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!
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.
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.
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*~*Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)