Mourning Sacrifice

Las Vegas, Nevada | Film Short

Romance, Horror

Tonya Todd

1 Campaigns | Nevada, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $7,250 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

56 supporters | followers

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Mourning Sacrifice is a contemporary detective noir short film that explores how even the most altruistic love can turn monstrous.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

BIPOC communities often have their stories pigeon-holed into tales that highlight the challenges associated with their identities. We’ve created a project, as diverse behind the camera as in front, that shows BIPOC characters can be heroes, villains, love interests, monsters, and not merely victims.

The Story

For the last six months, 400-year-old vampire D’Artagnan has posed as a detective to help Selene search for her missing husband while concealing his part in the disappearance. When their search leads them to a shallow grave, he must choose between a romance based on lies or surrender the complete truth as his final act of redemption.

SELENE’s marriage was by no means charmed, but after the loss of their infant child, she and her husband were finally healing. They enjoy a performance of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” then celebrate their decision to try conceiving again with a night of lovemaking. When they ran out of wine, Selene’s husband dashed out for more. And never returned. 

Selene is heartbroken. The police claim they can’t help her without evidence. All seems lost until she meets D’Artagnan, who makes her feel more whole each day. The more time she spends with him, the more her heart splits in two. Now, if she does find her husband, she’s not sure what she’ll do.

The illegitimate son of Alexander Dumas, D'ARTAGNAN CACCIA has watched his mother, his first wife, and everyone he has ever loved die. He spent centuries in the shadows, keeping to himself to avoid attachment. Loneliness has taken its toll. When he encounters Selene, a woman he finds irresistibly enchanting, he breaks nearly every one of his rules while trying to help her heal. 

D’Artagnan accompanies Selene’s useless search for her husband each night. Their time together challenges his ability to resist his desires for her. Yet, the one thing he desires more than taking Selene in every possible way is to keep her safe. The only way to have her is to hurt her.

Mourning Sacrifice was originally written as a short story for a curated Silver State anthology. The rules were simple: tell a story set in Nevada that includes the theme of redemption. This was the first time in my writing career that a character took over a story from me and steered it in his own direction. What unfolded was more than my original conception, and at times, a surprise to me.


Now D’Artagnan demands his dedication to Selene be shared in a visual medium. With this film, we will reveal his secrets along with his growing affections and see if Selene can not only forgive his transgressions but ultimately, love a monster.

When you contribute to our campaign you are supporting a film that:  


• Increases representation on screen by showcasing COMPLEX ROLES for BIPOC Characters 

• Values DIVERSITY in front and behind the camera 


Our proposed budget is $12,000, and we need $9,000 more to reach that goal. We already have $3,000 through Nevada Arts Council and National Endowment of the Arts, but need your help to raise the rest!  

Our $9,000 goal is the absolute minimum we need to raise for production. 

If we raise $10,000, we'll be able to house our actors comfortably.  

If we raise $12,000, we'll be able to cover the costs of running our campaign!

If we raise $14,000, we'll be able to pay for our sound design and our mix. 

If we raise $17,000, we'll be able to cover editing costs.

If we raise $18,000, we'll be able to cover film festival submissions and promotion ensuring Selene and D’Artagnan’s love story reaches the largest possible audience!

If we raise $20,000, our cast and crew can attend those festivals.


We are shooting Mourning Sacrifice in October and hope to screen it at film festivals in 2024. 


Be sure to follow us here on Seed&Spark, but also on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Encourage your friends to follow us too!


2. SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT #MourningSacrifice

Tell your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors about Mourning Sacrifice. Share our posts, campaign page, and our backer updates!



Regular visits to our Seed&Spark page keep you in the know AND increase our chances of being featured on the site!


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


Costs $300

Help us protect our cast, crew, and locations with proper insurance coverage.

Props and Set Dressing

Costs $500

We don’t need a lot in this area. We plan to make a few hundred dollars go a long way.

Special Effects

Costs $500

Nothing pulls you out of a scene faster than bad special effects. Help us hire a professional to create believable bites, wounds & injuries.

Video Storage

Costs $500

Memory Cards and Media Management make sure we keep our footage safe and our shoot moving.

Catering and Crafty

Costs $1,000

So much of our team is volunteering their services. Help us feed everyone well for their talents and efforts.

Wardrobe, Makeup, and Hairdressing

Costs $700

D’Artagnan needs his Fedora. Selene needs her red dress. Let’s keep the cast posh, powdered, and pretty.

Production Sound

Costs $1,400

Audio can be the difference between a good or a great cinematic experience.


Costs $1,400

Great camera quality and expert lighting elevate a film to its highest potential.


Costs $1,500

Each location comes at a price. Help us cover the costs of each.


Costs $800

Your support will ensure this film looks and sounds its best.

Film Festivals

Costs $400

This will cover festival submissions so we can share our amazing film!

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Tonya Todd: Writer, Director, and Producer

Tonya is an author, actress, activist, and vampire enthusiast. Born in Pennsylvania, or possibly Transylvania, she plunged into Sin City, young enough to immerse herself in bright lights, big city, and bigger dreams. By day, she writes novels and works as an actor. By night, she pens freelance screenplays and taps into her fountain of youth. Her upcoming short film, “Mourning Sacrifice,” based on her short story of the same name, will be her directorial debut.

During her four years on the board of Henderson Writers Group, Tonya spearheaded education for authors at all levels and staffed the Las Vegas Writers Conference. She is invested in Own Voices writing and fair representation in both the literary and cinematic worlds she inhabits. She serves as co-host on the international collective Femme On Podcast, where she interviews women about their fitness journeys (Femme On Fitness) and various forms of advocacy (Active Activism). Her continued involvement in the literary, theatre, and filmmaking communities provides a platform to champion marginalized artists and contributes toward an environment that embraces a variety of voices.

As an actor, Tonya trained with Paul X. Campanella and Jeff Pride. She has starred in many stage productions, most notably playing the iconic roles of Cleopatra in Bard at the Bar's Shakespearean mash-up Caesar & Cleopatra, Queen Titania in Bard at the Bar's A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Nikki in the original production of Ripe and Seedless. She can also be seen as Laura in the award-winning “Wild Within”, and Arabella in “New Normal,” a short film she co-wrote and filmed during the 2020 lockdown. For details on the forthcoming Dark Angels: The Demon Pit, Hell's Coming for You, and Rogue Angel, follow her IMDb page at

Israel David Groveman: Director of Photography, Composer, and Editor

Israel is a creative visionary who began playing the violin when he was five. Classical competition wins brought him to a full scholarship ride to the Catholic University of America and the University of Maryland. While earning two degrees, he had his first brush with acting in the seasonal theater production of “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music.

Israel began creating short films and was lead actor in a noir arthouse film titled “Despondent,” and recently completed a principal role as the gunfighter “Saygen Gantz” in a Western. After acting roles in Spielberg’s “Lincoln” and AMC’s “TURN” and some fashion films starring Lindsay Lohan and directed by Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri, Israel wrote the music for an Emmy-nominated documentary, “Melting Point,” and was nominated for seven categories and won two for his film “The Guns of Wachoiye” at Idyllwild 2017. In 2021 and 2022, he won and was nominated at festivals multiple times for his short World War 2 film, “A Mighty Endeavor.” This World War 2 short also won the top prize at the premiere 2022 Scotland International Festival of Cinema.

Israel is one of the lead cinematographers for two features, including the epic rock saga “Ulysses Coyote,” as well as the Western miniseries, “Tucker’s War.” He was the main cinematographer for Conor O’Farrell’s short film titled “Hannibal, Missouri” which won a top prize at the South by Southwest Screenplay Competition.

Israel is also a published photographer with varied and published work with modeling agencies, BASIC, RUNWAY, LA CONFIDENTIAL, WASHINGTONIAN, and DIME magazines. He has worked with known talent such as Claudia Wells, Conor O’Farrell, Peter Dobson, Christian Slater, Sebastian Siegel, Sarina Taylor, Daniel-Day Lewis, Angus MacFadyen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and many more.

He can be contacted at

Jordan Wiessen: Producer

A person of many talents, Jordan works full-time at Broadcast Management Group as both a Production Manager (when in the office) and Senior Tech Manager (when on the road), on various projects ranging from live sporting/musical events to studio and episodic TV.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jordan was, at a young age, immersed in the world of film and theater, working both in front and behind the camera/curtain. Jordan studied acting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. As an actor, he can currently be seen in “Stealing Chaplin” on Amazon Prime. As a producer, his latest short film, “Wild Within” is available on YouTube.

With a passion for film, Jordan has refined his role as a producer for multiple short films and is preparing to produce 2 feature films. He has spent nearly 20 years specializing in logistics and operations. Additionally, he has worked and continues to work with leaders in the broadcasting and film industry.

An enthusiastic world traveler, he has worked internationally in diverse cities such as Seoul, S. Korea, Dublin, Ireland, and Mexico City, Mexico. He is also a dedicated “Disneyphile” (all things Disneyland) and an avid scuba diver.

Marcus J. McGill: Line Producer

Marcus is a producer known for Terrifier 2 (2022) and the upcoming slasher, Stream. He was born on July 7th, 1980 in Chicago, IL. Marcus grew up most of his life just east of Atlanta, GA. Marcus also holds dual Master's degrees in Integrated Homeland Security Management and Intelligence Studies. He is the line producer for his mentor and producing partner, Kimberly Skyrme, at Butterfly Films. He recently stepped into the First Assistant Director role for the upcoming holiday film Christmas Couples Retreat (2023).

Current Team