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A unique interactive website that tackles bullying at its core: the masculine cult of toughness that sets up the bully/target/bystander landscape
Deirdre Fishel
Brooklyn, New York
United States
4 Team Members
After 43 years, Women Make Movies continues to achieve international recognition with Academy®, Emmy® and Peabody nominations and awards, as well as at Cannes and Sundance. Women Make Movies, a non-profit feminist media organization, is the world's largest distributor of films by and about women and our Production Assistance Program helps women get their films on the screen, including this year’s Academy® winner Citizenfour. Contributions for this project are tax-deductible via Women Make Movies and to the extent permitted by law.

If you'd rather pay by check you can make it out to Women Make Movies and send it to Mind's Eye Productions, 406 Douglass St., Bklyn, NY 11217



The Boy Game Interactive Website

The Boy Game is a first of its kind interactive website that tackles bullying at its core:the cult of male toughness.  Michael Kimmel, Pulitzer Prize nominated author of Manhood in America says, "if the conversation about bullying is going to advance, this is the project that will help us advance it". We need to protect targets absolutely but to deal with the toxic  bully/target/bystander crisis we need to stop just vilifying bullies and begin to unpack the complicated dynamics the gets boys swept up in the dyanmics of bullying or watching in silent conflict. And violence breeds violence.  Victims are far more likely to become perpetrators.  This cutting edge site will be a free resource for educators nationwide to engage kids in a real discussion about the complex dynamics of the world boys live and how it could be different. How does this concern girls?  This project was started at the Ms. Foundation when they realized to create a safe world for girls they had to look at boys and traditional male culture that equates masculinity with toughess.  This is a world where boys oppress girls and terrorize gay youth to prove their masculinity.  And girls need to be part of the conversation because they can either support the aggression or stand up against it.

Based on off-the-record interviews with boys nationwide, then fashioned into hard hitting scenarios, the scenarios are shot like a doc, to  capture the intense pressures boys face every day.

The site will provide a compelling, game like environment for educators to take middle and high school kids (boys alone and co-ed groups) to explore how the culture of toughness creates a platform for bullying and stops kids from standing up. 

  • It will allow users to go into the story from the unique perspective of each of the characters
  • Interactive comics will take users deep into the mind of a bully, a target and a bystander, showing how all are conflicted by both wanting to connect and to seem tough enough
  • Amazing doc interviews with diverse men and boys will shed light on the issues the scenes bring up
  • Kids will be able to upload their videos that reflect their take on the issues and their lives
  • A free downloadable study guide will frame the issues, help educators raise critical dialogue and will have creative exercises to bring home the issues emotionally and intellecutally, including helping kids create their own videos to be uploaded onto the site.

Most importantly theboygame.org will be a free national resource

What we've done already

We've shot and finished a 16 minute linear version of the project from the vantage point of the bystander that has just been accepted for distribution with New Day Films, the largest social issue distributor in the country.  But we're on indiegogo now raising money for the website because the website can do so many things a linear video can't including allowing users to go into through the POV of each of the characters and be a fee resource.

Kenny Sosnowski, who plays the bystander, is the lead on an upcoming Nickelodeon series, ALIEN DAWN: http://www.larrysband.com/

Director/Producer Background/Track Record

Hi, my name is Deirdre Fishel and I have a 20 year history writing/directing dramas and documentaries.  My dramatic feature Risk premiered in competition at Sundance,  and was broadcast on 35 channels worldwide. My feature doc Still Doing It premiered at SXSW and was broadcast in 15 countries.  Now I’m  excited about a hybrid form in which I interview kids off the record to get at what happens behind closed doors, fashion a hard-hitting scenario that cuts to the meat of the issues, then improv the script with talented actors. The teen dating violence video I did using this technique won a Cine Golden Eagle. To learn more visit: http://www.mindseyeprods.com

What We Need

We are looking to raise $25,000 to:

  • Shoot the last 20% of the story assets, including powerful scenes that show boys struggling to organize and stand up, scenes that will provide a realistic tool kit for bystanders. 
  • Develop the interactive comics with poignancy and humor that will get at the fears and fantasies all the characters have that lead to action and inaction
  • Build the wire frame for the site with our collaborator Michael Gibson, who developed the Webby-nominated Inside The Haiti Earthquake http://www.insidedisaster.com/experience/Main.html

With our site this well-developed, we will be in an extraordinary position to get the second $25,000 from either Creative Capital, with whom we’ve made it to the second round of grant reviews, or from the many corporations and foundations interested in being part of a national resource that can be aligned to state mandates for bullying education.  

What You Get

  • A tax deductible donation from our fiscal sponsor Women Make Movies
  • Knowing you are part of helping to look at bullying not from the vantage point of the roles boys play, which demonizes bullies, but from the vantage point of a culture that limits all boys
  • Great perks: things like a beautiful poster, The Boy Game DVD, credits on the website, our help producing a video with your group, and more! 

The Impact

The culture of toughness promoted in the media, by many coaches and even by some parents, equates masculinity with being silent and tough. Any other emotions are seen as "feminine" or "gay" and leave kids open to ridicule, even assault. Not only do LGBTQ kids suffer under this system, but all kids do. The fact of the matter is no one can fit into this box, because being silent and tough just isn't human.

Boys desperately need a way to talk about the painful gender straitjacketing to which they are subjected, in order to develop the resilience needed to stand up, be themselves and redefine masculinity in terms of emotional, tolerant strength.

The 16-minute video portion of this project has been accepted for distribution with New Day Films and will begin a massive national launch in August.

Other Ways You Can Help

If you can’t contribute, you can still help:

  • Help us get the word out and make some noise about our campaign using the Indiegogo share tools!
  • If you know a boy or man who you think might be a great subject for one of our interviews, let us know! 

Contact us!

Deirdre Fishel - deirdref@mindspring.com  (718) 638-0028

Alice Shindelar - aashindelar@gmail.com   (612) 978-4763


Find This Campaign On
raised by 119 people in 1 month
43% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$25,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on August 17, 2012
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Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    Special thanks!

    You get a very special thank you on our website for taking a stance against bullying and promoting the idea of masculinity as being about resilient, tolerant strength. (all tax deductible)

    26 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2012
  • $25USD
    The Boy Game poster

    Thanks on our website, AND the original Boy Game Project poster. ($22 tax deductible)

    16 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2012
  • $40USD
    Digital Download

    Digital download of the powerful 15 minute stand alone video PLUS a personal thank you on the website.

    7 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2012
  • $50USD
    Test Drive Website

    Thanks on our website, the original Boy Game Project poster, AND the chance to be one of the first to test drive the website. ($47 tax deductible)

    6 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2013
  • $100USD
    The DVD

    Thank you on website, poster, chance to test drive site, AND a copy of the Boy Game DVD for your home collection. ($94 tax deductible)

    8 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2013
  • $100USD
    DVD - Full Educational Package

    Thank you on website, poster, chance to test drive site, AND a copy of the Boy Game DVD with companion study guide ( a resource in itself) written by Harvard educators. Extras include illuminating interviews with Tony Porter and Michael Kimmel. Get this amazing educational package with a tax deduction and help make the website happen!! (Over $120 value) ($94 tax deductible)

    15 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2012
  • $200USD
    Donate the DVD and study guide

    Thank you on website, poster, chance to test drive site, DVD, AND we'll donate the DVD and study guide, an amazing resource, to a school of your choice in your name which will be listed on the website. ($194 tax deductible)

    3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2013
  • $250USD
    Executive Producer!

    Executive Producer Credit on website and all promo info indefinitely + poster+ DVD + DVD donation (244 tax deductible)

    5 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2013
  • $500USD
    Book AND an invite to launch

    Thank you on website, poster, chance to test drive site, DVD, donation to school, AND a signed copy of one of two books by renowned writers on the culture of hyper-masculinity (either Pulitzer prize nominated Ph.D. Michael Kimmel's book Guyland or A Call to Men founder Tony Porter's book The Man Box), AND an invitation to our premiere party for the launch of the website in NYC. (*the book is unique to this donation level) ($485 tax deductible)

    1 out of 40 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2013
  • $1,000USD
    Screenplay/production class

    Have that screenplay or doc you, your group or teenager has long wanted to get off the ground? Three 3 hour intensives by award-winning filmmaker Deirdre Fishel who has been teaching private classes at School of Visual Arts and The New School for over a decade. This is a soup to nuts intensive that will get you on your way to making it happen! Can be redeemed for 2 years! Will do personally in NYC, over phone or skype elsewhere. + poster+ DVD+ invite to launch party ($994.00 tax deductible) (amount over $6 is tax-deductible)

    2 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2013
  • $3,000USD
    Help making your movie happen!

    Have a project you, your group, or your kids want to make but you just don't know how to make it happen? Award-winning filmmaker Deirdre Fishel will work with you over 6 sessions to make it happen. 2 intensive pre-production classes, 2 production classes and 2 editing classes. If you have man power, but not sure if you have the skills, we can help you make it happen! +thank you+ poster+DVD+DVD donation+invite to launch party+name or company logo on home page of site. ($2994 tax deductible) (amount over $6 is tax-deductible)

    0 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2013
  • $5,000USD
    We'll shoot your project 4U!

    We will shoot a short doc for you! Could be for your organization, could be for your family. Must be five minutes or less. But we'll come, plan with you, do 1-2 days of shooting and do two rounds of editing!!! + get thank you on website, poster, chance to test drive site, DVD, donation to school, invite to launch party +name or company logo on home page of site ($4994 tax deductible) (amount over $6 is tax-deductible)

    0 out of 3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2013
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