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xoxosms: a documentary about love in the 21st century's video poster

xoxosms is a documentary about first love, long distance and Skype. Read more

Brooklyn, NY Documentary
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This project was successfully funded on March 16, 2011.

xoxosms is a documentary about first love, long distance and Skype.

Brooklyn, NY Documentary
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About this project


How do two people establish intimacy on the Internet? Can you truly fall in love with someone you've never met? And is that love real? What do digital intimacy and love in the 21st century look like? Is this film about sexting?!

xoxosms is a documentary about the TRUE love story of Gus and Jiyun -- a home schooled 19-year-old from a religious family in small-town Illinois and a 19-year-old Korea-born New York City art student -- who met nearly a year ago in possibly the only place two people so different might ever find each other: The Internet. Over the past 18 months, they have built an intensely intimate world via Skype, AIM and iChat. They are each other’s very first loves, and through the internet, they have established a connection that feels as real as if they were right there beside each other.

Gus and Jiyun met when both happened to take a personality test on MyType, a Facebook app, and each opted to make their results public. Gus noticed something interesting about Jiyun's profile, so he sent her a short message. They started chatting -- about religion, philosophy, her life in New York, his secluded life in Illinois. As their relationship grew more intimate, they began telling each other things they’d never told anyone else. They talked on AIM every Friday from midnight to dawn. Gus said the "L" word (on iChat). The two spoke on the phone, but preferred communicating on Skype -- video on, audio off, long silent conversations of typed words.

Jiyun transferred to the Art Institute of Chicago to be closer to Gus, but financial problems forced her to return to New York City. The future right now is uncertain. But as we watch them make plans to be together in the "real world," we wonder, can you maintain love on the Internet?


Instead of the usual panic about young people meeting strangers on the Internet (kidnapping! sexting!), I wanted to tell a story that happens more often, one that reflects how countless relationships are made.

I heard about Jiyun and Gus's real-life modern love story last summer. They told me how they'd fallen for each other online but, even more compellingly, they were able to show me: They'd saved every single chat and text they'd ever exchanged. Those archived, real-time conversations tell the story of their courtship -- line by literal line -- and allow us an intimate view of how their relationship bloomed.

Our designer is working hard to make the words onscreen, Gus and Jiyun's digital courtship, come to life. This process, motion graphics, is painstaking and expensive! The funds we receive through Kickstarter will help Gus and Jiyun’s words look and feel as powerful onscreen as the emotions behind them.

We’ve shot hours of Jiyun and Gus together in "real life" in Chicago, and we have even more footage they shot themselves using cameras we gave them. We need to spend four weeks editing a fine cut. There’s an original score and sound mix that's in the works, too.

With your help, we can finance the resources we need to undertake these processes and produce a beautiful film that properly tells Gus and Jiyun’s story.

xoxosms will be a documentary short, no longer than 20 minutes. We're making sure that in addition to film festivals and traditional venues, xoxosms will live online, so you can click, watch, and pass it on!

***** WHO ARE WE?

Nancy Schwartzman is the director/co-producer of xoxosms. Her work explores the intersection of sex, growing up and new media.

Isaac Mathes is the cinematographer and co-producer of xoxosms. His work is hybrid and essayistic in nature, moving between the poles of documentary, narrative, and video art.

Cast of creatives: Sarah Devorkin is editing, Ryan Davies is composing music, Thomas Cabus ( is creating motion graphics. They are talents!

Connect with us:

Our groovy blog:

On twitter:

On Facebook:


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

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    57 backers

    Digital downloads of the film + the original soundtrack!

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    52 backers

    Digital downloads of the film + soundtrack, + exclusive access to video outtakes, + your name on the film website.

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    25 backers

    All of the above + a gorgeous Sex. Consent. Power. Pleasure. T-shirt from The Line Campaign:

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    5 backers

    All of the above, + a personal video made by Gus & Jiyun just for you. These videos will be really cute!

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    9 backers

    All of the above, + a Skype chat with Director Nancy Schwartzman or Jiyun Kim, + a guest spot on our Tumblr blog dedicated to love and the internet: Also, get a specially curated podcast, of far-flung and wonderful computer love tunes from CMJ-lauded DJ Jesse Kaminsky of The Intercontinental: Think Inuit hip-hop with whale call samples and ancient German techno!

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    1 backer All gone!

    Are you a filmmaker? The inimitable Fernanda Rossi, story consultant to Academy Award® Nominated filmmakers is donating a free consultation on your Kickstarter trailer. What you’d normally have to pay hundreds you’re getting here for just $100. More about her here:

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    All of the above + you choose a 12 X 18 glossy or matte original photograph from our graphic designer, Thomas Cabus, who is also a phenomenal photographer! His work has been shown around the globe. Photos can be found:

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    1 backer

    Did you like the montage you saw at the beginning of our trailer? Send us your favorite photos and video clips and we will create a short, personalized movie just for you! + all of the above.

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    Love New York City history? Drink champagne with iTunes sensations The Bowery Boys- and learn about the history of New York in the most fabulous way possible! (In NYC for champagne in person, or virtual bubbly and chatting from anywhere). + all of the above.

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    Undying gratitude + Producer credit in the film, + a ticket to the film premiere and after party in NYC + all of the above.

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    Extra undying gratitude + Executive Producer credit in the film + all of the above.

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    My first born child! Or really, anything you could possibly want. Let's talk.

Funding period

- (30 days)