Have Your Cake

Hamilton, Canada | Film Short


Leah Magdalen

1 Campaigns | Ontario, Canada

Green Light

This campaign raised C$7,500 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

59 supporters | followers

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Set against the colorful backdrop of eight different kitchens, a woman appears in every decade from the 1950s to the 2020s and navigates various circumstances that challenge her autonomy and sense of self, all while baking a cake and decorating it with a simple but poignant message.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

Made by a team of people who have been historically underrepresented in the film industry and who personally relate to the story, Have Your Cake is a personal reflection and metaphor for the need for autonomy and having one's own sense of identity.

The Story

It’s the 1950s. A woman in her 30s, overwhelmed with her endless list of housewife chores, decides to forgo her duties and bake herself a cake. As she works—gathering the ingredients, mixing the batter, baking it, and, finally, decorating—decades pass, and the woman appears as different versions of herself, as if time-traveling, in every decade from the 1950s to present day. With each new era comes a different set of circumstances that the woman must navigate. In the 2020s, it’s revealed that she’s decorated the top of the cake with a simple but poignant message. But as they say, you can't have your cake and eat it too...


The cinematography in each decade will be distinct and emulate film and television from the time. For example, the 1950s will be in black and white with a soft focus. The resolution, contrast, and colour grading will evolve through the decades, with the 2020s appearing as the most realistic and in high definition.

Drawing inspiration from iconic female characters throughout history, specific visual references will also appear as easter eggs in the film, showing up in the set design, costumes, and framing.

Finally, cake is a major component of this film! Each decade will feature its own fully decorated cake design, and the sweet confectionary theme will also appear in the main colour scheme. The cakes are being designed by Katarina Poletto, the owner of Dolled Up Desserts in Hamilton, Ontario.


We’ve received a small grant from the City of Hamilton, a cash prize from the Hamilton Film Festival's Pitch Competition, and some community support in the form of in-kind donations, which is a great start! But we still need to raise another $7500 to make the film we've envisioned.

Here's a summary of what our overall budget covers.


Have Your Cake has been in development for over a year, and we are finally preparing to shoot in January 2024. Post-production is expected to be finished by the end of March, with a Friends and Family screening party to be held in the spring. It will be submitted to film festivals for a year, followed by submission to platforms that host shorts (e.g., CBC Gem).

We are also excited to announce we have a confirmed slot in the Hamilton Film Festival in 2024 after winning the Pitch Competition at this year's festival, so stay tuned to catch the screening next fall!


By supporting this film, you are helping to support people from underemployed groups in the film industry.

The project’s key collaborators are women and non-binary professionals—people who have been historically excluded from many roles in the film industry and beyond. Despite the progress made over the last century, enormous gaps in gender equality persist. It is unsurprising that as we were building our team, the film’s theme of erasure spoke to people who have experienced it.

Here are some recent stats on Canada's film industry, as published by Women in View in their On Screen Report 2023:


Donate: Any amount helps!

Share: If you are unable to donate at this time but still want to support the project, we would be so grateful if you shared our campaign with your network so we can reach a wider community. We will also be holding a contest on Instagram (no purchase necessary) so follow us for a chance to win a free cake! @haveyourcake.film

Item loans: We are seeking several specific vintage items to help decorate our set to look like eight different kitchens! Please stay tuned on social media/email for updates.


As a woman and as someone with a largely invisible disability, it has been challenging to navigate a career in the film industry. I never feel as though either of these identities completely defines me, yet I still feel an outward expectation of what they mean, which I must, somehow, live up to. Because of these limiting “rules”, spoken and unspoken, as an artist, I feel drawn to consuming and creating work that challenges what is expected in pursuit of more nuanced and truthful expression.

The idea for Have Your Cake came to me when I was thinking about how I could express the exact thing I wanted to say about the ubiquity of identity erasure—and in response to my own experience of it—in a creative way. Have Your Cake is an imagining of what my life could have looked like if I had been born 100 years, 90 years ago, etc., and I hope it inspires others to continue to stake claims to their own identities.

Have Your Cake is a very personal creative project for me and I have been deeply committed to bringing it to life. It has been in development for over a year and I am filled with gratitude for the support it has already received. While we have thought of various iterations throughout its development (from shooting it on our phones on weekends to a full-budget studio set), we are confident we can make something beautiful and meaningful at this scale.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT! It truly means the world.


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

Cash Pledge

Costs C$0

Crew and Creatives

Costs C$3,750

This portion of the funds raised, combined with a small grant we received, will go towards paying our amazing filmmaking team!

Craft Services

Costs C$750

This portion will help cover the cost of craft services to feed everyone on set!

Wardrobe + Set Design + Cakes

Costs C$2,000

This portion will go towards our set design supplies, cakes, and wardrobe pieces.

Administrative Fees

Costs C$1,000

This portion will go towards insurance costs, crowdfunding fees, festival submissions, etc.

About This Team


Leah Magdalen has studied and worked as an actor in Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles, and earned her MA in Acting from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the UK. Her onscreen credits include the short film Little Soul by Wildling Pictures and CBC, as well as several national commercials. Alongside acting, Leah has a strong interest in writing and directing, and she has coached and directed actors of all ages and experience levels. In 2021, she had the opportunity to work as an assistant director with Hamilton LOFT on their short documentary, Why Didn’t I Leave?, and made an experimental short film called Light/Here in 2022. Her main interest lies in screen adaptations of short stories and novels, particularly those centering female characters.


Laura Wilson is an actor and producer, and a graduate of the University of Toronto and Sheridan College’s Theatre and Drama Studies Program. Her onscreen acting credits include The Handmaid’s Tale, Star Trek: Strange New World, Supernatural, Smallville, and Once Upon A Time, as well as the multi-award-winning indie comedy The Wingman. Behind the scenes, Laura has worked as a producer with Cow Over Moon Children’s Theatre and The Chekov Collective and was a founding member of Theatre Georgian Bay. Laura is one of the Executive Directors of Hamilton LOFT (Ladies of Film and Television), and with them, has expanded her behind-the-camera experience to include Producer and First Assistant Director on their inaugural short film, Why Didn’t I Leave?. 

Cinematographer: Qi Chang

Editor: Rita Ushakova

Set Designer: Baska Szostak

Hair + Makeup: Rachel Jones

Composer: Dominique Poulin

Cake Designer: Katerina Poletto

Current Team