It’s the summer of 2025, and global warming has caused temperatures to skyrocket. Valentina is a middle-aged Latina, obsessed with her own personal hygiene. She channels this fastidiousness into her job as a cleaning lady, making her the maid of choice for affluent New Yorkers.
Valentina reports for duty at a sparkling, all-glass skyscraper on the hottest day ever recorded in the city. As she eagerly polishes and disinfects, the power goes out and the blistering sunlight turns the apartment into an oven. Sweat, heat, and moisture build up so much that Valentina’s vagina screams for mercy.
What starts as a simple cry for fresh air turns into an intervention as her vagina asks after her wages and demands better working conditions. The heat will force Valentina to come face-to-face with a part of her anatomy she’s always ignored, and it will embolden her in the process. Though Valentina initially finds her abhorrent, her vagina is truly an ally who will help her value herself and be proud of who she is.
This short film brings together a number of global concerns that are part of our common consciousness: climate change, control over women’s bodies, domestic worker’s rights, immigration, and economic inequality. These issues often seem so insurmountable that we throw up our hands and think of them as out of our control. The intention of this movie is to present these topics in a funny and irreverent manner, injecting viewers with renewed and radical energy.
From an early age, I would help my mom clean other people’s homes. As I picked up dirty underwear from fluffy shag carpets and emptied dishwashers full of fancy china, I wanted to know why the people who made so much money paid my mother so little. I wanted to know why women were always the ones cleaning. Basically, I wanted out. I wanted to rebel. However, as an immigrant, particularly as an undocumented immigrant, which I was until my twenties, you learn to shut up, keep your head down, and survive.
Valentina allows me to play with themes at the intersection of my experiences: identity, sexuality, and culture. Through this short, I can imagine a talking vagina in order to examine how the body is both a vehicle and a cage, how it can represent and conceal who we are. I can fast-forward ten years to consider how quickly global warming will affect us and yet how slowly inequality will probably change. I can speak for my mother and I can speak for myself now in a way that I couldn’t back then.
Funds gathered from this Kickstarter campaign will fully fund the entire film; we’re not here solely for production money or finishing funds. This is it. If we make our goal of $15,000, we will bring to you a beautifully produced, funny, and provocative short film. If we don’t, there’s nothing.
The majority of the funds will go toward paying crew and cast members, who will be working for a fraction of their usual rate, in addition to location fees, equipment rentals, and post-production fees like sound mixing and color correction. If you’re interested in a breakdown of funds, please take a look at our budget’s top sheet below. (The “top sheet” of a film’s budget is summary of how money will be allocated.)
Thus far, the short has an amazing Executive Producer, Paola Mendoza, director of the award-winning feature length film Entre Nos, among many other films and projects. The film already has storyboards, which you can see as the images in this page, and we have also been in contact with potential directors of photography and other key crew. Lastly, we have started location scouting.
Our goal is to shoot over the course of a weekend in October 2016. Once principal photography is complete, I will screen the dailies and do a rough cut of the film. I will then pass this cut onto a seasoned feature editor, who will finesse the edit and lock picture. We will do a couple of small test screenings in order to better gauge the pacing and quality of the film. This will take us through December. In January, we will do one day of sound edit, one day of sound mix, and a half-day of color correction.
Valentina will be completed by February 2017, a perfect Valentine’s day gift from us to you.
Risks and challenges
Making movies is hard. It’s even harder if you want to make weird, surrealist movies with subtitles and talking vaginas. Because films of this type are considered non-commercial by a narrow-minded capitalist movie system, the biggest challenge is often finding funding.
Once that’s in place, the road to a finished product is full of pitfalls and miracles. There are, quite literally, thousands of variables to account for during the production and post-production of a film. Massive amounts of planning, strategizing, and continued communication is necessary to ensure that the right lens is ordered and that there’s enough toilet paper on set. This kind of careful plotting is best done by someone who is a born pessimist and can expertly pre-envision worst-case scenarios. Fortunately, I am one such person. Let my agony be your solace.
Moreover, I bring to the table over fifteen years of experience in the business. I mean, I need a day job to pay the bills, amirite? I’ve worked as a shooter, director, editor, producer, production manager, post-production supervisor, and more. There’s no dragon I haven’t slayed and no baby I can’t coddle to sleep. I am also incredibly lucky to have a big family of fellow filmmakers to reach out to for support, including, most importantly, my executive producer, Paola Mendoza, who has made major feature films and a variety of short format content. Bottom line: the challenges for us are many but the risks for you are minimal. We promise you that if we raise the money here, Valentina will be made and she will be amazing.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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