BLIGHT is a short film that follows a grieving, young black girl with supernatural abilities who seeks vengeance after the racially charged officer-involved shooting of her teenage brother. As a vehicle for social commentary with magical realism, BLIGHT will explore the aftermath of police brutality and environmental racism through a sci-fi lens.
At a time when viral videos of police brutality and accounts of environmental racism are inundating our social media feeds and making headlines across the country, Blight explores modern-day superheroism in the age of Black Lives Matter. After her beloved, big brother Marques is unjustly killed in a police shooting, 16-year-old Charmaine contemplates taking justice into her own hands; hands that have inadvertently been given superpowers after exposure to her community’s contaminated water supply. Charmaine must now navigate the complex responsibility that comes with her newfound abilities when she tracks down the officer who fatally shot her brother and must decide whether to avenge his death or accept being "powerless" in America.
BLIGHT was conceived out of the frustration that writer/director Brittany Clemons experienced after working on a timely documentary about police violence and the difficult yet increasingly common conversation parents of color have with their children, known as “the talk”. As a comic book enthusiast, cosplayer and sci-fi nerd, she wondered what a young, black and “supernaturally gifted” teen would actually do with superpowers in this day and age, not in some parallel universe where they must save the world from aliens, evil geniuses or a never-ending supply of henchmen, but in the systematically racist dystopia that we live in today. As a vehicle for social commentary with magical realism, Blight will explore the aftermath of police brutality and environmental racism through a sci-fi lens.
Moreover, BLIGHT will expand the representation of black women in sci-fi. Although recent black sci-fi and superhero TV shows and films, such as Black Lightning and Black Panther, or social thriller films like Get Out have become cultural and commercial hits, black female-led sci-fi films are few and far between. Traditionally, black people, especially black women, have been excluded from the sci-fi landscape, marginalized to the side lines of faraway lands, alternative realities and distant futures. With your support, Blight will center a black female protagonist and will nourish a community that is not only hungry for on-screen representation of themselves, but narratives that reflect important issues that impact their communities as well.
BLIGHT will also champion diversity and representation behind the camera as well with majority of the crew being women of color.
We are seeking $18,000 for production and post-production expenses. Please consider donating to our campaign to help ensure BLIGHT enters production. Your contribution will ensure that we're able to obtain the equipment and crew necessary to properly bring this film to life.
If you're unable to donate, you can still support BLIGHT by following the film on Facebook and Instagram, liking and sharing our content, and spreading the word about our campaign within your community.
As a thank you to our backers, we're offering various unique rewards such as credits in the film, storyboard and poster art, behind the scenes access, digital downloads, and one on one sessions with our amazing filmmaking team!
Our rewards also include:
One on One Filmmaking or Cinematography Phone Consultation with Director of Photography Nausheen Dadabhoy
One-hour Acting Coaching Session with Co-Producer Lauren Vernea
Script consultancy by Writer/Director Brittany Clemons
Brittany Clemons, Writer/Director/Executive Producer
Brittany Clemons has contributed to documentary television as an associate producer for the past six years. The majority of her work has been featured on PBS, including Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s Emmy, Peabody and duPont-Columbia Award-winning six-part series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, and two seasons of the celebrity genealogy series Finding Your Roots. She has most recently served as the senior associate producer on NBC’s two-hour documentary special Hope & Fury: MLK, the Movement, and the Media, and is currently a story producer on an upcoming hip-hop documentary series for AMC. Brittany is passionate about diversity and representation in front and behind the camera, as well as creating compelling narratives with nuanced characters that amplify the marginalized voices of women and people of color.
Shannon Jones, Producer
Shannon Jones is currently a Producer with HealthiNation, where she creates editorial and branded video content. She is part of all levels of production and post-production including: research, writing scripts, directing on set, camera operating, and art direction. Shannon was nominated in 2017 for a Daytime Emmy for her work with the producing team for the short film Time To Live Again. In addition to documentary projects, Shannon has also produced narrative short films including buddy comedy Mila and Mimi Too which become part of The Spy Who Dumped Me marketing campaign, and sci-fi drama OVUM which considers a woman's right to choose in a dark future. Shannon received her BA in Business Journalism, Media & Communications from Baruch College and completed an Advanced Cinematography Intensive from the School of Visual Arts.
Lauren Vernea, Producer
Lauren Vernea is a Chicago native and graduate of the MS in Leadership for Creative Enterprises program at Northwestern University. Currently based in New York City, Lauren is a writer, actor, and documentary producer. Her work as a documentary producer and researcher includes Explained (Vox/Netflix), the hip-hop documentary series The Field (Mass Appeal/Starz), OJ Simpson: The Lost Confession (FOX), NOVA Wonders (PBS), and Finding Your Roots (PBS). As a writer, Lauren studied TV Writing at New York City's Gotham Writers Workshop. Her work consists of writing and starring in her Youtube digital series Art is Charisma, which explores the life of a frustrated Chicago singer, Open TV’s Black Melodies, a docu-series which follows the journeys of Chicago's young, black and gifted musicians, and #TheResistance, an In Living Color style sketch comedy show that fights the power in the age of Trump. Lauren is a professional singer/actress who has trained at The Stella Adler Studio NY and The Atlantic Acting School.
Nausheen Dadabhoy, Director of Photography
Shooting out of an open cable car in the Swiss Alps at 9000 feet; getting followed by Pakistani intelligence officials in Kashmir; smuggling a camera into the holiest Muslim site in the world; narrowly avoiding terrorists near the Afghan border; these are the many things that Nausheen Dadabhoy has done to “get the shot.” Before she was a nomadic cinematographer, Nausheen was a Southern California native who received her MFA in Cinematography from the American Film Institute. Since graduating she has lensed a number of narrative and documentary films: most recently J'adore Nawal for Lena Dunham's HBO documentary series Lenny which premiered at Sundance, Academy Award Live Action Short nominee La femme et le TGV (The Railroad Lady), and Aaja a music video for Riz Ahmed's hip hop group The Swet Shop Boys. Nausheen's films have played in competition at festivals like TIFF, AFI Fest, Locarno and IDFA. Her clients include Field of Vision, HBO, A&E and MSNBC.
Kasia Kruk, Associate Producer/Crowdfunding Strategist
Kasia Kruk hails from Poland and is a New York-based crowdfunding strategist, social media manager, and film producer. As a producer, she worked on a stop-motion short film The Halloween Pranksta with Mark Hamill and award-winning films, such as Nothing About Chloe and Good Boy. Kasia has always been passionate about and dedicated to making the social impact with story-telling.
Belle Le Grand
Belle Le Grand is a twenty-one year old film/tv/commercial actress from Brooklyn, NY. Although, her interests lie in film, she has appeared in several on-stage productions including, I Hate Hamlet at the Lafayette College college theater in Easton, PA. Belle Le Grand is best known for her work in Flowers (2015) where she played Erin, and Aleah (2015) where she portrayed CeCe. Both Aleah and Flowers streamed on the HBO and Showtime networks. Belle Le Grand is currently in her senior year at Lafayette College and plans to continue her career in entertainment after graduation.
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Taprena, who attended New York's esteemed American Academy of Dramatic Arts, has spent most of her career performing in Broadway Productions. She received the Broadway World Award for Best Featured Actress in 2011 for her role as Shug Avery in The Color Purple as well as the Broadway Robe in 2014 for her origination of the role of Bessie Smith in A Night With Janis Joplin. She is a TV/Film actress as well as a Singer/Songwriter.
Byron Clohessy began pursuing acting in 2015 while finishing his undergraduate program in Creative Writing at The City College Of New York. He has had roles in Bull and Blue Bloods for CBS, as well as, Shattered, Evil Lives Here, The 1980’s: The Deadliest Decade, A Crime To Remember, and The Perfect Murder, all for Investigation Discovery. Most recently, he worked on the feature films Equal Standard with Ice-T and Honor Amongst Men with Ed Asner. He was last on stage at The Barrow Group Theatre as Odoaker in the production Romulus The Great.
Brandon J. Shaw
Brandon J. Shaw is an Jamaican-American actor and writer. He has studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute, William Esper Studio, The Susan Batson Studio as well as with Marishka S. Phillips as his personal coach. Brandon has worked on many independent projects, most notable, Situationships which was picked up on the BET Streaming Service. Brandon has appeared on Power (Season 5) and in the movie, Pimp, starring Keke Palmer. He is currently writing a couple projects that are being optioned for T.V. as well as film. He is working to become a powerhouse in the industry.
Pascal Arquimedes is a Dominican-American Actor who came to NYC in 2015. He obtained an AoS in Film and Television Performance at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. His works in Film include playing Josef King in Skin of the Teeth, directed by Matthew Wollin, which premiered at the Twin Cities Film Festival in October, and playing Reggie in Before I Let Go, directed by Daequan Collier. He’s very grateful for the opportunity to work on this project and can’t wait for this story to be shown!
Risks and challenges
We have minimized potential risks by hiring an experienced crew and allotting several months of pre-production to tackle any challenges that may present itself during production. Primary locations have been secured and talent is attached to the project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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