The First Martian

Oakland, California | Film Short

Sci-Fi, Drama

Dani Milton

1 Campaigns | Missouri, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $28,130 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

122 supporters | followers

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The First Martian is a timely short film which seeks to explore womens' bodily autonomy and reproductive rights, within a futuristic sci-fi setting where the stakes are extremely high.

About The Project

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Mission Statement

As a filmmaker, I center Black women in stories across space and time because, growing up, I never saw myself represented in the genres I love. Our stories deserve to be told, and I'm so excited to bring The First Martian to life!

The Story

In an early Mars colony where pregnancy is banned, an older Black scientist fights efforts to terminate her surprising pregnancy.

Welcome to Mars in 2078, where 200 scientists, astronauts, engineers, and other workers are building a better future for mankind, as part of the Eden Colony. They are a couple of years into a ten year plan to make Mars habitable, which is when children will be allowed. 

Keeping the Colony's progress on track and running in good order is Dr. Martha, who's known as The Administrator.  Mars is still very dangerous, and Dr. Martha is vigilant about eliminating any potential threats to the wellbeing and stability of the Colony.

But Dr. Eva, the scientist who built the Colony's omnipresent artificial intelligence system, TOMI, is carrying a secret and using TOMI to keep the balance of the Colony's power in her hands. Dr. Eva's pregnancy not only threatens to upend the Colony's carefully designed plans, but surfaces questions around choice, freedom, autonomy and trauma.

I wrote The First Martian in 2019, as I was increasingly horrified by the attacks on womens' reproductive rights and bodily autonomy that were intensifying across America. The Texas abortion bounty law came soon after, followed by a wave of heartbeat laws, and now there are proposed death penalties for women who seek medical care to terminate pregnancies:

This is an astonishing and deranged intrusion of government into the lives of women who need reproductive medical care.

As a writer, I wanted to confront these horrors but in a challenging, high-stakes environment where the choices of our lead character, Dr. Eva, pose a real dilemma. Not just for her but for rest of the colony. Either we believe women, and trust and support them to make the best choices for their bodies regardless of what that choice is, and its consequences, or we don't. 

It was really important to me that the lead in this story be a Black woman. First, as a kid, I read a lot of sci-fi and other genres growing up, but never saw Black women or Black girls centered in what I read or watched. To date, I believe Black women have only been centered in major sci-fi films or TV shows a handful of times: Halle Berry in Extant and Moonfall, Storm Reid in A Wrinkle in Time, and Sonequa Martin-Greene in Star Trek Discovery. This must change.

Second, for centuries, Black American women have been denied autonomy over our own bodies. In America's dark past, we were forcibly impregnated and made to have children against our will. Today, we are routinely ignored when voicing concern in medical settings about our health, often leading to dire outcomes, which I have experienced firsthand. Black women have the highest rates of motherhood mortality in America.

Our stories need to be told, and using a genre like sci-fi allows for a fresh, engaging take on this urgent issue.

Pre-production: through June 2023 (casting, location finalization, crew hiring, etc)

Production: July 2023

Post Production: August - December 2023

Festival run: mid-late 2024

The only way we will reach our crowdfunding goal is if we reach beyond our networks. If you’d like to be a part of supporting diverse sci-fi stories, YOU can make the difference in our success! Please share our campaign via your social media, email, word-of-mouth, however you want! Feel free to copy and paste below text:


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Costs $3,175

There's no film without actors!

Camera Department

Costs $9,900

Camera crew and gear

Production Department

Costs $8,475

Production Dept crew

Art Department/VFX

Costs $8,050

Crew and materials costs to depict what life on Mars could look like in 50 years

Hair, Make-up and Wardrobe

Costs $2,700

Character specific needs for life on Mars in the future

Location costs

Costs $2,000

We need a place to shoot the film!


Costs $610

Costs to feed our cast and crew

About This Team

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