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Documentary about a Taekwondo school in a Syrian Refugee Camp. Read more

Brooklyn, NY Documentary
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This project was successfully funded on July 16, 2014.

Documentary about a Taekwondo school in a Syrian Refugee Camp.

Brooklyn, NY Documentary
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About this project

About AFTER SPRING

We are raising $50,000 to fund a 2-month production trip to Jordan.

Almost a year ago, we read a news article about Mr. Lee and his taekwondo school for the Syrian children at the Zaatari refugee camp.  

Mr. Lee is a South Korean humanitarian who has spent the last 14 years living in the Middle East.  In July 2013, influenced by his experiences back home in Korea, and the positive teachings of the sport, he decided to open a Taekwondo school within Zaatari.  What started as a group of 60 kids, has grown to a school with classes four days a week, and a wait-list hundreds long.  We knew this was a story we had to explore.

After months of planning, international Skype calls, and many favors, we gathered a small crew and jumped on a plane to Jordan to meet the man in person.

The FIRST TRIP

What we found was amazing.  Along with Lee, we met Mohamad, one of the first peaceful protestors of the Syrian conflict.  When they left Syria, his family walked for 4 days, his wife with a child in each arm and one in her belly.  He is a now teacher at the taekwondo school and credits the sport for helping his children to cope with their trauma.  

We met a woman who fled her home in Damascus, and now lives in one of the more risky districts of the camp.  Everyday she dresses up with confidence in her old city clothes, and she has started programs to educate and mentor the young girls.  She works with Mr. Lee and was instrumental in beginning the all-girl taekwondo class.  

We also witnessed Ibrahim, one of the taekwondo students, play a lead role in the most powerful performance of Shakesepeare’s King Lear that we had ever seen (Out of all the world's media present at the performance, we were the only ones with a do-it-yourself crane!).  

Ibrahim in the final "Shakespeare in Zaatari" rehearsal
Ibrahim in the final "Shakespeare in Zaatari" rehearsal

In just 3 weeks, we filmed some beautiful footage, thanks to Jason & Frank our wonderful DP’s, and discovered a story much more impressive than anything we could have imagined.  We had an incredible first trip, but we need much more time there to finish the documentary.

With your support, we can travel back to Jordan this fall and explore deeper into the stories of Mr. Lee, his students, and their families at the Zaatari taekwondo school.  By sharing these stories, we hope to highlight the human faces who are affected by the Syrian conflict, not just the political side that so often becomes the main focus of attention.  Our goal is to paint an accurate, multi-dimensional portrait of the effects of the Syrian crisis and tell a story of hope and resilience. 

About the SYRIAN REFUGEE CRISIS

Zaatari Refugee Camp

  • Built and opened in less than 2 weeks on July 28th 2012
  • Currently houses over 101,400 people  *These numbers are constantly changing. 
  • Over half of the camp's population is under the age of 18
  • It is currently the 4th largest city in Jordan
Syria
  • Over 40% of Syria's pre-war population is now displaced.
  • That is over 9 MILLION displaced people total.
  • Every MINUTE 1 new family becomes displaced inside Syria.
  • On March 15th, 2014 the Syrian conflict entered its 4th year. 
The Zaatari Refugee Camp
The Zaatari Refugee Camp

The REWARDS 

A group of friends in Zaatari. Colorful scarves: $100 Reward.
A group of friends in Zaatari. Colorful scarves: $100 Reward.
Heiba in Amman - Photo Print by Jason Howell ($200 reward)
Heiba in Amman - Photo Print by Jason Howell ($200 reward)

 *Note - if you would like a photo print, there are many images to choose from!  We'll send you an assortment and let you pick your favorite

*INDOMITABLE SPIRIT bracelet is leather, 1/4" width.  Handmade. 

Where will we spend the MONEY

We are so thankful for our first trip but we need to go back to finish the documentary.  We are raising funds for a 2 month production trip back to Jordan. The story is constantly evolving and the only way to do it justice is to be there, with them, for an extended amount of time.

Meet the CREW!

The shooting crew with some of our new friends in Zaatari
The shooting crew with some of our new friends in Zaatari

JORDAN CREW: Jenn Durrett, Khalid Jabareen, Hala Hindawi, Mission X.

Thanks To: Haley Thompson (Trailer Cut), Laurel Denise (Indomitable Spirit Bracelet), James LeSage, Erica Sergott, Jorge Garza, Jeff Yang, William J. Hopper, John Fisher, A. Joshua Vargas, Janelle Hawkes, Amanda Schat, Janice Hsieh, Miriam Tielmann, Kim Ching, Adnan Kusybi, Rami Helmi, Fadi Odeh, Ian LeSage. 

THANK YOU to Katie Herzig for the use of "Lost and Found" in our trailer.  Check out her music at www.katieherzig.com

THANK YOU!!

Thank you for visiting our Kickstarter page. We hope you are inspired, or at least intrigued by Mr. Lee’s story as much as we were. If you would like to receive updates, please follow and help us spread the word through social media. 

Instagram, Twitter: @afterspringfilm

Facebook: www.facebook.com/afterspringfilm

Website: afterspringfilm.com

Website THANK YOU Page

PRESS

We're featured in SPORTS DOING GOOD!  Check out our article HERE

Check our our article in DRAMA FEVER

AUDREY Magazine wrote about the After Spring & the Zaatari TKD school!

iNTERNATIONAL TAEKWON-DO FEDERATION.  Thank you for your continued support! 

INDIEWIRE PROJECT OF THE DAY! Stay tuned for the Project of the Week Vote!  

Thanks to your votes we are INDIEWIRE's PROJECT OF THE WEEK!

Article about After Spring on BUZZFEED

According to PERSEPHONE MAGAZINE, we're Kickstartable!

Check out this Q&A with producer, Steph Ching on THE SPORTS POST!

And this great article on the ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE Blog!

Risks and challenges

Our biggest challenges are definitely location and language barriers. Everyday we are filming less than 8 miles from the Syrian border. Although Jordan is a stable country, and the camp is well run by the UNHCR and the Jordanian police, we are still filming in a very delicate environment. However, after our first trip we are now familiar with all permits, regulations, and precautions necessary for being in this location.

Language is a challenge because Mr. Lee speaks Korean, the Syrians speak Arabic, and we speak English (But we are slowly learning!). Luckily we have Brian Kang, our trustworthy Korean translator who has helped us develop a great relationship with Mr. Lee. Khalid and Hala were our Arabic on-location translators. During the few times they aren’t around, a smile and a wave go a long way!

Given our diverse backgrounds and our experience during our first trip in March, we are confident in our team. Combined we have skills in wilderness survival, expertise working in disaster areas, an Air Force vet, and a former member of the Jordanian police force. We are a team that can adapt and this flexibility will be invaluable throughout this journey.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

  • We would love the support of the Taewkondo community! Thanks for reaching out.

    One thing a school, or group can do is pool together a donation. We have a reward, ON SCREEN SPECIAL THANKS ($800) that would be perfect. Collect donations and fundraise together at your school, create a Kickstarter account with your school's name, and donate on this page. Your TKD school will be credited at the end of the film!

    Last updated:

Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    9 backers

    Shukran (شكرا) and Kamsahamnida (감사합니다)! You are helping us get our project off the ground!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    30 backers

    WEB SHOUTOUT - We will add your name to the "Thank You" page on our website!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    77 backers

    DIGITAL DOWNLOAD - You will receive an HD digital download of our final film. Also a web shoutout.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    9 backers

    TAEKWONDO DANCE MUSIC VIDEO - Among their many martial arts talents, our Taekwondo kids are also very coordinated. Check out this choreographed dance incorporating various Taekwondo forms to an awesome song. You will also receive the web shoutout and digital download of the film.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    21 backers

    DVD - You will receive the DVD, web shoutout, and downloads of the film and music video.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $60 or more

    32 backers

    INDOMITABLE SPIRIT BRACELET (The 5th Tenet of Taekwondo) - A bracelet custom designed for the film by Laurel Denise. You will also receive all above digital downloads and web shoutouts.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    2 backers Limited (23 left of 25)

    SYRIAN FLAG FROM ZAATARI - Our film is about moving forward and finding symbols of hope. The Syrian 'Independence flag' flies all over Zaatari and reminds the refugees everyday of the freedom they hope for. The green flags are a strong visual symbol present in the camp, and our documentary. Show your support and receive a piece of history with this miniature flag. You will also receive all digital downloads.

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    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    32 backers

    SCARF OR SHEMAGH FROM JORDAN - The Syrians are extremely fashionable, even in the Zaatari refugee camp. A refugee-run market street in the center of Zaatari has even been dubbed the 'Champs-Élysees'. The women and girls experiment with patterns and color, bringing brightness to an otherwise bleak environment. Their resilience and style will be shown through our many female characters. We willl send you a colorful scarf from the women of Zaatari, or a male red and white checkered Shemagh, local to Jordan and the region. All digital downloads also included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $120 or more

    1 backer

    SHEMAGH AND INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO - Filming in the desert calls for protection against sand/wind and our camera team adopted the shemagh as their headgear of choice. Get your very own shemagh AND an instructional video featuring our DP, Jason Howell, showing you how to wear it in several different styles. You will also receive all above digital downloads and web shoutouts.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    5 backers

    DIGITAL DOWNLOAD PACK - HD Download of the final film, Taekwondo Music Video, BABY CAMEL video, and an additional digital surprise. Great for international donors (no shipping fees)!

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    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    8 backers

    LIMITED EDITION PHOTO PRINT - Our DPs, Jason Howell and Frank Weiss captured some beautiful still images. We'll send you a limited edition, 11x14, color print featuring one of our favorite moments in Jordan. Also, all digital downloads and web shoutouts.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $300 or more

    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    ARTWORK BY A TAEKWONDO STUDENT - The children created some beautiful paintings based on what Taekwondo means to them. Receive your very own piece of artwork. You will also receive all digital downloads and web shoutouts.

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    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $350 or more

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    ARTWORK BY A TAEKWONDO STUDENT + PHOTO PORTRAIT - Curious about who actually created that painting? Receive the original drawing plus a high quality photo print of the child who painted it. You will also receive all digital downloads and web shoutouts.

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    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    3 backers Limited (5 left of 8)

    2 TICKETS TO THE NY PREMIERE (Travel and lodging not included) - Come join us in New York City and watch the final film on the big screen! There may even be a party afterwards! You will also get your choice of shemagh or scarf, physical DVD, and all digital downloads and web shoutouts.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $650 or more

    2 backers

    3 SURPRISE REWARDS - Want a shemagh and a bracelet? Want a flag and some photos? We’ll give you a surprise combo pack of three of the previous rewards. You may even get a pair of tickets to the premiere, who knows?! You will also receive all digital downloads and web shoutouts.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $800 or more

    1 backer

    ON SCREEN SPECIAL THANKS - We will thank you in the end credits of our film. You will also receive all digital downloads and web shoutouts.

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

    2 backers Limited (18 left of 20)

    PERSONALIZED CARE PACKAGE FROM JORDAN - While we're in Jordan, we will send you a care package filled with mystery goodies from Jordan/Zaatari including photos, handwritten notes, artwork, our favorite Arabic coffee, and more. You will also receive all digital downloads, web shootouts and on-screen special thanks.

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    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,500 or more

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    SKYPE WITH MR. LEE - Meet the man behind it all - have an exclusive 1 hour Skype conversation with Mr. Lee and ask him whatever you want! Korean translator Brian Kang will also sit in on the call if needed. You will also receive all digital downloads, web shootouts and on-screen special thanks.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    SCREENING - You and your organization/group of friends will see one of the first screenings of the finished film! We will come to you (NY/East Coast area) or Skype in for a discussion about the project (Skype option great for International Donors). You will also get all digital downloads, web shootouts and on-screen special thanks.

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Funding period

- (35 days)