SENSES

Silver Spring, Maryland | Film Short

Horror, Thriller

Alyscia Cunningham

2 Campaigns | Maryland, United States

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This campaign raised $9,000 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

96 supporters | followers

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After a horrific encounter with a stranger appearing to be friendly, two friends, one blind and other deaf, use their senses to defend themselves from a robbery gone wrong. The lesson is a theme in the film... things aren't always what they seem.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

The foundation of my art stem from my upbringing as a first-generation, Caribbean American. It was evident I didn’t match the media’s standards of beauty. And because my mother is disabled, accessibility was mandatory. Along with SENSES, my creative endeavors encompass all elements of my experience.

The Story

SENSES is part of Women in Film & Video's Let's Make a Short Film Project, also the fiscal sponsor for this project. Tax-deductible donations can be made via WIFV's website: https://www.wifv.org/ donations/#id=21591&cid=783& wid=4201

 

As a Black female Screenwriter and Director of documentary and narrative film, my lived experiences have shown me that authenticity is and always will be paramount in the creation of my art. SENSES is a product of that.

Most often there isn't an authentic representation of disabled actors in film and BIPOC actors typically get stereotypical roles. Also, women of color are severely underrepresented in front of and behind the lens, particularly in the horror-thriller genre. Usually, actors who are hired to play the role of someone who is disabled are the main targets. If they are women, they are damsels in distress. Although it was challenging to find the actresses for my film, I was adamant about having an authentic representation of blind and deaf actresses to portray Marguerite and Deepa, also BIPOC women.

By supporting my film, you’re supporting an independent project written, directed, and acted by those underrepresented in the film industry - Women of Color. And you’re helping to bring authentic representation to the screen.

 

Statistics show, 13.8% of adults aged 18 and over have difficulty hearing, 16.6% have difficulty seeing, and 10.2% have difficulty or cannot do at all in at least one domain of functioning (seeing, hearing, mobility, communication, cognition, self-care). If art isn’t made accessible, not only are decision makers behind the films discriminating but they are leaving out a large population of an audience that can be included if accessibility was considered.

As I’ve done with all of my films, SENSES will be accessible for audiences with the inclusion of Audio Description (AD) for blind and low vision viewers and Closed Captioning (CC) for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Audio description (AD) - Audio description, also referred to as a video description, described video, or more precisely called a visual description, is a form of narration used to provide information surrounding key visual elements in a media work for the benefit of blind and visually impaired consumers.

Closed Captioning (CC) - Closed captioning displays the audio portion of a television program as text on the TV screen, providing a critical link to news, entertainment and information for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

 

SENSES is about two friends, Marguerite (blind) and Deepa (deaf) who fight for their lives after a robbery gone wrong. When a violent attack leaves them in danger, they must use their different skills to save themselves. The film portrays two women whose disabilities are not in-abilities.


The inciting incident stems from Susan’s response (the mutual friend) to the presence of a Black man approaching them. In turn, the person who Susan welcomes, a White man, happens to be the robber. The lesson is a theme in the film; things aren’t always what they seem. That can be reflective of one’s thoughts on abilities and race.

 

SENSES draws from the social commentary from films such as Get Out (2017) along with the visuals of Don’t Breathe (2016). The rich skin tones will be color graded to be reflective of each character's actual hue. Deep warm autumn colors of orange, red, and brown will permeate the set design. Viewers will then be transported to the dramatic shadows that drape the faces of our characters with a two-tone contrast lighting.

At times, silhouettes will be seen in disturbing close-ups, images of the robber will reflect the different perspectives of the film's protagonists, as will the careful use of sound and light (or lack thereof) throughout the film.

It will have a runtime of 10-12 minutes and will be filmed in Maryland, where I currently reside.

 

 

 

We understand everyone may not be in a position to provide financial support. That said, here's other ways to support!

Instagram:

@SensesFilm

@alysciacunningham

 

Facebook:

@AlysciaCunningham

 

Not sure what to say when you share? Feel free to copy and paste the below: 

I'm so excited for the upcoming DC metro based indie short SENSES @sensesfilm written and directed by @alysciacunningham. Check it out and support the project here: www.seedandspark.com/fund/senses

 

Looking to support local independent film by a Black Female Director? Check out @sensesfilm, a horror-thriller short written and directed by @alysciacunningham, featuring authentic representation of deaf and a blind actresses. Support the campaign here: www.seedandspark.com/fund/senses

 

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT! 

 

Wishlist

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

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Crafty (food)

Costs $720

We're lucky to have lunch and snack donations, but need $15/day to serve dinner to 16 cast/crew!

Filming Location

Costs $700

Can we use your home/rental property to film?

Production Insurance

Costs $1,500

We can't get away with not having insurance. Can you help us out?

Actors

Costs $2,700

Our amazing actors must be paid!

ASL interpreter

Costs $600

An ASL interpreter is needed on set.

Accessibility Consultant

Costs $330

We need to make sure we're heading in the right direction.

Director of Photography (DP)

Costs $1,500

We need a DP to execute our vision.

Gaffer

Costs $1,200

The set must be lit!

Sound Mixer

Costs $750

Let there be sound.

About This Team

ALYSCIA CUNNINGHAM (Writer|Director) an award-winning author, filmmaker, photographer, and tactile artist who has contributed to the Smithsonian, National Geographic, Discovery Channel and AOL. After the success of her first book, FEMININE TRANSITIONS, a photography book with portraits of raw feminine beauty, Cunningham produced, I AM MORE THAN MY HAIR, a  documentary film and photo book. It includes interviews of women who've experienced hair loss due to a health-related condition and their journey of self-empowerment to see beauty beyond the media’s standards. With the completion and direction provided through the Horror/Psychological Thriller workshop with Sundance Institute and Women of Color Filmmakers Film Lab, Alyscia wrote and directed the horror films ANNEXATION and DOUEN.

Alyscia is the Founder of Her House Media a media company that produces documentary and horror films by and about women of color, the Founder of Brown Women In The Arts, a supportive group for creative BIPOC women working in the arts industry, and co-organizer of Reel Moms, a supportive community for working moms and caregivers in the film and TV industry, in partnership with Women in Film & Video. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Fox 5, ABC 7, among others.

 

 

BRITT MORTON (Assistant Director) 

Britt Morton is the Assistant Production Manager for Video Action Inc, a production company who primarily focuses on social justice issues in the form of documentary-style filmmaking. With a background in production and screenwriting Britt will be a part of the SENSES team as the Assistant Director. 

Learn more and connect with Britt on IG - @yoo_brittan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

              AWUNGJIA (Gia) FORETIA (Producer)

Gia Foretia is a Producer for the short film, SENSES. Originally from Cameroon, Gia is a proud member of Women In Film & Video, and an up-and-coming filmmaker/actress in the DC Metro area. She’s also putting her first short film, Blind Justice, into production in 2022. Gia is known for multiple roles such as the supporting actress in the short film, Douen, an official selection in the 2022 San Diego Black Film Festival. Secondly, for her production assistance in the telecommunications transformation documentary, When Wire Was King, which details the AT&T Monopoly. In her spare time, Gia loves to write on her blog, read fantasy, dystopian, and romance novels, have fun time with friends, and solo-travel. Gia is thankful for her family and all those involved in Senses for their love and support. 

Learn more and connect with Gia on IG - @thereelgia

 

 

 

 

 

 

MADELEINE BECKER (Producer)

Madeleine Becker is an emerging filmmaker from the San Francisco Bay Area. After graduating from Brown University in 2019 with degrees in Film and Computer Science, she worked as a Production Assistant for Los Angeles-based production company, Delirio Films, doing script coverage and archival research for documentary and fiction projects. One of the series she worked on, “The Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life,” is now streaming on Netflix. Since then, she has produced and assistant-directed multiple narrative shorts. She is fascinated by horror’s ability to dislocate us from reality through the frightening and the grotesque at the same time as it reveals intimate truths about it. 

Madeleine is currently based in Washington, DC, where she splits her time between software engineering and developing a handful of film projects as a producer, director, and cinematographer. Her most recent project is an experimental documentary that explores radical forms of existence in the rapidly changing economic and social landscape of the nation’s capital.

Learn more and connect with Maddie on IG - @baddiemeck

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