The Gift

San Francisco, California | Film Short

Fantasy, Drama

The Gift Team

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $15,780 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

110 supporters | followers

Enter the amount you would like to pledge


This film, spearheaded by women of diversity and talent, highlights an important issue faced by young people in today's society. We want to tell this story in a visually unique way, with a magical kind of realism - a grown-up fairy tale.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

The creators of this film, all women, come from three very different places in the world, but share the same vision and goal. We are committed to supporting our fellow female filmmakers, and to telling stories of all kinds from a female perspective.

The Story


The Story


The Gift offers the audience an escape into a dark and strangely beautiful setting, where our protaganist Iris develops a friendship with a crow, who takes on a semi-human form everytime she visits. Iris' daily visits to the Crow offer her a sense of comfort and respite from her lonely and isolated world. She happily feeds her new friend everyday and, in exchange, it warmly presents her with gifts, until an upsetting encounter with bullies pushes Iris to her limit. 



The Filmmakers


Since meeting in film school, the three of us have admired and supported each other's work. Upon graduation, we were eager to combine our strengths as filmmakers to collaborate on a story which is both emotionally complex and visually stunning. Our film is unique not only for being spearheaded by three women, but for the different perspectives that each of us bring, having grown up in different parts of the world (England, America and Singapore).



The Goal


Beyond the issues of mental health and bullying highlighted in this film, we, as writers, want to challenge our audience's assumptions. We aim to take the viewer on a captivating visual journey through the eyes of a child. Our story blends drama and realism with fantasy, a combination that might not be expected from female filmmakers. We want to prove to audiences that women are more than capable in dealing with genres of all kinds. 


 Photo by Laura Makabresku


The Cast and Characters                                                                                   

Cassandra Lyback as Iris

Cassandra Lyback, a trained actress and dancer, will embody the character of Iris, the 13 year old girl with uncommonly large ears, who is tormented by bullies at her school. The only time she feels truly happy is when she is roaming the forests that surround her home, and when she spends time with her friend the Crow.

Cassandra's IMDB Page


Sierra Murphy as the Hybrid

Sierra Murphy is another talented young actress whose years of dance training will help her embody the character of the Crow in its semi-human form. Iris' visits to the Hybrid are the highlight of its day, which it shows through the thoughtful - though often unusual - trinkets it presents to her. 

Sierra's Instagram Page


 Drake as the Crow

For the parts of the film when Iris' friend takes its bird form, we have beautiful animal talent Drake! Our initial call for a crow changed when we met Drake, a raven. He has the happiest skip every time you call out his name and he LOVES blueberries.


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

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Lighting and Grip

Costs $3,400

Lighting will play an important role in our dark and ominous film, and we need the proper equipment!

Makeup and Wardrobe

Costs $3,000

For our audience to escape into our world, we need our specialists to be able to do their magic.

Actors and Animal Talent

Costs $3,220

Child and animal talent on set can get pricey for legal reasons, and we would love your support.

Set and Lodging Location

Costs $3,130

Our film is dependent on a vintage essence & woodland landscape, as well as proper accommodations.

Crew & Craft Services

Costs $2,250

We are pulling many strings to make this happen, but some work must be compensated for.

About This Team



Jacintha Charles is a San Francisco-based director, writer and actor, originally from Singapore. She has made several short films, including The Dance (2013) and Dream Box (2008), both of which were awarded grants by the Singapore Film Commission in Singapore. Her films have played at the Singapore International Film Festival (Shorts Section), Women and Minorities in Media Film Festival in Maryland and have been awarded an Award of Merit for women filmmakers from the Best Shorts Competition.


With a wealth of film and television experience already under her belt, she went to the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking in 2015, in order to improve on her understanding of the technical aspects of filmmaking. Since moving to San Francisco, she has been encouraged, challenged, humbled, questioned, embarrassed, praised, criticized and accepted by her peers and the local film community. She believes that all these factors only help her grow as a filmmaker.




Kendra Goff is a Northern Californian Filmmaker, currently living in Santa Cruz county. Her first short film, The Cardboard Escape was officially selected in the Petaluma International Film Festival in 2014. Since then Kendra has continued to produce, shoot and direct both narrative works and documentaries, as well as commercials/PSAs, music videos and wedding videography.


Kendra graduated from the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking in 2016, and continues to work on passion projects and freelance work, whilst digging her roots in Northern Calilfornia.




Emma Scully is a British filmmaker, currently based in San Francisco. She has worked as production designer on several short films, as well as writing and directing her own. 


She has a degree in Film Studies and French from the Univeristy of Nottingham, and recently graduated from the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking.




Lisa Yadao is a writer, producer and director based in San Francisco. She manages business affairs for the video team at Square and previously handled media fund contracts for the Center for Asian American Media. Her credits include short films, web series and commercials for Scary Cow Productions, Hypno Bedhead, Lipshtick Pictures, FWD Stance and Square.


In 2017, Lisa co-founded Paper Tongue Productions with her twin sister, Irene, and BAVC classmate Michelle Sampior. Based in California and Maine, Paper Tongue is currently developing a short narrative about depression and anxiety.




Miikka is a Photopgrapher who contibutes to Getty Images as well as a Producer. His photographs have been featured in publications such as Rolling Stone, USA Today, Chicago Times, Cineplex while he has produced films such as "Betrayed", "The Night Shift" and the award winning "The Dance".


He will also serve as our official photographer for the Thematic Shots offered in some of the incentives.




Tina D’Elia Bay Area Casting Director, Acting Teacher, Actor, and Performance Coach. Tina has cast both feature and short films, videos, and industrials in the Bay Area since 2009. She also works as a Casting Associate for Nina Henninger Casting, CSA, casting numerous Films/TV Shows/and commercial projects. Tina has received awards for diverse casting and executive producing by the Equality International Film Festival, that recently nominated Tina for her acting. Tina teaches acting on-camera in the Bay Area and recently presented on panels for The Actor’s Conference in May 2017.




Harly Crandall is a dedicated and highly skilled multi-tasker in the world of production. His work has been featured in countless of commercials, feature films, corporate videos and short films including the award-winning The Dance. 


He is a graduate of the San Francisco School of Digital filmmaking and has since been invited back to serve as a technical instructor for the school on occassions.


He joins us as our Assistant Director for this film.



Current Team