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A feature film written and directed by Emily Ray Reese that follows Lucinda, a 13 year old girl growing up in rural New Mexico. Read more

Taos, NM Film & Video
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This project was successfully funded on June 19, 2012.

A feature film written and directed by Emily Ray Reese that follows Lucinda, a 13 year old girl growing up in rural New Mexico.

Taos, NM Film & Video
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About this project


With bullying, gay rights, and gun control at the forefront of American politics, Baby Lu is a beautiful, timely story set in rural Taos, New Mexico, exploring these issues through the lives of a father and daughter. When mountain man Zeus begins a relationship with the alluring newcomer Sally, he must suddenly deal with the unexpected sexual awakening of his 13-year-old daughter Lucinda, who also falls for Sally, clashing with the traditions of their tiny rural town.
It is a rare opportunity that a story is told from such a unique perspective and in one of the most incredible parts of the country. Baby Lu is a film that bravely tackles current socio-political issues with both heart and subtlety.


Thirteen-year-old Lucinda and her father Zeus live an uncommon yet simple life in a rural New Mexican town of only two thousand people. Zeus, being one of the most colorful characters of their town, has been raising Lucinda on his own, and raising her like he only knows how: hunting, fishing and living off the land.
After one such successful hunt, Zeus drags Lucinda to his favorite bar to celebrate; a hang out Lucinda knows all too well. When the two of them notice a intriguing new woman named Sally, Zeus launches into his charm and convinces her to come to dinner. At school Lucinda meets Sally’s son Cody, the new boy at school and a rivalry ignites immediately.
As Sally and Cody appear more and more at the house, Lucinda begins to feel threatened by their presence and begins to act out at school.
Lucinda is just as confused as everyone else by her emotions. While she resents the changes that are happening in her home, Sally presents a femininity that also fascinates her. Her feelings are heightened when she spies on Zeus and Sally having sex one evening, confusing her even more. As she awakens to her sexuality, she begins to channel her feelings towards her classmate Milli and pushes the boundaries of their friendship.
As Lucinda’s behaviour becomes more and more erratic, relationships begin to fall apart, pitting Zeus and Lucinda against each other, sometimes violently. Not equipped to deal with Lu’s behaviour, Zeus ends things with Sally after her claims of Lu’s sexual overtures and threatens to send Lu off to live with her grandmother in Texas.
Now feeling entirely alone, Lucinda attempts to run away while Zeus is overcome with guilt, believing her behavior is due to the rough way he raised her. At the last minute however, Zeus realizes he must take responsibility for his only daughter and goes after her. The two of them come to realize that while their lives are full of the unconventional, they will forever understand their bond as father and daughter, no matter how difficult it might get.


The story of Baby Lu is inspired from my own unique upbringing in rural New Mexico. Growing up with my own mountain man father presented an array of experiences and challenges, which came to a head when I entered my teens and even more so when I realized I was gay. While it was difficult to speak with my father growing up, we always had a way of tacitly communicating when he’d take me fishing or hunting. These moments bonded us forever, even though we could never openly discuss my sexuality.

The relationship between Zeus and Lucinda, while personal, is also a wonderful opportunity to explore a deep bond between father and daughter that is put to the test by societal traditions in a very nontraditional world. I see this world as inherently dramatic and a rich place for actors to work from. 

I was raised in a ghost town tucked away in the mountains of New Mexico. My parents ended up on this small piece of land after their commune outside of Taos fell apart in the late 70’s. Here they survived off the land as most people in the area still do. Hunting, fishing, and farming earn your right to live in such a beautiful but unforgiving place.

The setting and the character’s of New Mexico provide the inspiration and guide for my creative vision for this film. The cinematography as well as the performances will be directed to feel as beautiful and raw as the towns I grew up in. Striving for the authenticity of New Mexican life will make the subject matter and tone of Baby Lu come alive.


Baby Lu has received the support of Dr. Bud Wilson who has offered up his beautiful 5000 acre Sangre De Cristo Ranch for the majority of our shooting locations.  We are busy now casting, location scouting and locking our crew!


Baby Lu is currently fiscally sponsored by Localogy, as well, allowing to offer a tax-write off for donations to this Kickstarter. Once we wrap our Kickstarter we will be sending out an email with more details!

Baby Lu is Emily's first feature that is also her thesis project out of NYU's Graduate Film Program. NYU provides support in the form of production equipment, production insurance and post-production facilities, allowing us to make the film at a fraction of what feature films normally cost. Despite this incredible support, however, additional funds are necessary to meet Baby Lu’s budget needs. 

For more details about the project, and if you are interested in investing in the project beyond a donation please contact us at


Emily Ray Reese was born and raised in a ghost town of six inhabitants in rural New Mexico. Reese has traveled around the world with a particular interest in investigating the struggle of developing countries and cultures and the universal questions we all face as part of society.
Prior to becoming a filmmaker, her humanitarian work spanned globally, including time spent in Nepal and as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador. Reese has found incredible success in using her storytelling abilities and interest in theatre within developing nations to strengthen her connection to the community.
In 2007, Emily was accepted into the highly acclaimed New York University Graduate Film Program. Her first short film produced out of NYU called ‘Cecilia’, traveled around the world in the festival circuit, playing at Palm Springs Shorts Fest, Outfest, HBO presents New York International Latino Film Festival and many others. Emily is currently in pre-production on her first feature film, Baby Lu, a coming of age story set in mountains of northern New Mexico.
Emily is currently based in New York where she is developing several films based on her experiences in Nepal, El Salvador, and New Mexico. She is the recipient of the coveted filmmakers grant from the Albuquerque Community Foundation.

ProducerTati Barrantes was born in Lima, Peru, in the early 1980’s, during the rebel uprising of the Shining Path. As tensions in Peru escalated, her family relocated to Los Angeles. This multicultural heritage has inspired in her a strong interest in films that challenge our current perspectives and worldview. 
Prior to beginning the MFA program at New York University’s Graduate Film Program, Tati worked in development at the Bay Area Video Coalition in San Francisco, California, and helped independent filmmakers get their projects, primarily documentaries, off the ground. Simultaneously, Tati created, programmed and hosted a monthly film screening series that invited independent and beginning filmmakers to screen their work.
For the past five years, she has produced multiple award winning films and strongly believes that creativity is at its best when met with a challenge. She most recently completed the feature film "Tar", starring James Franco, Jessica Chastain and Mila Kunis, amongst others. She also recently completed two short films “Ana et Jerome” and “Mobile Homes” both of which were international co-productions, partially produced by Canal+, starring Elodie Bouchez, Allison Folland and David Call respectively.

Caroline Oliveira is a Brazilian producer based in New York City. She was born in Sao Paulo where she received a Bachelors degree in Advertising and Marketing. She began her career working as an assistant director and producer for TV commercials for clients like Sony, Samsung and Disney. Caroline holds a MFA in Film from Tisch NYU, where she was a departmental fellow. She has produced several films with grants from Panavision and Kodak, including "The Chair" (Winner Best Narrative short at SXSW'12 and Cannes 2012 Official Competition Selection) and "Edge of the Woods" (South Carolina Film Commission Grant, starring Kiernan Shipka from AMC’s Mad Man). Caroline was the 1st AD for the feature "Pete Smalls is Dead" (directed by Alex Rockwell and starring Peter Dinklage, Steve Buscemi and Tim Roth) and for "Bastards of Young" (directed by Josiah Signor). She is also a co-producer on the feature film "Go Down Death" (directed by Aaron Schimberg), now part of the IFP Narrative Film Lab.

Associate Producer
Erik Aschehoug was born in Stavanger, Norway and studied political science in Bergen, Denmark and Paris, where he was involved with event making, DJing, radio shows, and anti-war activism. After graduating Erik felt the need to continue working in the cultural segment of society and followed his passion of storytelling through cinema. Following his heart Erik began his film career. Erik has worked on many films shot in Norway, including “Kompani Orheim”, “Som du ser meg”, “Håligheter”. Most recently Erik produced "Salt Water Fruit” shot in the Norwegian countryside and is now on the festival circuit. Engaging American filmmakers in his work in Norway as well as producing as much work as he can in the United States has inspired Erik's interest in bridging the gap between Norwegian and American filmmaking.

Director of Photography
Jimmy Lee Phelan has photographed over 15 short films and documentaries, multiple commercial spots and recently completed his third feature film. His work has screened at film festivals around the world winning awards in both the United States and Europe. "Five Time Champion" had its world premiere at South by Southwest Film Festival in 2011 and "Go Down Death" is now part of the IFP Finishing Lab. His last short, "The Chair" (Best Short SXSW) was in competition for the Palm D'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film festival. Jimmy Lee holds an MFA in Cinematography from NYU and is from Memphis, TN.

Production Designer
James Bolenbaugh is a Production Designer dividing his time between NYC and LA. Recent projects include the first production of The Henry Box Brown Play by Tony Kushner, directed by Mark Wing-Davey; the short film A Breeze Across the Green, directed by Brantley Jones. He regularly designs with director Jordan Galland on projects like Sean Lennon's music video of Schrödinger’s Cat, and a the pilot for a web series by QLOO. He also has worked in art departments at NBC, CBS, PBS and at AMC for season 5 of MAD MEN. Bolenbaugh's interest in design began, not in Hollywood, but the Great Plains of Montana, where he grew up building guitars with his Grandfather, world renowned guitar maker and instrument inventor Ted Beringer. Bolenbaugh received his MFA from NYU Tisch.

Sound Designer
Scott Hirsch became obsessed with sound and image at an early age with a grip of analog magnetic film, a sync block, and a moviola machine.
Although some of his tools have evolved, Scott's approach to sound design remains as methodical as it did with every splice and grease pencil mark; echo magic is carefully woven into the very fabric of his work.
Scott frequently works with composer Jonny Ollsin and mixer/editor Gene Park of Toneburst Audio. He records and plays various instruments with Family Band and Hiss Golden Messenger.Hirsch became obsessed with sound and image at an early age with a grip of analog magnetic film, a sync block, and a moviola machine.
Scott’s work has screened at over thirty festivals internationally. Accolades as a sound designer include Sundance Film Festival 2009-12, Cannes 2012, Tribeca Film Festival 2012, Slamdance 2012, Palm Springs International Film Festival 2011 and more.

Marketing and PR
Mara Sohn is a producer and project manager for Imprint Projects, a
creative agency in New York City. Most recently, Ms. Sohn was the
Program Manager for LUNAFEST, a festival of short films by, for and
about women put on by LUNA bar and Director of Business Development at
The Global Film Initiative. Before that, she had long stints in
development at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Berkeley Repertory
Theatre. Ms. Sohn has a B.A. in Political, Legal, Economic Analysis
from Mills College and most recently served on the board of the New
Leaders Council. An avid film-goer, she has also worked as a freelance
curator for the Oakland Museum of California and helped program
DocFest and IndieFest.


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Funding period

- (60 days)