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After the death of his beloved aunt, Daniel, a gay, struggling actor visits his devout Christian, Korean mother.
264 backers pledged $20,255 to help bring this project to life.

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ACCORDING TO MY MOTHER: A Painfully Funny Short Film project video thumbnail
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$20,255

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FINAL PUSH! 

Thanks to the generosity of more than 200 backers, we have hit our initial target of $19,000! We are completely blown away and humbled. 

Your incredible support has demonstrated that there’s an audience for this film and we couldn’t be more excited. While we’ve hit our financial goal, for the last few days, we’re aiming to get as many backers as possible. 

Even if it’s just $1 or two, we want to send a loud message that a film starring a middle-aged Korean woman and her gay son can and should get made.

We've introduced a NEW PLEDGE REWARD for the $5 pledge. Back us and you will get a PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM THE ONE AND ONLY ESTHER LEE (AKA DANIEL'S MOM). Anyone who backs us from Thursday, June 4 onwards will receive this. 

Plus, do you know what the extra money will go to? Not our pockets. We promise. With some extra dough we'll be able to do things such as: 

- Pay every one of our crew and cast

- Rent additional equipment so that we don't need to cheat certain shots

-  Afford a real live ambulance for one of the scenes 

- Submit to more festivals --> Show at more festivals --> More people will watch this film! 

THANK YOU AGAIN FOR THE MASSIVE SUPPORT! 

Read about us on Buzzfeed, Huffington PostHuffington Post Korea, and Margaret Cho's Twitter!

Meet Daniel. And his mother, Esther. 

Daniel is an only child, born and raised in Southern California...

Esther was born in Korea and immigrated to the United States in 1980…

Daniel is an actor living in New York City...

Esther is a real estate agent living in Orange County, California...

Daniel is a homosexual....

Esther is a born-again Christian...

...They only have each other. Yet they are a world apart. 

Why are we doing this? 

A few years ago, Daniel started posting Facebook updates with quotes and conversations with his mother. #Accordingtomymother was born and the brilliance of Esther Lee was shared with the world. 

Since then, many of his friends -- and more and more strangers -- have fallen in love with Esther and her blunt, often insensitive, and always unintentionally funny words of wisdom.

And follow us on our FacebookTumblr and Instagram!

We realized that this wonderful relationship shouldn't just exist within the confines of a few posts. It deserved to be immortalized in film. After all, Daniel is an actor, and after years of being typecast as an Asian student or scientist, he decided to take matters in his own hands and cast himself in his dream role: Himself. 

We are raising money to create a short film about Daniel and his mother that will also serve as a proof-of-concept for a TV or web series. Because, like you, we want to see more Asian Americans and people of various sexual orientations represented in entertainment. And, like you, we're sick of the generalized and misguided attempts at targeting those communities. 

While Daniel and Esther's story deals with tolerance in an immigrant family that makes it uniquely contentious, ultimately, their story is universal. It's about the love between a parent and child, despite the cultural, religious and political differences that pull them apart. Can you still love them even if you don’t agree with them? Even if you think demons are feasting on a buffet of your son’s soul because he’s a homosexual? We think the answer is an absolute yes.

With this short, we are delivering a full story to the growing According to My Mother fans that demanded those little nuggets of Esther Lee wisdom to be weaved into something special. But more importantly, we are starting a genuine conversation about what is all too typical in the modern family: judging and being judged; yet finding a way to love, if not to understand. 

But what's the story? 

There are so many great stories to tell between Daniel and his mother! But for the sake of the short film, we've decided to focus on one true incident. 

Last year, Daniel's aunt passed away. Daniel was very close to her and she was also very close to Esther -- they lived together in Orange County. This untimely death brought Daniel back to California to be with his mother and to mourn their loss. 

However, Daniel and his mother deal with grief very differently. This is an increasing source of conflict that becomes a reckoning between Daniel and God, Daniel and his aunt and, ultimately, Daniel and his mother. 

So it's a dark comedy. There's been a long tradition of dramadies centered on the aftermath of a death -- from AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY to the recent THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU. A death brings families together and heightens the tensions between those left living, resulting in catharsis -- often with an unexpected amount of humor. We'd like to take this format and reinvent it with a new kind of family -- not as large, not as loud and not as white, but likely more representative of America today. 

What are you going to do with my money?  

ACCORDING TO MY MOTHER is Cathy Yan's thesis film for NYU's graduate film program. Cathy casted Daniel as her lead in her second-year film. The rest is history. 

The short film will be shot in New York and Los Angeles in July, 2015. NYU provides support in the form of production equipment, production insurance, and post-production facilities, allowing us to make the film at a fraction of what films normally cost. Also, we will be asking a lot of favors from friends who are kindly donating their time and talents to this project. 

But we still need your help! 

Here is a rough breakdown of where your hard-earned money will be going: 

Who are we, anyway? 

Cathy Yan - Writer/Director

Cathy Yan is a filmmaker based in New York City, born in China and raised between Hong Kong and Washington, DC. She received her MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business and is pursuing an MFA at the Tisch Graduate Film Program. Her directorial debut, the short film LAST NIGHT, premiered at the Shanghai Film Festival. Her feature script, DEAD PIGS, is on the Purple List 2015, the best screenplays from Tisch graduate film, anonymously selected by industry judges. Producing credits include the feature film, COLOR OF TIME, as well as an upcoming feature documentary with director Kevin Macdonald (LAST KING OF SCOTLAND). She has also produced and created content for brands such as Armani, Subway, Spotify and The Innocence Project. Previously, she was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal in New York, Hong Kong and Beijing. She was one of the youngest writers in the paper’s history to pen multiple front-page stories. Cathy graduated from Princeton University, magna cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs.

Daniel K Isaac - Writer/Lead Actor

Daniel K. Isaac was born and raised in sunny Southern California. When he was in fifth grade, his mother heard a mortifying story about a preacher who went numb with stage fright and had to be escorted off the stage. Daniel was promptly signed up for Grace Korean Church's theatre troupe and he's been an actor ever since. After receiving his Bachelor's in Theatre from the University of California - San Diego (UCSD), Daniel moved to not-always-sunny New York City where he's been seen on large and small screens and stages. Some serious Film/TV Credits include: "Virgil" on Person of Interest (CBS, recurring), The Following (FOX), Believe (NBC, pilot), TOO BIG TO FAIL (HBO). Some upcoming projects include: MONEY MONSTER (dir. Jodie Foster, with George Clooney and Julia Roberts) and "Ben Kim" on a new Showtime series Billions (with Paul Giamatti and Damien Lewis). 

Devin Landin - Producer 

A recent graduate of the dual MBA/MFA program at NYU, Devin Landin is an independent producer committed to bringing genre-defying projects from new voices to fruition (because that's where the big bucks are, right?). While at NYU, Devin produced or executive produced 19 projects, which included three graduate theses and UNCHARTERED, an eight-episode web series. Two of these shorts made their world premiere at the 2015 TriBeCa Film Festival. He also served as Unit Production Manager for FORT TILDEN, which won Best Narrative Feature at SXSW in 2014. In addition to his work as a producer, Devin also writes and directs, often with his partner (and brother) Matt Landin. Their first film, a feature length comedy, is currently in post-production. One day Devin wants to make a foray back into his first career as an actor, but he's kind of busy right now, so calm down, okay?

Sheldon Chau - Director of Photography

Born and raised in Los Angeles and of Cantonese descent, Sheldon first discovered his greater passion for films in his mid-teens when he was introduced to the Criterion Collection by both his artist uncle and high school drama teacher. From there, Sheldon further realized the power of storytelling when he learned of his parents’ tale of survival during the Fall of Saigon in which they fled the country and ended up in the U.S. after an arduous journey. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Film & Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine, and finding a natural enthusiasm for visuals and camerawork, Sheldon decided to fully pursue cinematography as an MFA student at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where he was the winner of the NYU/Arri 2015 Volker Bahnemann Award for Cinematography. He is also an avid lover of pugs and pineapple buns.

Photo credit: The Dogist
Photo credit: The Dogist

Bailey the Dog - Emotional Support 

Bailey thanks you for taking the time to read this far and hopes that you will donate $100 (see Rewards to the right) and play with her! 

Risks and challenges

There are always some risks in filmmaking, but the creative team behind this project has shot, directed, and produced dozens of short films between them, and the details of this project have been very thoroughly thought out and planned. Through this Kickstarter, we also hope to engage with a large community of people who would want to see this film and deliver on these promises as soon as we are finished with post-production. Our team has also found a lot of success with film festivals and have created a marketing and distribution plan accordingly.

If anyone would like to see a line-by-line budget of the film, we are happy to send you a version!

Ultimately, we understand that a short film has little investment value, so we are very thankful for any support that you give. Hopefully you see a story that resonates with you and issues that are close to your heart. *~*Together we can make this dream...a reality*~*

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    FINAL PUSH REWARD!

    Even a little goes a long way.

    If you contribute after Thursday, June 4, you'll get a CUSTOMIZED MESSAGE FROM DANIEL'S MOM!

    Esther Lee fans, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to receive a personalized message that you can keep forever. We promise it won't be through Snapchat.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Are you on Instagram? OMG! We are too!

    (@accordingtomymother...follow it!)

    For the low, low price of $10, the director, producer, and star of ATMM will FOLLOW YOU & LIKE all of your INSTAGRAM pictures for the duration of the campaign (send us your screen name in a message, otherwise we can't get it until after this is funded)!

    You'll be the talk of the schoolyard (or wherever it is that hip teens hang out these days)!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Do you want to see your name staring back at you from your computer screen? It's easy! Just open a Word doc and type it!

    OR....

    Give us $25 and be included in the THANK YOU CREDITS of a highly prestigious and illustrious short film (this one). Also, we'll send you a special link to watch ATMM before anyone else!

    (plus we'll still do the Instagram thing)

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    All the stuff from the $10 and $25 pledges, plus our stylish, limited-edition ATMM KEYCHAIN, which will subtly remind you to CALL YOUR MOTHER.

    (Final design pending)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Do you want to impress that special someone with how trendy and well-connected you are? Well thanks to the generosity of THE NOMAD BAR you can.

    Not only will you get all the perks of the lower donation levels, but you'll receive two free [things] at one of the nicest bars in town. If you can't get lucky after that, well, that's on you.

    (You have to get yourself to New York though, we're not running a travel agency here)

    Plus all the lower level perks.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Do you need a good wingwoman? Cathy has the answer for you. No, she's not going to do it, but she has the most ADORABLE DOG, BAILEY (see bottom left below our bios for a photo!) and with a $100 pledge you can borrow her for the afternoon, take her to the dog park, and have everyone ooh and aah over how cute she is (and by extension, how cute you are, too.)

    Plus all the lower level perks.

    (You have to be in New York... we're not shipping the dog to you)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Don't necessarily want any of the other $100 rewards, but still want to give us $100? Awww, thanks! This is the altruistic $100.

    We'll still give you the lower level perks because we like you.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Have you written a script that you think is just the bee's knees, but you want some notes on how to make it better? Well you're in luck! Devin and Cathy are professionals at this!

    For $150, either Devin or Cathy will read your SCRIPT NOTES and have a video-conference CONSULTATION SESSION with you.

    Plus all the $10, $25, and $50 rewards

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Do you like history? Do you like New York? Do you like going fast on a vehicle with no walls? You're in luck!

    For $250, producer and former history major, Devin will give you a MOTORCYCLE TOUR of New York and show you his favorite views of the city.

    Plus all the $10, $25, and $50 rewards

    (You have to get to New York)

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Do you or an actor friend need new HEADSHOTS? Do you know how much those things cost?! For $300, Cathy will take headshots for you. Why, that's a steal!

    Plus all the $10, $25, and $50 rewards

    (You have to get to New York)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Do you or an actor friend need headshots, but aren't sure how to prepare for them? Well for $500, Cathy will take your HEADSHOTS and Daniel will serve as your PERSONAL HEADSHOT COACH. It's STILL a steal!

    Plus all the $10, $25, and $50 rewards

    (You have to get to New York)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Are you having a party? Do you need a FANCY BARTENDER because it's a fancy party? Well Daniel, in addition to being a star of stage and screen, is also a BARTENDER and he will bartend your fancy PARTY!

    If the party isn't fancy and you just want him to stand in a corner and open beers for people, he'll do that too.

    Plus all the $10, $25, and $50 rewards and a VERY SPECIAL THANKS in the credits!

    (You have to get to New York)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You and a guest will be invited to Cathy's home for a HOMEMADE BO SSAM DINNER (made famous by Momofuku). Trust us, it's goooood.

    Plus all the $10, $25, and $50 rewards and a VERY SPECIAL THANKS in the credits!

    (You have to get to New York)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You and a guest will have a HOMEMADE KOREAN DINNER in LOS ANGELES.

    More importantly, this dinner will be prepared by DANIEL'S MOM! It will be just like a live-action ATMM! You'll be telling your grandkids about this one.

    Plus all the $10, $25, and $50 rewards and a VERY SPECIAL THANKS in the credits!

    (You have to get to LA, and be available while we are all there filming in early July)

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

    For $1000, first of all, we love you.

    We'll also make you an ASSOCIATE PRODUCER, and give you a private screening of ATMM when it's all finished.

    Plus all the $10, $25, and $50 rewards

    (You have to get to New York)

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    That karaoke video we made for Daniel's song is pretty great, no? Don't you want one for your song? Or just a song that you like?

    For $1500 we'll make a CHEESY 90S KARAOKE VIDEO FOR A SONG OF YOUR CHOICE. You can be in it, we'll be in it, your friends can be in it, your friends' kids can be in it, whatever you want. Basically, we'll make you the cheesy 90's-style karaoke version of Rebecca Black.

    WHO WOULDN'T WANT THAT?

    Plus all the $10, $25, and $50 rewards and an ASSOCIATE PRODUCER credit!

    (We'll take care of the video part, but if you want it to be set in Des Moines, Iowa or something, you need to get us there)

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

    At this point we REALLY love you.

    You're an EXECUTIVE PRODUCER! Hooray! Also, at this point we'll pretty much do any of the non-limited quantity things that you want. Do you want Cathy to take your headshot as you ride by on the back of Devin's motorcycle and Daniel serves you a drink? Sure, we'll work it out (never drink and drive, kids).

    Plus, you're really helping bring this thing to life. You're amazing. Thank you.

    Plus all the $10, $25, and $50 rewards (like we need to say that at this point)

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Funding period

- (31 days)