Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 2, 2013.

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One Nation Under Knife: Circumcision in the USA

On the face of it, “American Secret” is about an outdated medical practice, but at core the film is an examination of how memes proliferate, how ideas spread, and how thought patterns take hold. 

The film also explores questions we rarely ask ourselves, such as how we decide what we’re going to think about, what we’re going to reconsider, what we’re going to resist, and what we aren’t. The film’s overarching questions being: “How do we come to believe what we believe?” and “What role do reason and fact play in establishing or changing our beliefs?”

“American Secret” takes us through the history of how male infant circumcision first became popularized in secular medicine, and the economic and cultural incentives responsible for its lingering on. The film pushes back against this rarely questioned cultural norm, which, though ingrained domestically has long since fallen out of favor abroad.

The film reveals the reactions of people throughout the developed world who are perplexed by Americans’ pathologization of the foreskin. We hear from experts in the field of cognitive science about what is actually motivating us when we make decisions about breaking with habit and tradition, and and how our feelings and insecurities color our views of past actions.

To date the film has wrapped interviews with over 16 of the leading activists in the pro-intact movement, including physicians, attorneys, midwives, nurses, and plaintiffs in wrongful circumcision cases. 

There's still shooting that remains to be done! The script calls for additional interviews and both contemporary and historical re-enactments, which will be used to paint a compelling depiction of the cultural climate in which circumcision first gained a foothold.

Whether you're male or not, American or not, you should care about the issue of circumcision in the United States. Widespread violations of sexual agency never develop in a vacuum.

This film has the potential to spare millions of children a needless, risky, and painful surgery which deprives them of the uniquely sensitive nerve endings and tissue valuable in adulthood. But we can’t do it alone. To date, this film has been almost entirely self-financed by the director. In order to continue production, we need your help. Whatever you can give will edge us nearer to our goal. Please consider backing this project, and also circulating this Kickstarter among those you know.

You’re protected: Your pledges aren't actually processed by Kickstarter unless the campaign is 100% successful. We meet our goal or we get nothing!

Here's how your contributions will be spent...UPDATED STRETCH GOALS:

  • Musical Scoring
  • Stock and Archival footage research and licensing
  • Motion Graphics and effects
  • Online promotion and marketing
  • Screening fees
  • Storyboarding and Planning
  • Historical and Medical advising, for accuracy
  • Shooting additional interviews
  • Re-enactments shoots: sets, props, costumes,
  • Actors and crew for contemporary and historical re-enactments: (i.e., paying to keep a doctor’s office open after hours or on a Sunday, renting space in a historic home)
  • Prosthetics and Medical Effects makeup
  • Voiceovers
  • Legal advising
  • Production Insurance

You can become a backer in 3 quick steps:

  • Step 1: Read through the pledge levels and rewards we're offering in the right sidebar of this page.

  • Step 2: Click the large, green "BACK THIS PROJECT" button to the right of the video at the top of this page.

  • Step 3: Enter your pledge amount - and complete the steps for filling in your information.

You’re done!

You've played an important role in sharing this message, and get to enjoy some interesting and novel rewards.

***We regret that after our outreach appeal was edited we were informed that 2 of the rewards we'd intended to offer: YourSkin cones and TLC Tuggers, were found to be in violation of Kickstarter's terms which do not allow "personal care" products as rewards. Apologies for any disappointment or confusion. We appreciate that TLCTugger founder Ron Low's was willing to be so generous.  -Francelle 

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Every independent film is up against unique challenges. Sometimes these set backs are game-changing, but more often they are at worst expensive, aggravating, and inconvenient. A certain percentage of interviews will invariably be cancelled and rebooked, a certain number of outdoor re-enactments postponed due to inclement weather. Certain medical bodies and certain cereal companies might not like what we have to say, and may attempt to try and stop us from saying it. "American Secret" has already overcome a number of hurdles and is ready to navigate whatever else gets thrown its way. An effort has been made to build "contingency" into our costs, and realistic timing into our schedule. It seems highly unlikely that anything could threaten the completion of the film, though a variety of factors determine whether we cross the finish line sooner rather than later.

Possibilities for distribution are still being explored. As the film moves further towards completion, with an increasing number of scenes moving from script to screen, we will be better positioned to market the film. Free online release is a solid "Plan B", but we do intend to first pursue the festival circuit and / or hosting our own screenings to give the film its best shot of being picked up for distribution. Given the subject matter, domestic release in the United States may be a particularly long and winding road.

The money that we are raising now will allow for continued shooting on this film. To create the desired film, we may need to run additional rounds of fundraising in the future.

We are encouraged by the steadfast support we are already receiving. Before even attempting to publicize the film's pitch reel, pro-intact advocates began circulating it on social media, and contributions came in without solicitation. So far we have seen an outpouring of support from movement leaders and grassroots activists, alike. Like you, we’re in this for the long haul.

Our Deep Thanks!

Francelle, for "American Secret"

FAQ

  • We want to position "American Secret" to give it the strongest possible chance at getting picked up for distribution. If a film in its entirety is made available online, that can significantly deter distributors. So for these reason, we are not offering a digital download of the entire film as a reward. Please consider the dvd or Blu-ray. Thank you for understanding.

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  • The all-or-nothing model is Kickstarter's, not ours. We chose to go with Kickstarter for its reach, but also, we did not want to tell people that we could make progress for less than we actually can. Much of what people are responding to in the 3-minute reel are dramatic devices and effects that cost money. To continue production while maintaining a similar standard, a certain amount of funding is required.

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    We'll publicly thank you on the film's website.

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    Personalized Thank-You. The director will email you, and/or post to your Facebook or Twitter or Google+ page, a short video address thanking everyone who contributed at this level.

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    Bumper Sticker. A loud and clear message for those tailgating you. Specially designed bumper stickers, one for my fellow Americans featuring the movie’s tagline: “Circumcision: “One Nation, Under Knife”, another for our pro-intact allies around the globe: “Circumcision: A Cure in Search of a Disease”. You needed an excuse to do more joy-riding.

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    Credit Covers, "Skins for your Credit Card" Just like your glans, your credit card wants to be covered! Our good friends at CreditCovers.com are donating pro-intact themed covers to our campaign. Stick these tongue-in-cheek covers onto any credit card and allow them to do the talking with every transaction.

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    24 backers Limited (4 left of 28)

    From artist Carl J Schutt, "PAPERSCHUTT", a personalized copy of his book "I want my foreskin for Giftmas". Don't be fooled by the vibrant colors and smiley characters, this "non-childrens" book, as Carl terms it, is very much for the adults in your life and not the little ones. Carl will personalize each copy by crafting your name into a paper design on the inside cover of the book.

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    “American Secret” preview. Before the film is released, you will receive a password-protected link to 8 minutes of footage from the completed film.

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    T-Shirt or Mug Your choice of an “American Secret” t-shirt or a more office-environment friendly, “American Secret” frosted mug or ‘to go’ cup.

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    Receive a DVD of the completed film, signed by the director. Add $15 for Blu-ray.

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    DVD Package. Includes a signed DVD (add $15 for Blu-Ray), a t-shirt, and a bumper sticker.

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    Original artwork by Michael Dulin. Send artist and pro-intact advocate Michael Dulin your favorite photograph and let him turn it into either an 8" x 10" oil painting or a 4" x 6" terracotta tile. Upgrade your memories from snapshots to portraits. Whether a sunset captured on vacation, a festive family holiday, or something more personal (Mr. Dulin specializes in the human form), transform your memories into art. Also included: the completed film on DVD (add $15 for Blu-Ray) and a t-shirt.

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    Paper portraitist Carl J Schutt, aka "PAPERSCHUTT" is kindly contributing his time and talents to our campaign with his artwork created from hand-cut layers of paper Send Carl a photograph you'd like to see hanging in a place of prominence in your home, and he will send you back an 11 x 14, already framed paper portrait ready to display.

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    These went fast the first round! Original artwork by Michael Dulin. Send artist and pro-intact advocate Michael Dulin your favorite photograph and let him turn it into either an 8" x 10" oil painting or a 4" x 6" terracotta tile. Upgrade your memories from snapshots to portraits. Whether a sunset captured on vacation, a festive family holiday, or something more personal (Mr. Dulin specializes in the human form), transform your memories into art. Also included: the completed film on DVD (add $15 for Blu-Ray) and a t-shirt.

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    Join the director for a day of sailing and watching the races at the epic Cup Defense in San Francisco Bay! We will be the guests of seasoned sailor Jeff Hazelwood, co-creator of “Boys Deserve Better”. For the first time in 20 years, the United States will be hosting. Jeff forecasts a thrilling day out on the water amid the sailors. Scheduled for the week of September 7th - September 14th, with the rain date being September 14th - September 20th. Exact day to be determined. Also receive 2 t-shirts, the travel mug, the to-go mug, bumper sticker, credit cover, 8 Minute Preview, and either a signed DVD or Blu-ray. Travel not included.

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    Come out for a day of sailing with the director of “American Secret”, captained by "Boys Deserve Better"’s Jeff Hazelwood. You and a guest will join us in lovely Havre de Grace, Maryland for a day on the water on a date of your choosing between July and October. Also receive 2 t-shirts, the travel mug, the to-go mug, bumper sticker, credit cover, 8 Minute Preview, and either a signed DVD or Blu-ray. Travel not included.

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    An “Associate Producer” credit. Your own title card in the film and on IMDB! You'll also get a call with the director, the signed DVD (or Blu-Ray), three each of our t-shirts, mugs, and bumper stickers, and tickets to all of our film's screenings.

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    An “Associate Producer” credit. Your own title card in the film and on IMDB! You'll also get the "Day out Sailing with the director", in either Havre de Grace, MD, or San Francisco during the September 2013 cup defense. Your choice. A call with the director, the signed DVD (or Blu-Ray), 3 personalized copies of "I Want My Foreskin For Giftmas", three each of our t-shirts, mugs, and bumper stickers, and 2 tickets to all of our film's screenings.

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    An “Associate Producer” credit. Your own title card in the film and on IMDB! You'll also receive the art option, either by Michael Dulin or Carl J Schutt, your choice. A call with the director, the signed DVD (or Blu-Ray), 3 personalized copies of "I Want My Foreskin For Giftmas", three each of our t-shirts, mugs, and bumper stickers, and 2 tickets to all of our film's screenings.

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    An “Executive Producer” credit in the film. Your own title card in the film and on IMDB! We'll bring a screening of American Secret to your hometown - invite everyone you know! You'll also get a call with the director, the signed DVD (or Blu-Ray), and three each of our t-shirts, mugs, and bumper stickers.

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    An “Executive Producer” credit in the film. Your own title card in the film and on IMDB! We'll bring a screening of American Secret to your hometown - invite everyone you know! You'll also get the "Day out Sailing with the director", in either Havre de Grace, MD, or San Francisco during the September 2013 cup defense. Your choice. A call with the director, the signed DVD (or Blu-Ray), 3 personalized copies of "I Want My Foreskin For Giftmas", three each of our t-shirts, mugs, and bumper stickers, and 2 tickets to all of our film's screenings.

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    An “Executive Producer” credit in the film. Your own title card in the film and on IMDB! We'll bring a screening of American Secret to your hometown - invite everyone you know! You'll also You'll also receive the art option, either by Michael Dulin or Carl J Schutt, your choice. Your choice. A call with the director, the signed DVD (or Blu-Ray), 3 personalized copies of "I Want My Foreskin For Giftmas", three each of our t-shirts, mugs, and bumper stickers, and 2 tickets to all of our film's screenings.

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Funding period

- (30 days)