Princess

Dallas, Texas | Film Short

Horror, Drama

Princess Short Film

1 Campaigns | Texas, United States

03 days :11 hrs :58 mins

Until Deadline

163 supporters | followers

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$14,360

Goal: $20,000 for production

A reclusive 33-year-old must confront her assaulter at a festival, triggering a cascade of violent hallucinations. The film delves into the silent struggle of eldest children, burdened by the expectation of perfection as they silently bear trauma to shield their families.

About The Project

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Mission Statement

The team behind Princess is committed to creating nuanced film depictions of trauma and healing in Black and Brown communities. As a Nigerian American filmmaker and former mental healthcare professional, Chukwu pushes back against the myth that people of the Black diaspora are anti-mental health.

The Story


Princess is a story that pushes back against the anti-mental health myth surrounding the Black diaspora by focusing on a niche community (Nigerian Americans in Dallas, TX) and a niche perspective (that of a Nigerian American woman, eldest daughter, and sexual assault survivor). In the film, our main character, Princess, finds herself at a crossroads between maintaining cultural expectations and confronting the truth of her assault.

Forced by her mother to attend the annual Iri ji Mbaise festival, Princess’s mental health reaches a horrific breaking point when she runs into her assaulter, who belongs to the same Nigerian social group as her family. Princess fears the social suicide of admitting her connection to her assaulter, and in the process of staying silent, she exacerbates her post-traumatic dissociative symptoms.


Aside from the ever-evolving #MeToo Movement and the success of HBO’s I May Destroy You, the entertainment industry still has a long way to go in terms of female-led stories centered around Black women and their experiences. Like Michaela Cole’s character in this show, Princess belongs to a West African family. However, what HBO’s hit doesn’t show, is the level of cultural expectation placed on femme children of African immigrants.


According to the Pew Research Center, nearly half (45%) of the United States’s immigrants live in just three states: California (24%), Texas (11%) and Florida (10%). 


That said, since 2016, distrust between America and its foreign allies has continued to grow, and now, more than ever, it’s necessary to highlight the voices of those who are adding to the U.S. economy but feel neglected by the country’s treatment of immigrants.

When I came up with the concept for FOREVERLAND, the series that my short film Princess is based on, I was contemplating my own role as an older daughter in a strict Nigerian family. At the time, my career and romantic life were viewed as unusual, so I was constantly in fear of what would happen if I did or said something so egregious that my parents decided to disown me.


By trapping Princess in the psychological chains of her trauma – which is connected to an act (sex) that is deemed morally wrong in Nigerian communities – I explore what it means to externalize shame. What does shame look like? How does it feel? What does it look like when we allow ourselves to succumb to it?


I use I May Destroy You as one of my tonal comps because it is a show that, in its subject matter, explores both sexual assault and art – Princess draws and imagines worlds instead of living in them – and familial drama as a means for communicating the main character’s barrier to individual liberation.


I love playing with veiling as a cinematic tool because it is the exact antithesis of bringing characters to the forefront of the frame. Instead, Princess is constantly hiding and being hidden in her real world, creating a feeling of disconnection and uncertainty between her and the audience.


I also grew up in a very populated, vibrant Nigerian community, so it’s important to me that the scenes in this film are constantly “full,” but Princess is isolated from that fullness…partly because she feels wronged by her community, which has allowed the man of her nightmares to exist.



In addition to I May Destroy You, this film is inspired by films like His House, Us, and Get Out. While this is a horror, I envision plenty of warm/tungsten lighting to tether us to reality. This isn’t a “cold” film. It is one that I want people to associate with real life, and in real-life Nigerian communities, there’s a lot of color and life amongst the hidden evils.


-Bev Chukwu, Writer/Director of Princess




Wishlist

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Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Craft Services

Costs $4,000

Help feed our cast & crew!

Travel & Accomodations

Costs $4,000

Help cover the cost of travel and housing for our 4 day shoot in Dallas, TX.

Wardrobe Design

Costs $2,000

The costuming in "Princess" is an integral part of the project - which is why we've gathered brilliant minds to bring this world to life.

Set Design

Costs $1,500

Help us create the imagined Nigerian forest landscape, the terrifying world of Nam, and an authentic Iri Ji Festival!

Cast

Costs $2,500

Paying our cast is an absolute must - pitch in to help pay our talented actors. l

Equipment Rentals

Costs $3,000

Help cover the cost of a grip truck, generator, and camera and lighting equipment.

Crew Specialists

Costs $3,000

We are committed to paying our crew a fair wage for their work on this film. Help us provide excellent resources and pay to our team!

About This Team



BEV CHUKWU - WRITER/DIRECTOR

Beverly “Bev” Chukwu is a Nigerian American writer, director, and script consultant. Her projects have been showcased at the Women in Horror Film Festival, Cine Las Americas, AGLIFF,  and her feature, “PRINCE OF LAVENDALE STREET,” won the 2021 BlueCat Screenplay Competition. With over seven years in various mental health arenas and almost a year providing behavior therapy to neurodivergent youth and adults, Bev has earned fellowships from the Black List x WIF Episodic Lab, Google’s YouTube Originals Black Voices Creator Program, and the James A. Michener Center for Writers, where she earned an MFA in screenwriting and fiction.



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KARISSA LEICHT - DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Karissa Leicht studied cinematography, digital media, and art history at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX. Karissa is a Film Independent's Project Involve 2024 Fellow and has worked on commercial projects for A&E Network, Vogue Magazine, Bud Light, and Mary Kay, and DP’d on Brina Palencia’s narrative short MRS. ANDERSON, and Brock Cravy’s film INNOCENT BOY. 



MARYAN NAGY CAPTAN - PRODUCER

Maryan Nagy Captan is a Coptic Egyptian American educator, producer, screenwriter, and award-winning poet from Philadelphia.  She is an alumnus of the Disquiet International Literary Program and a graduate of the James A. Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin, where she studied screenwriting and poetry. She lives in Austin with her partner and 1-year-old daughter and works in Artist Development at Austin Film Society.



LIZETTE BARRERA - LINE PRODUCER

Lizette Barrera is a filmmaker whose films have played at festivals and networks worldwide, including her HBO previously licensed short films MOSCA (FLY) and ¡CÓME!, ESPN licensed short documentary film MR. PASTOR JONES, and her short film CHICLE (GUM), which premiered at SXSW.



TOM SANTOS - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Tom Santos is a freelance Assistant Director and Writer based in Austin, TX. In addition to his MFA in Screenwriting from UT Austin, as well as stints at the Austin Film Society and Richard Linklater’s Detour Filmproduction, he has worked behind the camera for CNN, TLC, ABC News, ESPN, PBS Frontline — as well as multiple shorts, documentaries, commercials, and a feature film. He is also a longtime sommelier, and you can occasionally find him pouring wine behind a well-loved bar somewhere.



MAXIMO CONTRERAS - GAFFER

Maximo Contreras is a camera operator, lighting expert, and editor based out of Dallas.



DARIAN YOUNCE - PRODUCTION DESIGN

Darian Younce is a Dallas-based wardrobe stylist and creative director. Her expertise is 70's or retro style fashion along with film wardrobe and set design. 



CHRISTIANA TAN - COSTUME & PROP MANAGER

Christiana “Chris” Tan is a writer and mixed-media artist based out of Austin, TX.



 

UBONG DANIEL - COSTUME DESIGN

Ubong Daniel is the founder of CHIEF, a "fluid lifestyle" apparel brand making garments that paint a provocative spin to the minimal commoner. Each with its own unique identity, the Chief brand is fueled by the passion, admiration, and creativity of fashion and the drive to dress customers in a hedonic,

cultural, and contemporary way.



SAM BURGER - PROP CONSTRUCTION

Sam Burger is a writer, photographer and filmmaker based out of Denver, CO.


MADELEINE ROSE- MAKE-UP/SFX

Madeleine Rose Louis is a licensed esthetician who went on to study makeup at Make Up For Ever Academy in Paris. With ten years of experience in the beauty industry, she has honed her skills to specialize in film makeup and special effects. She was awarded a Sergeant’s award from Prison City Film Festival for her special effects makeup work on Anthony Milton and Joe Bannister’s short film, Mystery Murder.




ALEKKA HERNANDEZ - SOCIAL MEDIA AND FUNDRAISING MANAGER

Alekka Hernandez is a multi-medium artist in filmmaking and studio art based out of Austin, TX.



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