Breaking the Mold: The Kee Malesky Story

PBS (2003)
Director: Joshua Seftel

Originally commissioned by Maryland Public Television to teach middle school children about indoor air quality, Breaking the Mold has gained cult status and numerous awards on the film festival circuit as a witty commentary on pop culture. An entirely fictional coming of age story about the real-life Kee Malesky (staff librarian at NPR), it’s a quirky, fast-paced comedy directed by Joshua Seftel and narrated by NPR’s Scott Simon. At age 16, Kee Malesky is in a deep funk, spending most of her time cataloguing her teen magazine collection and helping her mother polish her brother’s trophies. It will take guidance from her best friend, an appearance on a popular reality television show, and a severe asthma attack induced by toxic mold to finally get Kee back on track.


“Manic, madcap, and tender…Full of Lovely Details.”
– Alexander Payne, Director of The Descendants, Sideways and Election

“It made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me scared of mold.”
– Judd Apatow, Director of The 40-Year-Old Virgin

“A colorful delight!”
- Susan Stamberg, NPR


Jury Prize, Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, 2003

Official Selection, Los Angeles International Short Film Festival

Official Selection, Newport International Film Festival

Official Selection, Austin Film Festival

Winner, Environmental Media Award, 2004