I Can't Protect You

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Drama, Family

Lauren Cantell

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $14,821 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

151 supporters | followers

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Based on my life as a Stage 3A breast cancer survivor, support this film to continue bringing authentic, female-led stories about health and mental health into the world. Contribute to a film that provides solidarity to those struggling and insight to friends, family, and caretakers.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

Hi, I'm Lauren, I'm an actor & filmmaker in LA. For years I held a lot of shame about having cancer and the ways I dealt with it. Now, I believe that sharing a story of how I survived the mental toll of diagnosis & treatment will provide solidarity for others who are struggling.

The Story

Has something ever happened to you that caused you to call into question everything you know about yourself, how you exist in the world, and how you engage with others? Has this forced you into being someone YOU hardly recognize, let alone are able to share with your friends and family? 

Why me, why this, why now?

My example is specific, but the story is universal. When I was going through treatment, I didn't resonate with the "brave, fierce, warrior" cancer culture. It created an overwhelming pressure for me to be a "good" patient and prove that I could handle everything that was being thrown my way.

I saw film and television featuring cancer patients that didn't resonate with me - it felt bright sided and inauthentic. This made me feel isolated, alone, and that my thoughts were too negative. I felt like I was "doing it wrong", so I didn't let any one in, and instead tried to numb the pain. I figured I needed to protect my family and friends from my real feelings and put on a brave face.

Based on true events, I Can't Protect You tells the story of a cancer patient who doesn’t identify with the “brave, warrior cancer culture” and instead seeks solace in strangers and alcohol; but one fateful night, when her two worlds collide, she realizes how her actions are impacting those closest to her.

I've been in remission for 8 years, and I finally feel ready and empowered to share my experiences with others. I believe that this film showcases the complexity of dealing with a disease and interpersonal relationships in a way that provides solidarity without bright-siding the experience. My ultimate hope is that this film will make others (dealing with a disease or not) feel seen and less alone.

The team:

I met Bara Kim (the producer of this film, middle) in acting class in Los Angeles. We have worked together as actors and as filmmakers. Bara starred in a Doyen Artists film in 2020 and has been working with the team ever since. Doyen Artists, a production team in LA, is comprised of Josh Wordel (cinematographer, left), Chase Yi (gaffer, right), and Bara Kim (producer). Together they have written, directed, and produced dozens of films and commercials - I am thrilled to partner with them to make this film.

The look:

We're using a mix of cool and warm light to signify the main character's journey from secrecy and darkness to honesty and light. We will be using a combination of steady cam and handheld to distinguish the stability and instability of our main character and supporting characters. Below are shots from ShotDeck that follow the plot of the film, along with an example of the overall mood.

 Euphoria, S1, E7, Dir. Sam Levinson

Moonlight (2016), Dir. Barry Jenkins

Fargo (1996), Dir. Joel Coen


La La Land (2016), Dir. Damien Chazelle  


Sicaro (2015), Dir. Dennis Villeneuve            

Judy (2019), Dir. Rupert Goold

Booksmart (2019), Dir. Olivia Wilde            


Euphoria, S1, E5, Dir. Sam Levinson 


Euphoria, S1, E3, Dir. Sam Levinson


Out of the Furnace (2013), Dir. Scott Cooper

Euphoria, S1, E1, Dir. Sam Levinson


Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), Dir. Bryan Singer

How we will use the funds:

  • Where we are now:
    • The script is finalized, the crew is in place, and we will be using the funds for pre-production, production, and post-production (see breakdown below).
  • Pre-Producation
    • Rent locations, acquire any permits
  • Production:
    • to pay the crew and our actors,
    • pay for food on set,
    • pay a hair and makeup artist who will be doing VFX makeup, 
    • purchase any necessary props or wardrobe
  • Post-Production:
    • to pay for an editor and color corrector
    • sound design
    • originial score
    • festival submissions

How you can view & get involved:

Once the film is finished we will submit it to many festivals both in the United States and abroad. We will specifically be searching out female-focused festivals. We plan on sharing a private link to view the film with specific incentive contributors (see the incentive list). The production team will be hosting a private in-person screening of the film for those involved and based in Los Angeles.

You can follow @cantellmenuffin Instagram to follow the journey of the film. We'd love to hear from you, so please DM us with thoughts and questions.

Share about this campaign on social media! Copy and paste the language below:

Finance female-led cinema! Based on true events, this film tells the story of a cancer patient who doesn’t identify with the “brave, warrior cancer culture” and seeks solace in strangers and alcohol; but one fateful night, when her two worlds collide, she realizes how her actions are impacting those closest to her. This film hopes to empower those who are silently struggling to ask for help. https://seedandspark.com/fund/i-cant-protect-you?token=cbbec719aa5ed72a707fa8073a19fc4b25d839beed39dc2098cec63d7df4a336 @cantellmenuffin

What if the project is funded over 100%?

If the project surpasses the 100% goal, we will use the funds for travel for our cast and crew to attend festivals in which the film is accepted.

All other funds will be donated to METAvivor:

"Breast cancer fundraisers are everywhere, but most of the money raised goes toward breast cancer prevention and early detection efforts. Very little of it, only 2-3%, is dedicated toward research for Stage IV, metastatic breast cancer.  METAvivor is the only organization that solely funds MBC research through a scientific peer review process. 100% of all donations go into MBC-specific research grants. METAvivor is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible."

How we will handle Covid-19:

We take the safety and wellbeing of the cast and crew very seriously and will implement the following safety protocols:

  • All cast and crew must be fulling vaccinated against Covid-19 and provide proof of vaccination;
  • All cast and crew must have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of filming;
  • All cast and crew will rapid test upon arrival to set and must test negative;
  • N95 masks will be provided and those who wish to wear them may (as per LA County Guidelines, masks are not required indoors at this time, if that changes, we will change our mask policy);
  • Windows will be open to increase airflow when not actively filming.

My promise to you:

This film will be made with immense care, sensitivity, and authenticity. I greatly appreciate you taking the time learn more about this project. If you have any questions, please reach out! 


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


Costs $2,500

To pay our amazing production team! DP, Producer, Sound, Gaffer, PA


Costs $1,500

High-quality camera & lighting package to capture this story

HMUA, Costume, Set Design, Props

Costs $2,935

Help us create a world to film in!


Costs $1,000

We have to feed our amazing cast & crew!


Costs $1,500

We have found an amazing space!

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $4,000

We need to pay someone to take our footage and make a film!


Costs $625

We want to pay our amazing actors!

Festival Submissions

Costs $1,000

We want to share this film with the world!

Premiere Party

Costs $750

We want to celebrate this film with our cast, crew and top financial contributors!

About This Team

Hi my name is Lauren Cantell and I am an Actor, Writer, and Filmmaker living in Los Angeles. I grew up in New Jersey and spent my adult life (college and post) in Philadelphia until I moved to LA in October 2020 - pushed by the pandemic to continue to seize my dreams on a much deeper level.

I didn't spend my whole live pursuing acting or storytelling. It wasn't until after going through cancer treatment that I had the courage to take improv classes, something with which I later fell in love, and began performing as a company member at the Philly Improv Theater. Improv is my first love because it gave me the freedom to try new things, fail, trust my team, and create something beautiful and weird. Lately I have been exploring the world of physical comedy through clown in Los Angeles.

I've been writing my entire life, and this story is one that I've been waiting 8 years to tell. I have a number of visual poems that I have written, directed, and acted in that explore themes of euphoric recall, family food trauma, and women's right to bodily autonomy.

I also wrote and starred in the short film "Passive Aggressive Work Meeting" (made during the pandemic with my cross-country friends) and have been cast in a number of other projects during my short time in LA. This film will be my narrative directorial debut.

For I Can't Protect You, I am collaborating with an LA-based production company called Doyen Artists, which consists of Bara Kim, Josh Wordel & Chase Yi. These creatives are muti-hypenates, but for this project, Bara Kim is the producer, Josh Wordel is the Director of Photography, and Chase Yi is sound. Check out the Doyen Artists work here: www.DoyenArtists.com

Current Team