Chicago, Illinois | Film Short

Drama, Family


1 Campaigns | Illinois, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $5,505 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

55 supporters | followers

Enter the amount you would like to pledge


BAWDY is a short narrative dance film about three generations of women who must face their individual issues with body image. This is a neglected story of body shame in the Black community as a family battles against generational trauma in the pursuit of radical self-love.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

We are still accepting donations! With just a few days left of our campaign, we are hoping to reach our stretch goal of $7,500. We appreciate all of our generous donors for their contributions to our film.

The Story

The family matriarch's unexpected presence creates tension amongst the family when she brings her favorite dish, a large helping of body shame and judgement, to the Thanksgiving dinner table. As Shai vehemently works to accept her body as is, her sister Kyra's own body dysmorphia intensifies her struggle. All the while, the rest of the family must behave according to their own teachings.

BAWDY is a neglected story of body shame in the Black community as a family battles against generational trauma in the pursuit of radical self-love.

THEMES: "BAWDY" discusses themes of body dysmorphia, fatphobia, and generational trauma through the lens of three generations of Brooks women who are each facing an internal battle with their own self-worth.

STYLE: "BAWDY" is told through both narrative story-telling and contemporary dance. "BAWDY " will include an experimental element of dance to further drive the narrative and the understanding of our characters. Using the mediums of both dance and film, gives us more space to explore such complex topics, and will allow audiences to resonate with our characters and story on a visceral level.

The sequences won’t be set in the story world, but in the recesses of the characters’ mind within their subconsciouses; giving an outside look at how the world surrounding them affects them on the inside. This will be a testament to how we deal with trauma in real life. We often feel it but may not know what we’re feeling or how to deal with it. The dance sequences will serve as real time avenues to processing the harsh blow that words can give to our psyche. 

Gloria (Nana Glo), 68: Nana Glo has always had it together, because she has had too. Growing up middle-class in Tennessee, there was no room for error as being Black was already error enough. Her heavy handed respectability politics, though they come from a need for survival, continue to permeate through her relationships with her daughter and granddaughters.

Leah, 46: Leah was born in Tennessee, but moved to Chicago with her mother, father, and 4 younger siblings at the age of 12. She is an amazing woman first, then wife, mother and business woman. Though she is not perfect, she has worked hard to instill a sense of love and emotional safety in her daughters. Children, however, do not only learn from what you say, but what you do. Between Leah's own struggles with body image and her inability to stand up to the influences of Nana Glo, she hasn't been able to foster a full love-of-self in her children.

Kyra, 21: The weight of perfection is heavy on Kyra and has reared its head into some physically unhealthy tendencies. What looks healthy (societal standards) on the outside, isn't always healthy on the inside. Kyra's disordered eating tends to get worse when her anxiety rises around Nana Glo - who she was not expecting to be in Chicago for Thanksgiving when she decided to make the trip home.

Shai, 17: As the younger daughter, Shai saw first hand the effect that Nana Glo and Leah had on Kyra. And while Kyra and Shai love each other dearly, Kyra's perfectionism often takes a heavy toll on her - forcing her to dim her light. Nora and her father constantly remind her to shine brightly. She has a deep desire to break free of the standards that have been placed on her by the women she loves most.

Nora, 19: Kyra and Shai's favorite cousin. Nora's mom was able to part ways with Glo's views and instill a sense of grounded confidence into Nora. Nora doesn't have a problem with Gloria, she just hates seeing how her cousins act around her. She's witty and intuitive. Her family lives in Philadelphia, but she just started school at Columbia College so she's spending Thanksgiving with her family in Chicago.

Jerome, 46: Jerome is a quiet presence, born and raised in Chicago. He is a girl dad through and through. Jerome has a fine relationship with Gloria, but is disheartened by Leah's inability to stand up to her. He works to support and challenge Leah and his daughters, without imposing his male point of view.

"Very early on in my life I associated my value - my worth as a human, with the size of my body. My earliest memory of someone commenting on my weight is in the third grade. From there I can recount countless instances where family, friends, teachers and coaches made it very clear to me that big was bad and smaller was better. And although my mother never explicitly, negatively commented on my weight - I grew up watching her constantly dieting and keenly focused on weight. Deciding to pursue dance seriously at the age of 14 only further exaggerated my focus on body image. By high school, I was dieting and by college I had full on body dysmorphia, resulting in a plethora of disordered eating. I was counting every calorie that went into my mouth, working out incessantly if I ate too much, and often going on shame-fueled binges. What made it worse was the more praise I received with every pound I dropped.

I knew this wasn't healthy, and it took me a long time to admit to myself and then others how much I was struggling. The journey towards body neutrality has been a hard one, and one that I'm still working on and challenging myself in everyday. I hope that "BAWDY" illuminates a fraction of our experiences as Black women first, and then humankind at large. As the influence of social media continues to rise, we must strive to produce content that not only questions, but challenges, the preconcieved notions we have become so comfortable accepting as the norm. "BAWDY" asks us to confront the truth: our bodies do not determine our worth."

- Talia Koylass

BAWDY is nearly 83% funded and we need your help to cross the finish line. Join us on the journey to radical self-love in every form!


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Sound Mixer

Costs $1,500

Sound is one of the most important aspects of a great film. Your donation will make sure we have the best audio in the game!


Costs $1,000

The gaffer will make sure our lighting is top notch. What's the point of having a great film if no one can see it!

Color Correction

Costs $1,000

Make it PRETTY! A color corrector will make our film stand out from the crowd.

Post Sound Mixer

Costs $1,500

A post sound mixer brings together all of that beautiful noise and makes it a sonic masterpiece.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Talia Koylass is a Chicago-native director, producer, and founder of Motion/Pictures Dance Project . She holds a BFA from Ailey/Fordham and is a MFA Thesis Candidate at Howard University. Talia strives to create work in which the two languages of dance and film integrate to tell compelling narratives. Notably, she directed a dance film projection for 2022 Art on theMART commissioned artist, Jasmin Taylor and has received grants and commissions from Illinois Arts Council Agency, Links Hall, Side Street Studio Arts and Loyola University. Talia currently works an associate producer at Full Spectrum Features.

Jade Allen is an Atlanta native cinematographer and producer. She is the founder of Black Dimension Films, a media company dedicated to showing minorities in their best light. Since graduating from Lane College, Jade has gone on to work on shows such as HBO’s Hard Knocks: Colts In-Season, NBC’s Women in the NFL, FS1’s NFL Films Presents, and ESPN+’s Vince’s Places. Jade continues to work with her media company to create narrative and documentary films that highlight stories in her community. Jade currently works as an Associate Producer for Bally Sports South in the Original Content department, where she produces, films, and edits documentary shorts for professional baseball, basketball and hockey teams in the southeast. Jade is currently a pursuing her Master's in Fine Arts in Film at Howard University.

Cherish Pittman is a Muskegon, Michigan native writer, editor, and producer. She is in the process of starting the Muskegon Film Initiative, a non-profit organization committed to the artistic and professional development of the youth in Muskegon. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Film from Grand Valley State University and is working on her Masters in Fine Arts in Film at Howard University. Cherish is currently the Programs Assistant at Full Spectrum Features and the Lead Editor for Motion/Pictures Dance Project.

Current Team