Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Drama, Action

Rolla Selbak

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $10,385 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

95 supporters | followers

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Choke is a short about a rising MMA star who hides her refugee status from her small American town, and the world. This will also serve a pitch presentation for a TV series we’re looking to produce in the future.

About The Project

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Mission Statement

We tell the experience of what it feels like to immigrate from your home to a new place you're trying to fit into, especially in today's climate. In commemoration, our film is brought to you by an immigrant and first generation cast and crew, helmed by a female writer, director and DP.

The Story

CHOKE is about a successful MMA champion who hides her refugee identity from her small American town, and the world. Sara and her family are Muslim refugees who’ve escaped the vicious war in Syria and flee to the Unites States, where she fights for a new life in the brutal sport of mix martial arts.



The central themes of identity, racism, and fear are heightened by Sara’s struggle between modesty and boldness, aggression and repression, and oscillation between pride of who she is, and shame of where she came from.


The words “Muslim” and “immigrant” are so charged with electrifying heaviness in today’s environment. Just when we think the anti-immigrant sentiment has reached fever pitch in this country, the spikes of vicious rhetoric push the stakes higher.



We truly believe it’s time for a different kind of immigrant story, one that offers a counter-illustration to the depictions of brown women on the big screen as the devout wife, or the unsuspecting terrorist, or depicting refugees as being weak and powerless instead of strong and resilient.



It’s both a challenge and an honor to depict an authentic refugee experience truthfully and with creative empathy. Being an immigrant myself and being part of a Palestinian family, I feel that my personal experience lends itself to this intent in a powerful way.



We've put in a lot of work into visual tone, performance pace, and architecting visual cues for the dueling tensions and themes in the film. It is something that audiences will definitely feel and can catch different artistic realizations after watching multiple times.



Choke is a film about identity, and the choices we make to hide parts of our selves in order to survive, especially in today's climate.


We hope the themes and message resonate with you, and if they do, we would love your influence in making this film happen.







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

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Color Grading

Costs $1,500

Crafting the look and feel of the film through beautiful color.

Sound Design + Mix

Costs $700

Sound effects that pop with realism, and mixing clean dialogue.

Original Score

Costs $1,200

Music composition and recording that enhances the story.

Music Licensing

Costs $1,000

Music from renowned artists from Syria and the Middle East that connect authentically to the film.

Fesival Costs

Costs $1,600

Submitting to festivals, travel and lodging for screenings.

DCP + Film Export

Costs $500

Digital Camera Package exports used by festivals for screenings.

About This Team


Current Team