Guarded is a short film written, directed, and produced by Imani Jade Powers, which examines what happens when law enforcement uses espionage tactics that target a community based on their religion, infringing upon its civil liberties in the process.
It follows the story of a young boy and his sister who find out that the man they have allowed into their lives, as a surrogate father, is actually an undercover cop, posing as a religious man to obtain information on those who attend the local mosque.
I became interested in this story 2 years ago, when the Associated Press outed the NYPD about their covert Muslim surveillance programs. Although these programs have been officially removed from NYPD policy, there have been countless Muslims that have been affected by it.
Can we reconcile the tactics that are sometimes used to enforce safety with the consequences it has on the people who receive them?
This film is very dear to my heart and we have already assembled a fantastic cast and crew!
José Zúñiga leads the cast as Oscar, an undercover police officer. Born in Honduras, José moved to New York City when he was age 7. His career took shape with Frank Marshall's 1993 film Alive before moving on to such indies as "Crooklyn," "Smoke" and Brad Anderson's Next Stop Wonderland. His extensive television work includes "Taxi Brooklyn", "Scandal," "Desperate Housewives," "House," "Suits," "Castle," "Grey's Anatomy," "CSI" and "Law & Order." On the film side, José has had roles in Twilight, Next, Con Air, Mission Impossible 3, and The Call. He just appeared in Center Theater Group's world premiere of Different Words for the Same Thing in Los Angeles. José has been nominated for two ALMA Awards, for the TV series "Nothing Sacred" and "Sins of the City." Check out his filmography on IMDB.
Imani Jade Powers plays Sarah, the sister of the young boy Oscar betrays. She is thrilled to direct and produce Guarded, her debut film. She has a B.A. in the Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College (where she studied screenwriting with Fred Strype), and has studied at Shakespeare & Co., the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and the Michael Chekhov Acting Studio. Her favorite roles include Jessica in The Merchant of Venice (The Shakespeare Forum), Ariel in The Tempest (RADA) and Juliet in Romeo + Juliet (Sarah Lawrence GradWorks). Check out her website for more information!
James Colby plays Sergeant James, Oscar's boss. James began his career more than 25 years ago onstage in New York both on and Off Broadway, as well as regionally and internationally, in plays by Shakespeare, Chekhov, Williams, O'Neill, Miller and Beckett, to name just a few. His work in television includes many regular and recurring roles, as well as numerous guest star appearances, in series such as "Law & Order," "Law & Order: SVU," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Person of Interest," "Deception," "Blue Bloods," "Rescue Me" and "Body of Proof." Film credits include Inside Llewyn Davis, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Lowlife, Tower Heist, Safe, Animal Rescue, What Maisie Knew, Company Man, Solitary Man, and Anatomy of the Tide. Check out his IMDB.
James Udom plays Kayode, a young Nigerian boy who questions Sarah's views on how we perceive one another. Originally from Nigeria, James grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he began acting in college. Recently relocated to the Northeast, James has had an extensive career in the theatre despite his young age. His recent credits include the world premiere of the play Abigail Dreary (Boxcar Theater), The Odyssey, Twelfth Night, and Macbeth (We Players), the world premiere of Scamoramaland (Performers Under Stress), King Lear and Of Mice and Men (Hubbard Hall), and Julius Caesar (Shakespeare & Co.). In addition to four years of theater training at Diablo Valley College, he has received training at Shakespeare & Co., Steppenwolf Classes West, and Dell'Arte International School of Ensemble-based Physical Theater. In 2012, he was awarded the National Irene Ryan Scholarship Award for Best Actor, and the following year (2013) for Best Supporting Actor. He is so honored to be working on this project with his love, Imani.
More exciting casting announcements are coming soon!!
ALSO, stay tuned for an exciting sneak peek at a scene between Sarah and Kayode!! Coming soon...
Pierrot Colonna is our talented Director of Photography. Originally from France Pierrot moved to New York in 1996 to realize his dream of becoming a cinematographer. After years as focus puller in independent feature films, Pierrot met the French director Yohan Ungar in 2005. Together they shot over 30 music videos, all over the world. Over the years, Pierrot has worked with a wide range of directors and producers on a large number of films, commercials and music videos. With his American training and European sensitivity, Pierrot is without a doubt an upcoming D.P. with a unique style and passion. You can see his work on his website.
Ty Powers (Imani's dad!) is our Co-Producer. He is currently the director of the Insight Yoga Institute, which brings together the disciplines of yoga, Buddhism and psychology. Early on in his career, Ty worked in film and television in management (CBS TV Hollywood) and also worked freelance in development and story analysis for Warner Bros, United Artists and Hollywood Pictures. Ty was also an assistant and reader to Producer/Director Harry Winer, finally working as the creative director for the Christopher Columbus Society for the Creative Arts. Ty is thrilled to be supporting his 'Baby Girl' on Guarded.
Larissa Skye Van Rensselaer is our Production Designer. Originally from the US Virgin Islands, she is a graduate of Skidmore College where she received a Bachelor of Science in Theater with a performance and scenic painting concentration. She has trained at the Moscow Art Theater and was a participant in the inaugural year of the SITI Company’s Conservatory, culminating in the premier performance of This is How I Don’t Know How To Dance. Skidmore credits include: A Midsummer Nights Dream, Quoi: An Ensemble Moment, The Beebo Brinker Chronicles, The Servant of Two Masters, Nunky Gruel, and The General of Hot Desire. She is passionate about this film and absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside these amazing people to make it come to life!
More crew announcements will follow shortly!
The film will be shot over 4 days in August 2014 in Queens and Brooklyn, NY, using handheld cameras.
OUR BUDGET BREAKDOWN
Want to know where your money is going? These are the essential categories...
- Cast - $700
- Crew - $2,800
- Equipment - $2,250
- Post-production - $800
- Costume - $250
- Production Design - $950
- Transportation - $1,380
- Insurance - $800
Whatever is left will go to everything from food to promoting the film to making DVDs...so every dollar counts!
Please help us make our goal so we can ensure the highest production value possible and submit Guarded to film festivals across the country!
"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." -Victor Frankl
Thank you for your response.
Promo video filmed by Anna Paratore.
Risks and challenges
There are many challenges to shooting a film guerilla-style, as the filming will all be handheld, and fly by night.
Because of this, we need extremely skilled technicians (lights, camera, sound) to ensure the best production value.
There will always be surprises on set, which is why we need a crew that can adapt quickly to the ever-fluctuating demands of a shoot.
Once the film is shot, however, the hard work sets in. Editing. This inevitably takes longer and costs more than expected, which is why I am committed to working closely with my editor until we get the perfected finished project.
I am determined to finish this film on time to submit it to festivals in the coming year.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about this project and help in any way you can!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (24 days)