This month’s crowdfunding picks are centered on the importance of love in the lives of women. Whether romantic or familial, love is the impetus driving the female protagonists in this month’s crowdfunding picks.
In “Signature Move,” protagonist Zaynab (Fawzia Mirza) is a Pakistani-Muslim-lesbian who is unsure of who she is. Falling in love with Alma allows Zaynab to explore a different culture than the one she is familiar with (Alma is Mexican) and it strengthens Zaynab’s confidence in herself. The film, which is part romantic comedy and part coming of age story, is intended to “celebrate a breadth of experiences and identities not always given equal screen time” — and in doing so is demonstrating how important women-centric films are to today’s film landscape.
The short film “Lily & Mara” is about two sisters who are quite close. Mara takes her little sister Lily to the beach, which is not an easy feat, since Lily is sick and in a wheelchair. Yet Mara’s dedication to her sister surpasses the difficulty of the task. Together they make memories on the shore that will surely last a lifetime.
Finally, “Unbound” is an ambitious project helmed by Maggie Mahrt. Based on Karen Russell’s short story “Reeling for the Empire,” the film follows a young Japanese woman working in a silk factory in order to support her family. But the hard work is so consuming that she begins to morph into a silkworm herself. By blurring the line between reality and magic the film explores the admirable and courageous risks women take to protect their loved ones.
Here are our April crowdfunding picks:
“Signature Move” – Directed by Jennifer Reeder; Written by Fawzia Mirza and Lisa Donato
“Signature Move” arose from writer and star Fawzia Mirza’s desire to create characters that reflected her experiences. The strong women at the center of the project are compelling and complex. Zaynab (Mirza) is a 30-something woman taking care of her grandmother, whose conservatism leads Zaynab to keep some parts of her life under wraps. First, Zaynab is in love with Alma and second, Zaynab has also fallen in love with wrestling. Alma’s grandmother is an inspiration to Zaynab as she too was a wrestler — a lucha libre fighter — in Mexico in the ’40s. For this project, the filmmakers have also teamed up with IFP Chicago, a non-profit supporting independent film. IFP Chicago will receive a portion of contributions earned by the crowdfunding campaign.
Support this project via Indiegogo through April 21.
“Lily & Mara” – Directed by Caroline Roberts; Written by Caroline Roberts and Tracy Sayre
The short film “Lily & Mara” is a tender story about two sisters spending time together at the beach. Mara is determined to take her younger sister, Lily, out to the beach. Lily is in a wheelchair and has a weak immune system, making the outing difficult, but worth the risk. The film is an exploration of the bond between sisters and the memories that make that bond unbreakable. According to writer-director Caroline Roberts, “the film is […] about appreciating the time we spend with our loved ones.”
You can support “Lily & Mara” via Indiegogo through April 30.
“Unbound” – Written and Directed by Maggie Mahrt
Director Maggie Mahrt is one of eight women participating in AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women. Though the prestigious position comes with invaluable mentorship, the directors must fund their projects on their own. “Unbound” is a short film set in Japan at the turn of the century. Protagonist Kitsune begins working in a silk factory — which is strenuous work — in order to help her family. She finds herself slowly becoming a silkworm. Besides the magical premise, the film touches on some pertinent themes. Mahrt outlines the questions her film is dealing with, “What does it mean to be a woman? Can good things come out of a bad situation? Can beauty be found in brokenness?”
Donate to the film via Indiegogo through May 12.