hello everyone,

      Its been quite a while since this project has had an update. I'm sure you’re wondering why!

      This film’s director, Kelley, is currently very ill and receiving intensive medical treatments. She has been suffering from several infections she contracted while working on the film in South Korea, including a staph bacteria infection, a parasite, and black toxic mold poisoning. These illnesses have become increasingly more debilitating, and are the primary reason this film's release has been continuously delayed. In particular, there is still a lot of controversy in the scientific community concerning the effects of black toxic mold poisoning and its treatment methods, so we are currently unsure of how much of a recovery Kelley will be able to make and how long it will take for her to recover. Kelley's current doctor thinks it is unlikely she will make a full recovery, but is hopeful she will make a partial recovery in the next five to six months. Please send her your happy thoughts and prayers for a hopeful recovery!

      As Kelley continues to receive treatment and lets her doctors take care of her health, it’d be great if we could find some talented filmmakers out there to join the team and keep the film moving forward.

      We are currently looking for an editor/writer to help get this film to its final draft. At our current stage in this process, we have a little over 400 hours of footage which has been sorted through and organized by date and character, narrowed down to about 60 hours of potentially useable footage, further narrowed down to a three hour rough cut, with an additional two hours of footage which could be potentially very useful in the cut, but don’t exactly seem to have a fitting place, or feel potentially redundant when inserted into the current three hour cut.

      Were looking for an editor to help us get all this down to a succinct, gripping, heart-wrenching 100 minute draft, primarily working from the current three hour cut and the two hours of useful scenes, and then dipping into the sorted 400 hours of raw footage as needed.

      The footage is about 80 percent in Korean and 20 percent in English, the majority of which is not translated, so fluency or near fluency in both languages is a must! We are looking for someone bilingual with significant documentary editing experience. Or, someone with editing experience and significant writing experience. Please send us a cover letter or resume and samples of previous work.

      Please do contact us if you’re interested in editing and feel up to tackling this exciting challenge of a film! The majority of sorting has been completed, so you can jump right into the fun storytelling and character building portion of the editing process.

      As a interesting perk of the job, a very talented editor whose previous documentary recently won an Oscar is going to be advising us and helping us get this film in the best shape possible--- so you’ll get to hear notes from this very talented professional. He has also won an ACE Eddie Award. He’s an amazing mentor, and will hopefully help us make this film the best it can possibly be.

      Dear amazing supporters-- spread the word as you can! Help us find a stellar editor to join the team and get this film finished.

      Thanks for your support.

      Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, you can check out the spot SBS did on our film that aired on the 8 o’clock Sunday news in Korea last year.

      Again thanks so much for your support, and if you have time, please spread the word about our film’s current search for a bilingual editor! I’m sure it would also mean so much to Kelley to see someone working on the film and helping move it forward. Lets get this film finished!

      -The Film Team

    6. Missing avatar

      Jennifer Nadeau on

      Time to report this project. The creator has walked away with our money- she may or may not have made the documentary. There are no updates, no contact, nothing.

      Go to this link- select my pledges- find this project in the list- click on creator accountability and file your report.…

    7. Ahn Wooseon on

      Where is the money? Seriously, should that be reported to Kickstarter or something? 환불해줘!!!

    8. Missing avatar

      Daniel DeLacy on

      The last update on this project was 1 year 3 months ago saying that it was still in progress. It also says at that the final video should be out in 2015. We've only been waiting since the original deadline of 8/2012, but I hope that we can get a more detailed update soon. Thanks!

    9. jenny kim on

      Waiting for an update or a refund please!

    10. Markus Schumacher on



    11. Austin Davidsen on

      I hope things are progressing well - any chance for a backer update?

    12. Missing avatar

      Charles Chan on

      Hope you are feeling better Kelley and continuing to recover! I know filming and editing takes lots of time :) I'm still looking forward to this doc!!

    13. Ahn Wooseon on

      It has been 3 years indeed… Oh, it was only $10, I can still wait 10 years :O

    14. Markus Schumacher on

      I'd like my money back.

    15. Kelley Katzenmeyer Creator on

      It's going to happen guys! Sorry for the long period with no updates. Last April I contracted a bacteria infection in my stomach while living in South Korea (ate some meat there that was apparently infected-- no fun!) and was in the hospital for some time. Now, thanks to a mixture of Korean doctors, American GI specialists, and Chinese herbal medicine, I'm on the road to recovering.

      While I was sick, the crew has been hard at work sorting through the over 400 hours of footage! Our editing team is stellar.

      Sorry for the long wait, guys. This film covers a lot of ground-- and it gets really deep into the subjects it deals with. So it's taking some time to make, because we want to be thorough and precise. But it's going to be worth the wait, I promise! :)

    16. Lorin on

      So..... is this ever going to happen? It's been so long that I can't even see this on my backer list.

    17. Michael Brown on

      How about a yearly update on the progress?

    18. Maikel de Laat on

      Saw on your facebook that you we're doing test screenings now. Any chance we as backers are able to actually see and feedback the test screenings?

    19. Kelley Katzenmeyer Creator on

      The project is coming along well! Slow but steady. :)

      You can check out our progress-- including some new stills-- on our facebook page:

    20. Missing avatar

      Sam Utesch on

      How is the project coming along?

    21. Lorin on

      Is the project still on track for August?

    22. Kelley Katzenmeyer Creator on

      Hello everyone,
      You can check out our website at

      We've got an updated version of our Kickstarter video there with some new footage. :)

    23. Missing avatar

      Robert Sherwood on

      This is a super ambitious project you've got here. I thought the idolization of unrealistic models of beauty were bad in the States until I taught English in Korea and saw the intense pressure for the kids there. I'm excited to see how this turns out. I hope you make a dent in their perceptions!

    24. Munira Shahbuddin on

      I worked as an assistant at an english camp for Korean middle school for a few years during my undergraduates in Korea and I experienced the issues that most girls deal in this documentary - the inferiority complex of accepting one's ability and feature. School days are very stressful as parents expecting only excellent result in academic, and enrollment in SKY universities is the ticket for successful career and life. I am supporting this project in dedication of my students, whom i believe will be high school students by now. I truly enjoyed working with korean kids and teens as they were very talented and happy-go-lucky despite a stressful endeavor for academic success. On beauty, the Koreans should learn to accept that their small eyes feature is unique and beautiful. A stressful stereotype preception on looks such as skinny, big eyes and long silky hair need to be corrected, so that everyone can learn to embrace the inner beauty and true meaning of beautiful. I miss my students and I wish them best for their future undertakings. Can't wait for the film. Congratulations on acheiving the goal. Kudos.

    25. Missing avatar

      Margaret Dalzell on

      I've been living and teaching in Korea for almost 3 years now. For the past year and a half I've been working at a high school, and the things you're talking about in the film are the same issues that I have been wrestling with regarding my own students. I think this is really important and I'm super excited to see the film. Best of luck!

    26. Queen of Wands on

      Congratulations on meeting your goal, I look forward to the final product!

    27. Missing avatar

      Jose Villapol on

      Good luck Kelley. All the best for you and your project! Can't wait to see it when it's finished! 화이팅~!

    28. Phil G. on

      @M. Hsu: Sorry man, but if you got less manners and smarts than money, no one can help you! It explicitly says "digital copy" only at $10, while it says "signed copy of the final film" for $500, so you can assume that you'll get your physical copy indeed if you donate $150 ! I mean normally you can even get an independent movie DVD for $10, so how come ask such a question and then complain & be stingy. Also you seem to have asked the original question less than 48 hours ago, what do you expect from the poor girl? You don't haven SLA with her!!! (If you don't know what this is, better google it!) Really not necessary... PS: One can't e-mail you either. :p

    29. Michael Hsu

      no reply to my messages or comments so I'm canceling my pledge. =( too bad.. other people from their projects email you back with answers to your questions..

    30. Helvin Lui on

      All the best!

    31. Missing avatar

      Daniel Schmidt on

      Way to go! Kudos! Nice work! I hope this project is successful it looks way awesome. After teaching in Korea for a year I can say exposure of the nature of the Korean education system and concept of beauty is absolutely needed. This project works to further the development of identity for the Koreans and to bridge the gap their world and the outside. I am stoked cant wait for this to launch off. If this does take take off perhaps there could be further success in documenting online gaming, materialism or other quirks of Korean society. Rock on Kelley and crew.~

    32. Missing avatar

      Myonghan Rew on

      Thank you for having interest on how teenagers in South Korea think and live their most beautiful period in their lives. I am a pure S. Korean and recently came back from the United States after 2 years of study in NY. Before I go to the States, I had lived just same as those in the film and never thought there is any problem. Because everyone around me, around my age people, was in same situations, about the studying for roughly 16h a day and getting lots of stress from ideal of the beauty that everyone wanted to be. But after I saw the girls in the States who don't care about how they look like or how other people think about their appearances I started to thinking there are a lot of problem among the educatian system and teenagers S. Korea and there is a certain link between those subjects.
      I watched this film very well and I hope I could see the final film some time soon. You're doing something right so you can be more proud of what you're doing now. Thank you, Kelley!

    33. Missing avatar

      Christian Diehl on

      Awesome project. I'm living in Korea at the moment so I know what's going on in this education system. Very interesting topic for me, so I couldn't resist to participate!! Wish you all the best for this, I'm sure it will be great. Looking forward to see it when it's finished!! Greetings from Busan :)

    34. JayHyuck Shin on

      Joseph, yes, I believe you cannot isolate the perception of "beauty" with the cultural and economic dominance of the western. (By the way, I wanted to say "am I the only one thinking/believing ~")

    35. Michael Hsu

      I have a question on the rewards. I am currently pledging $150 for your project. Are we to receive physical copies of the documentary or just a digital one? I sent you a message, but you didn't respond. I would very much like a physical copy instead. Thanks.

    36. Missing avatar

      A. Lee

      This is highly reminiscent of my experience as a teacher in Japan, on several levels. I'm certainly looking forward to the finished film. Good luck with the project!

    37. Joseph N. Kim on

      JayHyuck, you make a valid point. i wonder if the "big eyes is beautiful" thing is more related to acceptance than beauty? just thinkin out loud here.

    38. JayHyuck Shin on

      One of the most frequent Asian jokes in North America is about Asians' small eyes. Am I the only one it is somewhat related to the "big eyes are beautiful" concept/belief? (I'm not trying to demean the project or anything. I just wanted to point that out.)

    39. Missing avatar

      sam cravens on

      As a teacher in Korea I see what you are touching on in your documentary everyday. Whether it be the male or female demographic in Korea, these kids are under a lot of pressure from society. I think this goes for most developed nations, but from my perspective, Korea is on a whole new level. I have been doing a similar lesson to the one that the native teacher in the short film was covering. Beauty and the pursuit of it, specifically in this country is scary to say the least. I was amazed at some of the responses I received from my students while teaching a lesson on "What is Beauty?" These kids and especially the women in this country are under a lot of pressure to fit into the homogeneous idea of what beauty is. The shelves are stocked with bleaching creams and other beauty products that offer a "western" outcome. Thus, I love and appreciate the fact that you are highlighting what I perceive as serious issues here in Korea. I can't wait for the finished project and I hope you reach your mark of $5,500. I think this is a necessary topic and agree with Megan Deutsch's co-teacher that maybe since it is from an outsiders perspective, Koreans will take it seriously and start to question the society their kids are living in. Not only does this pertain to Korea, but the world in general. This will cross borders and hopefully inspire people to see the natural beauty in themselves. Thank you for your efforts!!

    40. Missing avatar

      megan deutsch on

      I am impressed by your ambition, talent, and goals for the film. I did my undergrad in visual anthropology (making documentaries) and I have been working at a co-ed, boarding, science high school in Gyeongsangbuk province for almost 3 years. Everything that you so candidly highlighted in your movie, I have seen played out again and again over these past few years. Not just among my students, but among my Korean friends who are in there teens, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s… These two topics are such defining aspects of society in Korea.
      I was curious to hear a Korean’s take on your film, so I sent your clip to my female co-teacher (Mrs. Kwon) and I wanted to share her response with you because it changed my perspective on not just your film, but on my life here in Korea as a marginalized (yet privileged, as I fit the ‘big eyed’ standard) liminal member of Korean society.
      I told Mrs. Kwon about your goals [“… reduce the stress of that students receive… in the classroom… academically… to be perfect, and reduce the stress to be perfectly physically beautiful.“] and how ambitious I thought they were, and she brought me down to Earth by saying, “We (Koreans) have to think, we have to change, more. Every Korean knows (about beauty and studying standards), but if a foreigner makes a film, then we will pay attention, we have to. If just a Korean makes it, we will not pay attention. Just by seeing (the documentary) we (Koreans) can change a little… Then the next generation a little more… I cannot think it will be changed very quickly, but we have to start.” So, she liked your vision. :)
      The topic of your film is a complex one that not only deals with stress of students, and female body image issues, but also deals with the Korean government, private institutes (for studying), companies that make test prep, test, and study materials, advertising companies, Capitalism (mass consumption of goods- surgery included), how to stand out in a homogenous society, and the colonial presence of the West in Korea, among other factors. I give you kudos for narrowing your lens to a scope that is digestible and humanizing.
      I would love to see a part of the film give space for these young women to talk about ideas they have about society, if they are interested in changing beauty standards and if so, how. The film voiced the ideas that girls have about what boys are looking for in girls, but not vice versa, which I found interesting. I think encouraging the girls to share what they want might be empowering. I would also love to see a montage of all of the places in Korea where you can stare at yourself in the mirror (subways, schools, kimbab restaurants, on the street, cell phones, shopping centers, the entrances to many buildings, reflective elevators…). I often wonder about the psychological impact that looking in the mirror so often would play on body dysmorphic issues.
      The three goals you have for the film are amazing and massive, so I was wondering, on a more tangible level, if you have thought about how to implement said goals: "... Reduce the stress that students receive, reduce the stress in the classroom, like academically- to be perfect, and reduce the stress to be perfectly physically beautiful." As much as this film has the power to illuminate many a viewer as to the situation experienced by thousands of women in Korea, I would love to see some ideas as to a path or direction for the future... I know that is asking a lot, but I figured I throw it out there.
      This film has incredible potential and I am excited to see what develops. Good luck!

    41. Joseph N. Kim on

      i will be interviewing Kelley on GFN 98.7FM in Gwangju today! listen in at: if you're not in Gwangju.

    42. Missing avatar

      adrianborsz on

      I hope the filmmaker does not mind me advertising on facebook to donate, I'm definitely for the project and I would sincerly like to see it go through. :)

    43. Daniel Moonasar on

      As an English public school teacher over here thank you for making this film. I wish you the best of luck and I hope this helps the world and Korea see the stresses imposed upon our students not only academically but socially. I hope my donation can help.

    44. Missing avatar

      Jules Wood on

      Good luck, Kelley! Really important work you're doing. You rock!

    45. Missing avatar

      Carolyn Kreuger on

      Kelly, Wish we could do even more to back you. It looks like a great doc. And I love that once you become famous I will be able to say I knew you when you were little. Enjoy Korea and eat of lot of kimchee for me. Carolyn