The Golden Cage - A Short Film

Santa Barbara, California | Film Short

Drama, Foreign Film

Golden Cage Films

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $12,860 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

92 supporters | followers

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You’ve been in a sort of cage your whole life in Mexico--a cage of poverty with little chance of making a better life--but it’s not until you get to the U.S. that you realize you’re trapped in a new cage, just one with shinier railing.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

With our film, we hope to tell the story of the sacrifices made by those who move to this country--sacrifices that often mean only seeing their mother through the bars of a wall that traps people on opposite sides of a barrier between countries.

The Story

Growing up in a family with someone who’s undocumented, I never thought too hard about his decision to come here from Mexico. I noticed small things, like how he was hesitant to interact with strangers or drive at night.

But it was only when I got older that I realized what he had to leave behind. You’re not just leaving your hometown; you’re leaving your parents behind to start a new family in a new country. Though in a way, you’re not setting out to make a better life for yourself, but rather, you’re trying to provide the opportunity of something better for the next generation. You must put yourself and your family aside indefinitely, maybe forever.

I never lived this struggle, but I saw someone first-hand put their whole life on hold just to ensure my family was better off. This film doesn’t show us that day to day existence, but rather shows one of the few moments where they can hit the un-pause button on their own life. Santiago’s journey down to see his mother is a rare moment where we see a glimpse into who he was in Mexico, and where he came from.

-  Francisco Lopez, Director ~ June 2020

Why Now

There are many ways to make a political statement fighting back against the injustices of a system that puts a wall between two countries, separating thousands of people from their loved ones and families. But for us, the best way to communicate the true effect of these larger societal circumstances is to boil them down to something far simpler, more relatable, and interpersonal: the relationship between one mother and son. 

When we think about the border, many of us automatically think of the stories of those trying to get to the United States from Mexico. We seldom think about how this country is a cage for the people already inside, barring them from ever leaving to see their families. This film will show another side of the stories surrounding immigration and the border, illustrating what thousands of families go through just to spend an afternoon looking at their loved one through the bars of a wall on opposite sides of a beach.

COVID - 19

Putting a short film together is never an easy feat under ideal conditions. This year's global pandemic has presented filmmakers with challenges they never imagined.  We have all had to adapt with masks, social distancing, production bubbles, and a myriad of other precautionary measures part of 2020 film life in all stages of production, along with their associated costs. But as challenging as they are, we believe our story matters now more than ever and deserves to be told. Not being able to hug one's family has been the reality for millions of undocumented people living in the USA for decades. 

Thank You

We appreciate all your support for our film, it really means the world to us. Immigration and the stories within the subject of migration are as timely and important as ever. We sincerely hope your support will help our film reach a wide and diverse audience and shine a light on a consequence of immigration often ignored by the mainstream media. We hope to take our film on an extensive festival run and hope this film will spark conversations about immigration, its consequences, and its human toll, and will hopefully lead to developing and producing more stories on this subject by our team. 

Thank you,

The Golden Cage Team


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

Covid 19

Costs $250

Masks, hand sanitizer, thermometers, you know the stuff. All needed during this unusual year.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Ronin 2

Costs $1,500

Given the short is mostly shot on the road, this gimbal system will ensure stability in our shots.

Ready Rig for Ronin 2

Costs $500

The Ready Rig is an addition to the Ronin 2 Gimbal which aids with the weight of the Ronin 2.

Tilta Nucleus Wireless Follow Focus

Costs $599

This follow focus allows the camera crew to operate the focus remotely.

Misc Grip Equipment Rental

Costs $2,100

A grip package with all the necessary equipment to properly light all scenes.

Color Correction

Costs $1,500

We need to make our film look pretty!

Festival Entries

Costs $500

We hope to take our film to as many festivals as possible and share it with a wide audience.

Cast & Crew food

Costs $500

We need to feed our incredible cast and crew!


Costs $1,500

We hope to shoot at locations on either side of the border.

Film Score

Costs $1,000

We want our film to sound great!


Costs $1,000

We have an incredible cast and would like to pay them.

Santiago's Truck

Costs $500

We need a truck to tell our story.

Bits & pieces

Costs $250

Lots of bits & pieces are needed to put it all together

Crew lodging

Costs $1,100

We need a roof over our heads while we shoot.

Legal n stuff

Costs $250

We have to dot our I's and cross our T's


Costs $250

We have to get the OK to do what we want, where we want.

Moving people

Costs $500

We have to move all our cast and crew about.

Cop car

Costs $850

We need a cop and a car to tell our story.


Costs $1,000

We need insurance.

About This Team

Francisco Lopez - Director/Writer 

Francisco is a recent UC Santa Barbara film graduate. In his time at university, he served as an editor for numerous projects, several of which played at festivals. He also works as a freelance editor, and has done promotional videos for several startups.











Mitchka Saberi - Producer/Writer

Mitchka is a recent UC Santa Barbara film graduate who spent her time at university producing and assistant directing several projects including Mother of Chernobyl, which was selected for several festivals around the country and worldwide.











Gareth Kelly - Producer

Gareth Kelly, himself a former undocumented immigrant, is a film industry professional from the UK who currently operates in California. A freelance journalist since 2013 Kelly covered the historically chaotic coverage of the 2016 Presidential election in Florida working for a variety of regional, national, and international news organizations. He would return to California and take a position with Chicago Pacific Entertainment, the production company of director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive). Kelly was an Associate Producer on CPE's critically acclaimed documentary, Mentors - Tony & Santi. Kelly has focused on forging professional relationships with industry colleagues as well as writing and developing projects of his own.






Joey Szalkiewicz - Co-Producer

Joey is a recent UC Santa Barbara graduate with a degree in Economics and Film/Media Studies. A strong passion for both film and the outdoors has led him to work on teams in some of the world’s most remote locations including the summit of Denali in Alaska as well as within a submerged cage at Guadalupe Island off the coast of Mexico.











Alex Gorman - Cinematographer

 Alex is a cinematographer and camera operator who recently graduated from UC Santa Barbara. During his time at school, he was the cinematographer for numerous projects, one of which won him Best Cinematographer at the 28th Reel Loud Film Festival. 











Adam Cox - Sound Mixer

Adam is a UCSB Alumni and audio magician who has done sound design and mixing for several documentaries and narrative projects. Adam's post-grad works includes projects for Magnolia Pictures and Apple, with eyes on future productions.

Current Team