Black Belt

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

LGBTQ, Experimental

April Lee

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $10,568 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

58 supporters | followers

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Inspired by the anecdotes of sexual assault survivors who have found healing and empowerment through the BDSM community and their practices, Black Belt is a deeply personal yet almost universal story about power; how we give it away and how we reclaim it after it's been lost.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

The team behind Black Belt is sex and women-empowered. We seek to normalise conversations surrounding sexuality, sex work and sexual assault – challenging societal conventions and stigmas.

The Story

Billie is 17.

She’s been told all her life that she can achieve anything she puts her mind to. She’s just earned her black belt. Her instructor is paying a little more attention to her tonight than usual… no complaints there. She’s always envied the kinda girl that makes the first move…

But tonight — she is that girl.

Billie is 22.

In a dungeon. Wrists secured in a handcuff knot. A Dominatrix strokes her hair… kisses her forehead… tells her she’s safe…

Billie just wants to go back to the girl with the black belt. 

Let's talk about power.

What is power and why do we want it?

To want power is to first acknowledge that we have, at some point, felt like we are powerless – or maybe like we don't have enough of it to be the most authentic versions of ourselves unapologetically. Feeling ashamed about who we are or what we've experienced inevitably becomes the first act of giving our power away.

We seek to normalise conversations about the pursuit to reclaim this power, without fear of stigmas and judgement.

Our EP Colette is a Pro Domme of 17 years, specialising in intimacy coaching and sexual healing.

I (director) had the privilege of attending her 2-month long workshop MistressClass last year. While I had expected to receive a crash course on how to use a flogger and proper domme-sub ettiquette, what I found instead was a much more spiritually and emotionally transformative experience. 

Black Belt is an intimate look into what psychological, emotional & sexual healing looks like in the dungeon.

There were over 100 women who attended MistressClass – dozens of whom shared their own encounters with sexual assault. Together, we set out on a journey of healing and self-empowerment over the next few weeks. 

Because it's time to have a more nuanced conversation about trauma, through a more hopeful and empowering lens.

As more people got involved in Black Belt, we found a wealth of personal experiences being poured into this project.

Actresses who auditioned shared a piece of their heart with us, sometimes along with their pain, that we so collectively felt as women. Male actors who auditioned extended their empathies and commitment to our mission of women-empowerment, and were vulnerable in their own self-reflection. This helped us further develop the voice of the film to reflect the shades of grey in sexuality, sex work and sexual assault.

We acknowledge that sexual assault isn't always black-and-white, which sometimes makes it harder to talk about. And to have an honest, nuanced discussion, to examine where we do have power and to ask for accountability, is not easy.

This film seeks to start that conversation. 

In contributing to this film, we hope you'll feel that your story is also being told through Black Belt.

You would be part of an incredible community of humans who are committed to exploring the complexities of human desire and connection. Not to assign blame or shame, but a culture that seeks to forgive and learn and do better. Collectively, we will create a safe space to have progressive discussions that can educate, empower and most importantly, inspire change

Filmmaking in the time of COVID-19

All cast and crew have been vaccinated. A CCO (Covid Compliance Officer) will be present at all in-person shoots to ensure necessary precautions are in place and being executed. Insurance policies are in place for the duration of pre-production and shooting. 

We intend to submit Black Belt to Film Festivals that champion women filmmakers and stories, as well as other marginalised voices. After the film has gone through festival runs, it will be released online for streaming. We will then tap into our personal networks; affiliates with expansive platforms on social media, women-centric podcasts and publications to promote the film in a way that feels organic to its message. The list includes: 

Hags: Feminism for Everyone (podcast), Domina Colette's Army of Dommes (IG & Newsletters), The Angel Playbook (podcast) and more!

Follow us on IG @blackbeltshort for updates and a deeper look into the process of making this film. This is 100% free and greatly appreciated!

Be a direct contributor to making this film come to life! We have to collect 80% of our crowdfunding goal to keep our funds, so no pledge is too small! Every dollar we receive goes toward the film and our team members, to ensure a safe and fulfilling production.

The only way we can reach our crowdfunding goal is if we expand beyond our networks. YOU can make an impact by supporting women filmmakers and amplifying women's voices – through sharing our campaign via your social media, email, word-of-mouth, anything helps!

Feel free to copy and paste the text below:

Help filmmaker @aprillexilee by supporting her provocative, powerful film Black Belt; about a young woman who seeks the help of a Dominatrix to overcome her sexual trauma. Join them on @seedandspark: !

Thank you for your time and interest in our project. Together, we can spark important conversations and bring this vision to life.

The Black Belt Team


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

Art Department

Costs $2,500

So we can look the part, including location rentals, props and costumes!

Personnel & Welfare

Costs $4,400

So we can take care of our cast and crew, including day rates, transport, first-aid and meals!


Costs $1,500

Including picture + sound editing and musical scoring!

Marketing & Distribution

Costs $500

Including submission fees for various film festivals!

Contingency Budget

Costs $1,000

Including additional gear rentals, reshoots and any unforeseen circumstances due to COVID.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Black Belt boasts a sex-empowered, LGBTQ+ and women-led team of creatives. Badass women of all ethnicities who are carving their own path to success and fulfilment – whatever that looks like to them. On the back-end, we have a diverse community of friends and fellow filmmakers that provide invaluable support, advice and alternative perspectives – making this a truly collaborative passion project for all involved.

Current Team