Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Comedy, Sci-Fi

KD Davila

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $16,330 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

151 supporters | followers

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What happens when you fall through a crack in the system? For Mateo, it means being stuck in a fully automated jail cell for a crime he didn't commit. He embarks on a Kafka-esque journey to reach a human being, battling the prison's infuriating customer service while struggling to keep his sanity.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

PLEASE HOLD is the story of a working-class Latino, directed and co-written by KD Dávila, a Latina filmmaker. In this biting social satire, we examine the increasingly profit-driven penal system where marginalized communities are left to shoulder the costs.

The Story



Two days before the deadline, we have reached our production budget of $16,000. We are making a movie! 


We have 48 hours left and want to try and get to some of our STRETCH GOALS. Here's what we will spend additional funds on if we make it to:


$17,000 = Bring "Scaley" to life! In our film, there will be an automated public defender called "Scaley". Think Word 98 Clippy in style. For an extra $1000 we can make him a fully animated character.



$18,000 and more - Additional funds will go to our Visual Effects budget. Our movie features drones and screens and all sorts of cool, futuristic tech, some of it too advanced to actually build, so we will make them digitally using our awesome VFX partner Last Pixel:


Thank you for your ongoing support!!




This is a dark comedy, set in a slightly disappointing future


MATEO (20s, Latino) is arrested by a police drone without explanation. Finding himself locked in a fully automated jail with no means of recourse, Mateo realizes he’s fallen through some kind of crack in the system. To get out alive he’ll have to go head to head with the labyrinthine, computerized bureaucracy of the privatized American justice system, in search of an actual human being who can set things right.





In this film, we want to explore injustice and class dynamics in the prison system through a dark comedy/sci-fi lens. But while the situations might be funny to the audiences, everything will always be frighteningly real to the powerless protagonist.





In this sci-fi dark comedy, we aim to explore two forms of existential terror: the kind that comes from being wrongfully accused of a crime, and the kind that comes from being trapped on the phone with Spirit Airlines customer service. Tonally, it's like crossing Sorry to Bother You with an episode of Black Mirror.




We wanted to make a film that addresses the class divide in the American justice system. It's the sad reality that right now, if you're a criminal with a lot of money, you can essentially buy your way into a minimum security prison... Whereas if you're not wealthy and get arrested by mistake, the system can bleed you dry. Although this film is set in the near future, it should all feel frighteningly plausible. Many elements of this future we’re constructing are already a reality—like how they charge high prices for inmates to communicate with their families.


Right now the justice system and the penal system are run by human beings, who are fallible and often make costly mistakes. What happens when we further reduce the human element in these systems? Considering the unstoppable advent of automation, we’re probably not that far off from this reality.





Between the four of us, our team has produced and worked on dozens of short films. We've screened and won top awards at major festivals like Berlinale, Sundance, Tribeca, and SXSW. While success is never guaranteed, we're an experienced team and are confident that we can deliver the film we promise.




Please also check out our Wish List! 



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

Production Design

Costs $5,000

Set build (flats, paint, labor)


Costs $1,500

Casting Director, Actors

DP, Lights, Camera

Costs $2,500

Lenses, Grip & Light package, Expendables, 1st AC & 2nd AC

On Set Sound

Costs $1,000

Sound recordist, sound equipment.

Set Operations and Crew

Costs $2,000

Food, vehicles, gas money etc.

Insurance, Licenses, Paperwork, Fees

Costs $1,000

The fun stuff.

Hair and Make-Up

Costs $1,000

To make sure Mateo looks like he's been in jail for a while!

Soundstage / Warehouse (soundproof)

Costs $2,000

A space to build our set and shoot our movie in.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

KD Dávila / Writer & Director

K.D. Dávila is a Chicana writer/director from Los Angeles. She holds a BA in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University and an MFA in Screenwriting from USC. She wrote EMERGENCY, winner of Best Narrative Short at SXSW 2018 and the Special Jury Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. She was recently a SW on CBS summer sci-fi show Salvation, and is currently hard at work as SE on an upcoming genre television series.


Levin Menekse / Writer

Born in Istanbul to a Muslim mother and a Jewish father, Omer Levin Menekse has always felt like somewhat of a cosmological joke. He attended USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, where he was awarded the Annenberg Fellowship. Since graduating, he has worked as a freelance story consultant and as a script analyst for various companies. He is currently co-producing PLEASE HOLD, which he co-wrote with Sundance Special Jury Award winning writer/director KD Davila. He is currently a Film Independent Project Involve Fellow. Levin is represented by Parker Davis, Jenna Block and Pamela Goldstein at Verve.


Diego Najera / Producer

Diego Nájera is a producer from Guadalajara, Mexico. He is a USC International Artist Fellow (2014-2016), a recipient of the Producers Guild of America Debra Hill Fellowship (2016), and a Film Independent Project Involve Fellow (2018). Nájera began his career at the Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG) where he worked for six editions as Producer and Film Programmer He holds an MFA from USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program. His short film, SPARK, was nominated for a BAFTA Student Film Award and was distributed by HBO. His latest short LIBERTY won the Jury Prize at Berlinale Generation and at SXSW. He is currently producing the feature film BOLICHICOS by Juan Avella with the support of the Tribeca Film Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


Marc Mounier / Producer

Marc is a Los Angeles based producer whose credits WYRM, FINDING HOME, and GOODBYE BLUE SKY among others. WYRM screened in the narrative shorts competition at Sundance in 2018. The FINDING HOME series screened at top documentary film festivals in the US including the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, DOC:NYC, and earned the production team a Certificate of Recognition from the City of Los Angeles. The series is available on Seed & Spark. GOODBYE BLUE SKY has accrued over 6 million views on Youtube. Marc holds an MFA in Producing from USC’s Peter Stark Program and currently works for one of Hollywood’s major management companies. Prior to this, he was a Production Coordinator for Switzerland’s largest broadcasting network SRF.



Current Team