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A film about how ten moms, one dad, eight children and one sperm donor are re-imagining family.
142 backers pledged $12,180 to help bring this project to life.

About

An Extended Family--A documentary about family, re-imagined project video thumbnail
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$12,180

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Genes make people, but what makes a family? An Extended Family examines the emerging and evolving relationships between seven families who share the same sperm donor. At the same time, this film is a document of Susan's and my personal journey to create our family.

It all started with a cat scratch.

In 1983, a few weeks after Susan’s and my wedding, our young cat scratched me. That little scratch turned into a severe case of cat scratch disease (Bartonella henselae), bringing with it months of high fevers. Twelve years later, as we tried to figure out why we couldn’t have kids, we learned that those fevers had rendered me sterile.

Steve and the culprit cat
Steve and the culprit cat

As we searched for a way to have a child with a genetic link to at least one of us, Susan and I found our way to a sperm bank in northern California. With a sperm donor's help we were able to conceive our twins, Jack and Sophie.

In the 16 years since our kids were born, we have come to know seven other families (four single parents and three lesbian couples) through a family contact list our sperm bank invited us to join. These families used the same donor we did to conceive their children. An Extended Family examines the relationship that has developed between those families. 

You may have seen other films that involve the topic of sperm donation, but An Extended Family tells a very different story. 

Several films have examined the topic of sperm donors, but those films either have focused on the donor or the donor-conceived children's quest to find the donor. We take a different approach in An Extended Family

Our documentary film focuses on the interactions and relationships between the seven families. Our children are linked genetically but is there any other bond? What, if anything, binds the parents together? And what are we to each other? Are we friends, family, or something else? What makes a family a family?

See any similarities?  If so you are playing the parents' favorite game.  Top row, L-R: Cian, Evan, Matthew and Jack.  Bottom row, L-R: Liam, AJ, Anna and Sophie
See any similarities? If so you are playing the parents' favorite game. Top row, L-R: Cian, Evan, Matthew and Jack. Bottom row, L-R: Liam, AJ, Anna and Sophie

At its core, An Extended Family examines the evolving sense of family that assisted reproductive technology has made possible. Our cameras have tagged along as the family members interact, socialize and grow to know each other. The children and parents also share their own stories in the film. Respected experts and researchers on family and society offer rich insights and context. 

We Need Your Help. 

With your help, we will be able to complete An Extended Family and share this unique story with audiences. We have made much progress on the film but need some help in several areas to complete the film:

  • The film would benefit from footage of the families who reside in Texas and the east coast 
  • We need to produce music for the film, or license existing music
  • The film will need to be color corrected for consistency
  • Several bits of stock footage must be licensed
  • We want to commission graphics to help illustrate these complex and changing relationships
  • We want to run subtitles for the film so it can reach the broadest possible audience
  • Contributions will help us submit An Extended Family to film festivals, LGBT support groups and child advocacy groups
  • We want to package the film as a DVD and a digital download 

If we are fortunate enough to exceed our target then new possibilities emerge for the film, including animation, involving a sound designer in the project and better marketing materials.  

More information about some of our earlier film work can be found at www.firstpictures.org. Our progress on An Extended Family is documented in detail at www.firstpictures.org/news

Please help us make An Extended Family a reality. Please donate if you can, and feel free to share this campaign with your social networks. 

Thank you, 

Stephen Lee and Susan Czark

www.firstpictures.org
www.firstpictures.org

Risks and challenges

As with all film projects, our completion of An Extended Family faces several potential pitfalls. If this Kickstarter campaign is not successful many of the components we detailed above for which we need support will need to be scrapped or rethought. We likely will miss our targeted October 2014 completion and the film will lack some of the texture that would help the story. Distribution of the film and submitting it to film festivals will become much more challenging without the Kickstarter help. For these unavoidable costs we will need to find other funding.

Our final challenge is that this also is an ongoing, living story. Other families may join the family contact list. This "extended family" will continue to evolve, which suggests why this is such an exciting project to bring to audiences.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Every little bit helps! We will thank you on the First Pictures website and the First Pictures page on Facebook.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    At this level you will receive a bounty of thanks: We will send you a thank you note. We will thank you on the First Pictures website and the First Pictures page on Facebook. We will thank you in the film credits, too.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    You will receive the bounty of thanks listed above and a digital download of An Extended Family.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Support us at this level and you will be able to impress your friends with an autographed DVD copy of the film. We'll also give you a digital download of the film (if desired), a thank you note, our thanks on the website, the First Pictures page on Facebook and in the film credits. US shipping only; if international shipping is required please add $10.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Supporters at this level will get the shirts off our backs. Actually, you will receive a brand new First Pictures t-shirt, an autographed copy of the DVD and a digital download of the film (if desired). We also will thank you in all the various locations mentioned above. US shipping only; if international shipping is required please add $10.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    At this level you you will be able to say, "I'll have my people call your people" because you will receive an Associate Producer credit in the film. You also will receive a reserved seat at the Santa Clara University premiere of the film (anticipated November 2014, travel to/from the bay area and lodging not included). We also will give all the perks from the $50 level. US shipping only; if international shipping is required please add $10.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    You get so much at this level you will need a bag to carry it all. So we'll give you the bag! Supporters at this level get everything from the $100 level, plus a high quality production still from An Extended Family. Carry all your goodies in the handsome First Pictures tote bag we also will give you. Now you can carry your extended family's stuff in our Extended Family tote!

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    For your generous support at this level we'll make you a member of the family. You will receive everything in the $250 level, plus we will invite you to the next bay area gathering of the families involved in the film as our honored guest. Come hang out and break bread with the ten moms, one dad and eight kids (sperm donor not included; does not include travel costs to/from the bay area or lodging).

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Funding period

- (30 days)