Caged Bird

Atlanta, Georgia | Film Short



2 Campaigns | Georgia, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $8,390 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

66 supporters | followers

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A 15yo black boy continues to push the limits of his adolescent rebellion. When he's finally caught in the act by external forces, the powder-keg within his family bursts. He must now take witness to the ripple he's created and ultimately choose to save or sacrifice those he holds most dear.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

We make character driven films that reveal unseen truths in an effort to unify. We hope to bring together all those who live caged lives in a shared catharsis. Told through a black lens. Created and supported by a diverse team of film makers. We are experienced, inspired and focused.

The Story

The Caged Bird by Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps / on the back of the wind / and floats downstream / till the current ends / and dips his wing / in the orange sun rays / and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks / down his narrow cage / can seldom see through / his bars of rage / his wings are clipped and / his feet are tied / so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings / with a fearful trill / of things unknown / but longed for still / and his tune is heard / on the distant hill / for the caged bird / sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze / and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees / and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn / and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams / his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream / his wings are clipped and his feet are tied / so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings / with a fearful trill / of things unknown / but longed for still / and his tune is heard / on the distant hill / for the caged bird / sings of freedom.

My grandmother always used to say, "an idle mind is the devil's workshop". Well, when I was 15yo I quit the football team and overnight my whole world changed--friends, schedule, interests. Seemed my mind had nothing to do but idle.


Up to this point, I'd been a straight A, honor roll student. I was president of my 5th grade class. I grew up in a top 10 school district in the country nestled in the suburbs of Plano, TX (about 30min north of Dallas). Aptly nicknamed "The Bubble", the city has won "Safest City in America" in multiple years due to residents’ willingness to financially contribute to a strong police presence. 


Six months later, half the stuff in my room was shoplifted. I was regularly sneaking off with my mother's car to go on shoplifting sprees. I bought my weed in ounces. I rolled my blunts five at a time.


Our story follows Trey, a 15yo black boy growing up in a familiar all white suburb. He's stealing, he's driving without a license, and he's smoking reefer. But, a poet at heart, he’s not a bad kid—"he’s a raft afloat on an ocean of uncertainty”. Regardless, true to life, his actions have consequences and he's soon to face a violent barrage in a short window of time. 



The catalyst to this film’s creation actually comes from the events surrounding George Floyd’s death and monumental reaction from our nation. I was reminded of the one and only time I was arrested--for shoplifting on Mother's Day no less. The question of “why” arose. Why shoplift? Why Mother’s Day?

At the same time, I discovered the beauty of Maya Angelou's poem. Poetry has become a new obsession through quarantine and I've spent many a day diving into poetry holes. During these events, my soul went searching for the cultural poetry of Langston Hughes and evolved through time to Ms. Angelou. 

Cultural poetry plays a large role in the film, acting as our narrator, chorus, and our backdrop. 


So if Trey’s not a bad kid why does HE shoplift (and do bad things in general)? 


A frequent mistake by our past teenage selves. CONTROL is a major theme within the film. Trey’s parents control the trajectory of his life via their specific (and at times separate) expectations. Their attempts to secure his eventual success translate to a loss of control within his own life. Only in those brief adrenaline filled moments--think pants stuffed with DVDs--does he really feel in control. 


We trap ourselves before anyone else can. DIVERGING PATHS is a major theme within the film. Trey’s spent his life executing commands at the behest of his parents, aimed at assuring his inevitable future success. Meaning he’s never considered what that may look like for himself. He's faced with a challenging red pill/blue pill decision: stay the set course or REBEL--break away from what he's always known to set a path for himself. 


Back to where we started. Why do so many black boys choose lives filled with crime and violence? Why do we consistently find ourselves in polarizing situations with law enforcement? One possible answer: IDENTITY--which also happens to be a major theme within the film.

All men have an innate desire to lead, hunt, and self-determine. However, historically black men have existed in a society wherein that desire has been mitaged. Subservience had long been used as a method of control. Thus, there becomes a buildup of masculine energy with nowhere to direct it and it therefore becomes internalized. Now, it shoots out in anger and defiance.

The robbing of that ability to self-determine--or more so the predefined paths for a black man chosen by society or family or pop culture….rappers & b-ballers/preachers & lawyers/prisoners & pimps--creates an aggression. An aggression similar to that of a caged animal, unable to hurt anything but themselves. 



If Trey is to survive the ordeal beset before him, he must not only choose a path but realize what, and more importantly who, that dictates him to be. 




Welcome home. Our world is small, contained really to a house our family calls home (perhaps with an excursion or two). 

Trey’s father is Russell, 50. Russell’s father was a butcher for 40 years so his offspring wouldn’t have to be. Russell was raised in Compton. Went to college. Became a salesman. Broke free to the middle class and all the suburbs can offer. Russel’s identity is defined by his daddy’s. You work hard. You take care of your family. Every generation does better than the last. CONTROL is Russell’s magnum opus.


Trey’s mother is MICHELLE, 48. She grew up rough with no mother and an abusive father. She prays her children will never witness the horrors she faced before she was a woman. Meeting Russell was the blessing and the curse she needed in her life. The spirit of the family flows through Michelle. She is their connection to the earth and by proxy compassion. LOVE for her children is Michelle’s core opinionem.


Russell’s logical patriarch ---- meet ---- Michelle’s emotional den mother.

Place Trey, and his sister Janet, 18, in the middle.

Add the unforeseen, radical actions of a 15-year-old kid not worried about tomorrow or the next day.

Watch the fireworks fly. Will the family survive?



I apologize that this did not come earlier, but I thought best to bring you up to speed first. However, I do believe WE is all we have.  

Our team has been assembled in Atlanta, Georgia. We represent a diverse group of creeds, colors, and cultures. All of our lifestyles, beliefs, and dreams do not align, but our passion unites us. We are driven towards a goal of unraveling the complexities of the world we grew up in. Translating our findings to those around us. In an effort to unite our human condition as our passion unites us. 


Development--->Pre-Production--->SHOOT IT--->Post--->Distribution (festival season is coming)

We've cleared the development stage and are comfortably in pre-production. Our core team has been assembled and the search is on for our locations, cast, etc. 

But in order to make ANY of this happen, we need your support. I am extremely excited to share this slice of my life with the world in order to provide a greater perspective to those who may not be familiar. AND, I want it to reach out and touch people in the same way films in the theatre can. 

To do this, we need you on our team. You'll help us to be able to secure the right locations and production design to make our world feel real. Your support will help us secure the right actors to make written words feel like reality. Without your support we can't SHOOT THE WHOLE MOVIE Y'ALL!

We've created the vision. We've aligned on a plan. Now we need your pledge to take us from beginning to end. We've customized our incentives packages to help acquaint you to team Caged Bird! Check out ways you can join and the cool ways you can interact with us on the Incentives page! 




We're living in an extremely tough time, specifically tough on social gatherings. However, we are not new to this. Our team includes professionals and hobbyist alike. We've all had the opportunity to adapt to working within these conditions and have not once sacrificed anyone's health or well-being. 

In order to stay safe, we:

  • Wear masks at all times.
  • Take temperatures before and after filming every day.
  • Enforce testing before we begin shooting. 
  • Keep food and water separate and individualized. 
  • Have a specialized crew member to monitor our set's well-being.   







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

Trey's House

Costs $750

This is our KEY location, where over 75% of the story takes place.

Department Store

Costs $850

This is the only other location in the script and the backdrop for the key showdown in our story!

Talented Cast

Costs $1,500

Performance! We want the right folks in the right roles for this story.

Camera + Gear

Costs $2,500

To make this film as beautiful as possible--the right equipment. Don't forget hard drives!

Art Department

Costs $800

Props, Set Decoration, everything that creates our world and fills our frame.

FOOD for Everyone

Costs $500

So important..often overlooked..gotta feed people.

Hair, Make Up, Wardrobe

Costs $500

Dress good, look good, feel good, make great work.

Post Production & Distribution

Costs $300

Editing, cutting, tweaking

Truck For Transporting

Costs $300

Getting props and gear from point a to point b.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

We are an experienced, diverse blending of artistic creativty focused in investigating the world we inhabit. While our passions align, our individuality is what makes us a unique, well-oiled, FILM MAKING TEAM. We have truly been blessed to find each other! See more info below!


Current Team