Rainbow Girls

San Francisco, California | Film Short

Comedy, Drama

Nana Fobi Duffuor

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

06 days :05 hrs :06 mins

Until Deadline

78 supporters | followers

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$14,400

Goal: $20,000 for production

As San Francisco’s tech boom gentrifies their city, three young trans women of color decide to take matters into their own hands, staging an audacious heist targeting the city’s most exclusive luxury brands.

About The Project

  • The Story
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Mission Statement

Our story centers around the friendship between three bold young women, pushed to society’s margins, who unapologetically push back. In the midst of extreme social stratification, Rainbow Girls invites audiences to consider transgression as a form of resistance, and community as a necessity.

The Story

This is a story inspired by real events. This story is not concerned with respectability politics. If you love the film Set it Off as much as we do, this story is for you! Here goes:


In San Francisco, California, Tati—a shy, self-conscious 19-year-old black trans girl—restocks the shelves at an upscale boutique, where she caters to the city’s hipsters, tourists, and limousine liberals. In burst Angel and Gemini—two unapologetically boisterous and dynamic young trans women who Tati can’t take her eyes off of. When Tati realizes she knows Angel from back in the day, the two exchange numbers, eager to rekindle their friendship.


That is until Tati arrives at work the next day to find out she’s been fired. Turns out, Angel and Gemini shoplifted some high-priced items from the store, and now Tati is to blame. Desperate to keep her job, and too ashamed to tell her boss that she’s been living in a car with her mom, Tati decides to track Angel and Gemini down and return the merchandise they stole.


But a last ditch effort to reclaim the stolen goods becomes Tati’s introduction into the seductive world of petty theft. Now without a job and with little left to lose, Tati decides to team up with Angel and Gemini. Together, they stage a daring robbery of one of the city’s most exclusive luxury brand stores, with Tati as their ringleader.


The Characters


TATI

Tati is a shy, guarded teenager, struggling to survive in a city where her community is rapidly disappearing. When she teams up with Angel and Gemini, Tati finally finds her tribe. She becomes exhilarated by the power that comes from taking up space and taking what she desires without anyone’s permission.


ANGEL

Originally from Tati’s neighborhood, Angel is magnetism personified. She’s found a home among the Tenderloin’s trans community, but her aspirations stretch far beyond it. She gravitates towards the finer things in life because, as she puts it, “I'm tired of waiting on a world that doesn't give a fuck about me for what I want.”


GEMINI

Actually born a scorpio, Gemini is the one brazen enough to stop and charge her cell phone during a heist. She’s an impulsive, self-proclaimed revolutionary who’s convinced that the Rainbow Girls could become “the Black Panthers of stealing shit.”




Director's Statement


From the first time I heard of the Rainbow Girls, I was fascinated. Known for their bright colored hair and brazen tactics, “Rainbow Girls” was the moniker given to a loose band of black trans and cisgender women in their late teens and early twenties, who launched a string of robberies of San Francisco’s most exclusive luxury brand stores in 2013. 


I was living in the Bay Area at the time, when the influx of wealth from the tech industry spurred unprecedented levels of gentrification and displacement of longtime residents. Around that same time, a friend working in retail told me how employees were being trained to deal with these groups of young women swarming high-end stores like Gucci, Prada, and Burberry, then snatching as many items off the shelves as they could get their hands on before bolting.


As a lover of heist films, I imagined a story that centers around the friendship between three charismatic young trans women, pushed to society’s margins, who unapologetically push back by looting luxury items associated with the type of wealth, privilege, and prestige that they are often denied. 


This film will not only serve as Nana & Raman's graduate school thesis project, it will also serve as a proof-of-concept for what will become our very first the feature-length film, centered around the same characters!


Filming the Heist on a Microbudget


To film the heist scenes, we will use naturalistic visual approach with guerilla-style camera techniques. As the action amplifies, we’ll shoot handheld, punctuating shots with energetic, spontaneous camera moves to give the scenes a visceral, improvisational quality that  places audiences  directly inside the chaos. We'll shoot exteriors in wides with natural lighting and minimal crew footprint, while shooting the interiors in tighter frames on a long lens with practical lighting. Locations will serve as characters too, juxtaposing visual symbols of capitalist prosperity with symbols of socioeconomic neglect. 




Your Support


Rather than resort to robbing high-end retailers, we're reaching out to you, or community, to help make this film a reality! We've raised 50% of our budget thus far through grant funding and personal savings. Now, your contributions will help pay for critical components of the film, like location and travel expenses, hiring an incredible cast, art designing the interior of a high-end department store that we can then ransack, renting high-quality equipment and gear, and putting together a fire soundtrack to match the energy and tone of the film!


Our Progress


We are officially in pre-production, preparing for a five-day film shoot in the Bay Area at the end of August. We've brought on an incredibly talented cinematographer, Evan Weidenkeller, are hiring heads of department, and are ready to start casting! This campaign will help us bring on the best cast and crew talent for the short film, and will help us to leverage support for the short film into making the feature!


Our Stretch Goal: $25,000


Any amount raised over our $20,000 fundraising goal will help us meet our stretch goal for the project! This money would be used for production design, crew meals, and post-production services (editing, color correction, sound design, sound mixing, poster and key art design), all of which are essential to realizing our vision for this film. We will complete the film by spring 2025, with a goal to screen at premiere festivals across the U.S. and internationally!


Keep up with all things Rainbow Girls on the GRAM at @rainbowgirlsfilm!


We thank you for your support, and we look forward to sharing this film with you!

Wishlist

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

Location & Travel Expenses

Costs $6,500

From the luxury retailer that the Rainbow Girls rob, to the Google bus that assists their getaway, locations are at the heart of this story!

Props & Wardrobe

Costs $3,600

Rainbow Girls are known for bright colored hair, clothing, and brazen theft of luxury goods! Help us bring the look of this film to life!

Cast

Costs $3,800

We are excited to cast three talented, dynamic trans women of color as our leads, and are committed to fair compensation for all roles.

Equipment

Costs $4,500

Help to ensure we have high-quality camera and lenses, lighting, and sound equipment to give the film a signature, visceral look and feel!

Music Composition & Licensing

Costs $1,600

Every film needs a good soundtrack! This story is begging for a special score and some signature Bay Area slaps underneath the heist scenes!

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

We are building an incredible team with local crew based in the Bay Area, prioritizing diversity and thoughtful representation in front of and behind the camera.



NANA DUFFUOR

Writer & Director

Nana (she/her) is a black queer filmmaker of Ghanaian descent based in New York City. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Screenwriting & Directing from Columbia University. Nana is passionate about telling stories that center characters and communities not often seen on screen. Her work thoughtfully blends  heart and humor to explore themes that lie at the intersection of the personal and political. 


Nana’s work has screened in festivals across the U.S. and abroad, including, the International Queer Women of Color Festival, the Micheaux Film Festival, Black Harvest Film Festival, and the Newark International Film Festival, where her short film CASUAL ENCOUNTER (2021) was awarded Best Actress in a Narrative Short. Her most recent short film CONFIRMATION (2023)—the first-ever Columbia student short produced  in Ghana—premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in the New York African Film Festival and received Honorable Mention at the Academy Award qualifying Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival. 


Nana is a recipient of Columbia’s 2023 Bobby Kashif Cox Memorial Scholarship and the 2022 New York Women in Film & Television Scholarship.



RAMAN NIMMALA

Producer

Raman (he/him) is a producer, writer, and director of Indian descent based in New York City. As a producer, Raman combines analytical skills from his background in mathematical finance with his passion for storytelling. He is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Producing at Columbia University, where he has successfully produced four short films, including two international productions in India, in addition to writing and directing. Ultimately, Raman endeavors to tell intersectional stories that center memorable characters in unique, specific worlds, and have the power to push audiences’ perspectives past the boundaries of their own experiences.


NAVA MAU

Executive Producer

Nava Mau is a filmmaker, actress, and cultural worker from Mexico City and San Antonio, Texas. Nava wrote, produced, directed, and starred in WAKING HOUR (2019),  a short film that screened in festivals around the world and won the NewFest Audience Award. She was a Production Fellow for the Netflix documentary DISCLOSURE (Sundance 2020), and worked as a producer on the short film WORK (Sundance, Tribeca 2022). She has also appeared as a series regular in the HBO Max series GENERATION (2021) and the Netflix limited series BABY REINDEER (2024).


For eight years, Nava worked in the fields of healing justice and culture change with community-based service providers, student organizations, and survivors of violence. She first worked with immigrant survivors as a legal assistant, and then as a peer counselor and advocate for LGBTQ survivors of violence. Nava's work has been recognized by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Mexican-American Cultural Education Foundation, and the Critics Choice Association.

NURIE MOHAMED

Co-Producer

Born and raised in Oakland, California,  Nurie (she/they) is a dynamic filmmaker whose work reflects the city's vibrant culture. Inspired by the community around her, Nurie is dedicated to illuminating untold stories and amplifying voices through the transformative power of cinema. With experience directing impactful short films and contributing to projects as a producer, director, editor and cinematographer, Nurie brings a blend of storytelling and visual expertise to every endeavor. Outside of film, she has also made contributions in the tech and journalism sectors, leveraging her creative skills in innovative ways working at WIRED and Datastax. As the founder of her own boutique production company, NKALIMO, she has worked with companies such as Meta, Kronos Quartet, Confluent, Black Girls Code and Startree.



JACKSON GRAVAGNO

Co-Producer

Jackson Gravagno (any/all) is an assistant director and producer working in the San Francisco Bay Area. A San Francisco State University alum, he works to combine his two majors and passions, Political Science and Cinema, in the film projects he works on. The work that they're most passionate about is insightful and thoughtfully constructed while maintaining a distinct sense of personality and place. When he isn't working to facilitate conscientious media, he spends his time reading with their cat, playing soccer, and snowboarding.




SOWJANYA KUDVA

Editor

Sowjanya (they/them) has worked as a filmmaker for 20+ years, specializing in producing and editing across a variety of media. Their work has screened nationally and internationally at festivals, conferences, and major media outlets. In their current role as an assistant professor of Cinema & Television Arts at Elon University, Sowjanya focuses their scholarship on production studies, media literacy, and the political economy of communications. Their award-winning essay, "Neoliberalism & Disclosure’s New Trans Activism: The Politics of Discrimination and How to Fight It," was recently published by the Journal of Film and Video (University of Illinois Press, Winter 2023). Their most recent narrative short film (in)convenience (Alexandra Greenspan, 2023) is on the festival circuit—has currently screened at 20 festivals and won 4 awards.




EVAN WEIDENKELLER

Cinematographer


Evan (he/him) is an esteemed award-winning cinematographer. Evan's passion for capturing stunning visuals is evident through his extensive training, having studied Cinematography at San Francisco State University and obtaining his MFA in Cinematography from the distinguished American Film Institute Conservatory. His impressive body of work has been recognized and exhibited at some of the most prestigious film festivals worldwide, including Cannes, Palm Springs International, and TIFF. Evan's exceptional creative collaboration and ability to use light sensitively have made him a renowned figure in the industry, skillfully bringing a director's vision to life in a variety of commercial, documentary, and narrative works. 


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