Donation and FAQ

We’re currently raising money to fund the continued production of Living with Dead Hearts. 20% of your donation to our film will be passed along to the Xinxing Aid Center for street children. See below for details.

Why Donate?

  • Because you think what we’re doing is important.
  • Because you want to support independent films.
  • Because 20% of your donation will go to the Xinxing center and directly help kidnapped children.
  • Because you get sweet rewards (see below).
  • Because you are awesome.

How to Donate

You can send us money via Paypal from any country, in any currency. Paypal is 100% safe and if you don’t have an account, you can still send money using a credit card. Just click on the button below to get started.


We’re looking to raise around $4,000. We can also accept bank transfers in China or the US; additionally, we’d be willing to meet up with Beijing readers to accept donations in cash if it’s easier.

Rewards Levels

We’re running this thing like Kickstarter, which means when you donate money, you get something in return.

  • Donate $1 or more: Your name goes in the end credits of the film and you get access to exclusive donor-only content like desktop wallpapers.
  • Donate $15 or more: All the above, plus access to our monthly production updates via email.
  • Donate $30 or more: All the above, plus access to production stills.
  • Donate $50 or more: All the above, plus access to exclusive video clips and a DVD copy of the finished film once it’s done.
  • Donate $100 or more: All the above but now the DVD is signed and accompanied by a personal thank you letter from the director.
  • Donate $250 or more: All the above, plus contact our producers to ask your own questions to our interview subjects and get their responses translated for you.
  • Donate $500 or more: All the above, plus you’re listed as an Executive Producer and an invitation to one free dinner with the director the next time you’re in Beijing.
  • Donate $750 or more: All the above, plus personalized updates on the film’s progress straight from the director, who you can also chat with on Skype about the film’s progress.
  • Donate $1000 or more: All the above, plus exclusive early access to the finished film and the chance to record an audio commentary for the soundtrack.
  • Donate $2000 or more: You are incredible. You get everything listed above, and anything else you can think of that we can feasibly provide. Talk to us about how we can make you a part of the film.

Once you’ve decided which rewards level is right for you, just click the button below to make a secure donation via Paypal.


Where does the money go?

20% of it goes to the Xinxing Aid center in Baoji. They do great work there providing services to kidnapped and street children. We’ve visited them once already and we want to help them.

The rest goes to covering our expenses making the film, which include but are not limited to:

TRAVEL: Paying for train tickets, lodging, and food when we’re on the road.
GEAR: Renting gear when needed for special shots.
EDITING: Buying a computer to edit with (our current machine is too old and broken to be able to handle a full-length film).
POST: Post-production is a long and potentially expensive process. We will probably need extra money to license music or video clips, or hire more experienced editors and/or animators to work on portions of the film that may require expert knowledge.

We’re hoping to raise at least $4,000, which would be enough to cover the cost of a new computer and a little bit of travel.

I can’t afford to donate; can I still help?

Yes! While we hope that everyone can kick in at least a dollar or two, we recognize that not everyone has the means to make the kind of donation they might want to. If you want to help out, the easiest way is just to tell your friends and family about this site. Post it to your Facebook, Tweet about it, and see if you can convince other people to donate too.

If you have other talents that might be helpful, don’t hesitate to get in touch! Especially if you make music; you can also help by donating non-exclusive rights to some of your music to the film. But be reasonable and think about whether your music might work in the context of this film. Not every song is a good fit, and some genres are more or less out completely (I’m looking at you, death metal).

Why not use Kickstarter or Indiegogo?

We had a great experience with Kickstarter and we highly recommend them, but we wanted to try to go our own way here. When you fund a Kickstarter project, some of that money goes to Kickstarter and some of it goes to Amazon Payments. We figured, instead of giving money to those guys, why not run the donations through Paypal, and give a percentage of the money to someone who really needs it?

The Xinxing Aid center is a rescue center in Baoji, China. They take care of street children who have been kidnapped and forced to beg, run away from home, or otherwise forced onto the street. Xinxing is the only rescue center in the country that provides kids with psychological counseling and other wellness services instead of just food and a bunk.

We visited there to film and to meet some of the kids, so we know for a fact that they’re doing great work and we want to support them. That’s why we’re using our own site and Paypal — so that 20% of your donation goes to the folks at Xinxing Aid. (We’ll post videos of them receiving the donated money once our fundraising drive is finished).

Didn’t you already do this?

Yup, we raised over $8,000 through Kickstarter last year, which worked out to about $7,500 after Kickstarter and Amazon Payments fees, plus various transfer fees. Most of that went to buying gear to shoot with, and the rest we spent on travel, which has ended up being more expensive than we budgeted for because of new regulations and limited ticket availabilty.

In addition to the money donated to us, we’ve spent about $3,000 of our own money on making the film so far, and even if we meet our fundraising goal this time around, we’ll likely spend more of our own money. That’s OK, this is a labor of love and we don’t mind that at all. We’re asking for donations again because we don’t want it to become a labor of poverty.

I have more questions…

OK. If they’re about the film itself, you can read more details here. If you’ve got questions about the donation process or anything else that isn’t covered, you can just email me: custerc at gmail dot com. I’m the director, so if I don’t know the answer, probably no one does!

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