About this project
On the face of it, “American Secret” is about an outdated medical practice, but at core the film is an examination of how memes proliferate, how ideas spread, and how thought patterns take hold.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
- 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'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
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"Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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.
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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