Share this project


Share this project

SMOOCH: Kilong's Story (First International Shoot)'s video poster

Global documentary initiative on its first of three international journeys to film stories of those who have forgiven the unforgivable. Read more

St. Paul, MN Documentary
Share this project
pledged of $10,000 goal
seconds to go


This project was successfully funded on May 31, 2012.

Global documentary initiative on its first of three international journeys to film stories of those who have forgiven the unforgivable.

St. Paul, MN Documentary
Share this project

About this project


At 7:59am EST on May 26, a series of donations including one BIG donation came in that helped SMOOCH cross the $10,000 mark!  The project is officially at it's goal!

We are absolutely stunned and overwhelmed by the generosity of friends, both old and new! Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!You get the picture. :-)


We will continue raising money until the 31st. Our reason? Kilong's story is the first of 3 stories on 3 different continents that we plan to tell in the next 12 months, so any additional funds will go toward seeding the next story on another continent!  

Thank you again for your support of SMOOCH! Looking forward to sharing this journey with you. If you have a forgiveness story of your own or know of a good one, please let us know!

Dawn MIkkelson 
Overwhelmed with Gratitude Director 

PS We also post regular updates, as well as other stories of Forgiveness from around the world our our Facebook page. If you're interested, please "like" our page



SMOOCH is cinematic call for civility sparked by the remarkable story of Mary and Oshea. 

Twenty years ago, Mary’s 19-year-old son, Laramiun, was killed, shot multiple times in the head by Oshea, a 16-year-old boy, over a fight at a party. Convinced that Oshea was a monster, Mary saw to it that he was prosecuted vigorously in court. Oshea was sentenced to 25 years in prison. After more than a decade of introspection, healing, and support from friends and family, Mary made the courageous decision to visit Oshea in prison. That conversation, the first of many, lasted an hour.  Over time, Mary has become like a second mother to Oshea.  In the spring of 2011, after 17 years in prison, Oshea was released. The two now live in the same housing community, as neighbors and family. 

This trailer for SMOOCH was awarded the first Pachamama Award from the Possible Futures Film Contest, an international competition with submissions from 44 countries. Our team, led by award-winning documentary filmmaker Dawn Mikkelson, is holding free and public “forgiveness story gatherings” around the world, and encouraging people to submit videos of their own stories online. We plan for the resulting film to represent people of all nationalities, ethnicities, genders, gender identities, and socio-economic backgrounds, to create an archive that showcases our shared humanity and demonstrates the power of forgiveness. Amongst these moments, we will share the stories of those who have chosen not to forgive, and others who struggle with whether and how to forgive or reconcile, illuminating the complexity and challenge of these deeply personal processes and emotions.   

From an intimate telling of these stories, the producers of SMOOCH seek to create a global voice for reconciliation and forgiveness. By witnessing these stories, and participating in self-reflection, we hope that audience members can receive inspiration and tools to practice forgiveness and reconciliation in their own lives.

Now, in the second year of a four-year initiative, SMOOCH has already created national and international dialogue.  The preliminary story from SMOOCH, featuring Mary and Oshea has been featured on NPR’s Story Corps, NPR's All Things Considered, People Magazine, and ABC’s The View. The following appeared on ABC Evening News as part of their Assignment America with Steve Hartman series.


Between 1975 and 1979, a teenage Kilong survived the Cambodian genocide that killed two million Cambodians, including his parents, grandmother, and youngest sister.  His experience includes nearly starving to death in a Khmer Rouge labor camp.  He eventually escaped to the United States where he excelled in school, receiving his master’s degree in 1989.  Now a U.S. resident with a wife and two children, Kilong has started a nonprofit to build schools for Cambodian children.  As part of this journey, Kilong has met some of his torturers and even had the opportunity to kill a former Khmer Rouge village chief.  Instead, he has chosen to forgive.  


by Kilong Ung

They are forgiven but not forgotten. 

If they reform and repent,

Then, one day, they and I may be friends.

Heinous crime against humanity was their offense.

They killed my youngest sister and my parents.

From my immediate family, they killed ten.

Yet, if they reform and repent, I may one day call them friends.


Your support will help us take our first journey outside of the United States and document the stories of Kilong Ung and the community of Battambang, Cambodia.  Up until this point, our crew has been limited to shooting within the United States, completely on our own dimes.  This next step requires a community of support.  

This Kickstarter campaign for travel to Battambang, Cambodia is in support of the first of three international journeys outside of the United States to document stories of forgiveness and reconciliation for SMOOCH. The media attention surrounding our first story has created national and international interest in this project. Our following is growing and stories are being submitted from across the globe. We will continue to hold public forgiveness shoots and plan to select and film two more core stories for the film. We intend to build a grassroots and online following throughout production. Those who contribute to this project will receive updates on our progress, as well as exclusive photos and videos through production and distribution.


We will document Kilong's story, which includes introducing his wife and two young children to his homeland and family for the first time, and a dinner between Kilong's family and a Khmer Rouge family.  

Beyond Kilong's story, we will also hold a public forgiveness stories gathering.  This will be an opportunity for members of the Battambang community to share their stories and perspectives.  Here's a clip from a public forgiveness stories gathering in Minneapolis, MN.  

If you are able to contribute financially, we have amazing incentives to the right. If you can spread the word about our Kickstarter campaign to your friends, to your friends on Facebook, to strangers in the grocery store we would be eternally grateful!

We are grateful for the $10,000 donation received from the Fetzer Institute that will cover basic travel expenses for our crew to and from Battambang.  Here’s a breakdown of how we plan to use these additional Kickstarter funds:

1. Round trip airfare for Kilong and his family from Portland, OR to Battambang, Cambodia - $8,000

2. Translation and additional crew support in Cambodia, especially for SMOOCH forgiveness shoots. - $2,000


You will be an important part of an international initiative that inspires people to consider their thoughts and feelings about retribution, reconciliation, victimization, spiritual progress and psychological healing.  


Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors. Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands. In other words, if we don’t raise our goal of $10,000, we lose everything. Once we have reached our goal we will contact you to get your address and then we will start working on getting those incentives to you!


Just click the green “Back This Project” button in the upper right-hand corner. You will be asked to input your pledge amount and select a reward. From there, you will go through the Amazon checkout process. You must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded.


If funding fails, all pledges are canceled and that's that. Your card is not charged, it’s like nothing ever happened. We hope this doesn’t happen! Those 30 days will fly by, so please donate today!


Yes! And we need to!  Additional funds will go toward documenting our third and fourth international journeys. We are planning trips to South America and Europe to take place in 2013.


Of course! We will contact you once funding is complete to gather information so that we can get your incentives to you. Just let us know then the name you would like to donate under.


Yes and Yes! Just click the “Amazon Payment” button, and you will see that you can pay with a credit card from any country! But you must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded.  If you have any problems, please contact us.


Become an Outreach Partner. Spread the word about the film in your community and receive a special “Outreach Partner” credit on our website. We’d love to discuss partnering with you, your organization, and/or your community to help get the word out about the film. Please contact us and we’ll get the collaborative juices flowing!

And, of course, we need your help broadcasting the Kickstarter campaign. Facebook it. Tweet it. Tumble it. Sing it from the mountain tops.


There is a Co-Executive Producer credit available at $50,000, an Executive Producer credit at $60,000, and a Presenting Partner / Executive Producer credit at $80,000. Your name will appear in the credits for all U.S. festivals, multi-city U.S. theatrical, national and international television, and, of course, IMDB. These donations are tax deductible through our 501(c)(3) partner, IFP Minnesota.

Please note that these are honorary titles and do not engender any creative or business involvement/decision-making; nor does the credit entitle any claim of ownership.


SMOOCH and Emergence Pictures

Tel +1 651 503 0274 

Thank you for considering our project,

Dawn Mikkelson and the SMOOCH team!


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question


  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    41 backers

    Your name on IMDB (The Internet Movie Database) as a thank you from the production.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    24 backers

    Perks from above, plus a digital travelogue photobook with photos and thoughts on the trip from the Ung family and SMOOCH team

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    29 backers

    Digital download of completed film!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    25 backers Limited (7 left of 32)

    Perks from above, plus a copy of Kilong’s book "Golden Leaf," signed by Kilong, himself.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    23 backers

    A free online stream of the film before its official release, for backers only, and your name in the film’s end credits.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    1 backer Limited (14 left of 15)

    Online private screening of five exclusive clips featuring the most impactful interviews from the forgiveness shoot in Battambang.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    0 backers Limited (23 left of 23)

    Private, one-hour, interactive web conference with the SMOOCH team and Kilong Ung, presenting the best photos, clips, and stories from our trip to Cambodia.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    2 backers Limited (3 left of 5)

    Associate Producer credit on IMDB (The Internet Movie Database), the film's website, and in the film's credits. Plus perks from above, unless limit has been reached. This will be fulfilled upon the film’s completion.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    0 backers

    Round-trip airfare within continental United States for one person to attend the private cast and crew screening of film, upon completion. Minnesota-based donors will receive private dinner with the SMOOCH team instead of airfare. Plus perks up to the $250 level, unless limit has been reached.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10,000

    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    Private Screening with the Director! Screening at your home, or the venue of your choosing, with Dawn Mikkelson present for Q&A. Only available within the continental United States. Other locations available if donor agrees to pay travel expenses. Plus perks up to the $250 level, unless limit has been reached.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)