The Mouse and The Lion

New York City, New York | Film Short

Drama, Romance

Lain Kienzle

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

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This campaign raised $13,305 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

104 supporters | followers

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Our story takes place in the winter of 1920 as a blizzard strikes and Mildred’s husband falls terribly ill. That same night, Mildred finds George, a World War I veteran, collapsed on her doorstep. As he regains his strength, their growing bond unearths secrets each would rather keep hidden.

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About The Project

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Mission Statement

By women, about women and for women, our film is helmed by a majority female creative team. We want to tell this story about the effects of domestic violence through a team that understands the complexities of a woman's experience.

The Story



The Mouse and the Lion is fiscally sponsored by Cinefemme, a 501(c)3 organization. All contributions of $200 or more are tax deductible.







Mildred always did what was expected of her: find a man, settle down, and carry out chores on the family farm. As a woman in the early twentieth century, she did little to disturb the traditions of the time. She worked hard, said little, and suffered for years at the hands of her controlling, abusive husband.


Our story takes place in the winter of 1920 as a brutal blizzard strikes and Mildred’s husband falls terribly ill. That same night, Mildred finds George, a World War I veteran, collapsed on her doorstep. As he regains his strength, their growing bond unearths secrets each would rather keep hidden. They find common ground in each other’s pain. But they know they must part ways.






As a one act play, this story was selected to be performed at the following competitive festivals:


  • Midtown International Theatre Festival
  • Manhattan Repertory One Act Festival
  • Strawberry One Act Festival


At each of the above, the short competed against Emmy-winning actors, directors and producers with decades of experience, and productions with large fan bases. At the Strawberry One Act Festival, Lain was nominated for Best Director along with Oscar-winning and Emmy-nominated directors over twice her age.


  • The screenplay has received the following recognition:
  • Denver Film Festival - 2nd Runner Up
  • Omaha Film Festival - Finalist
  • Sacramento International Film Festival - Finalist
  • Fusion Film Festival - Finalist
  • Nashville Film Festival - Semi-finalist
  • WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Competition - Semi-Finalist
  • Cinequest Screenplay Competition - Quarter-Finalist


At the Denver Film Festival, the short screenplay competed with hundreds of other short scripts. Lain was the youngest finalist at the competition by over a decade.






I come from a long line of steely, southern women, and I can proudly say that some of the stereotypes are true. In our family, feeding houseguests is not optional, polite conversation is the only conversation, and my Grammy’s motto was ‘fat is what The Good Lord put in food to make it taste good.’


But this means that some of the uglier stereotypes are true of my family as well. And the most persistent seems to be that sometimes the man who’s supposed to love you turns out to be a man who harms you, deeply, constantly, almost irreparably. So many of the women in my family have a story that starts with love and ends with abuse. And we’re not the only ones; these stories belong to one in three women who suffer intimate partner violence.


Too frequently, Hollywood presents domestic violence as a terrible tragedy that ends when ‘I packed my bags and left him.’ But the stories my family tells start after that, when the real work begins. Moving forward requires immense strength, hard work, and the right people to support you.


This film is about the first step towards healing. It’s about making the choice to let someone in. It’s about acknowledging hurt in another person and saying, “That’s okay. I understand. And that’s not all you are.” That simple moment of recognition and acceptance and kindness can literally be life-altering. So many people have experienced some kind of trauma that makes it hard to function or to cope. And the whole point of this film is to tell those people, “I believe you. You deserve to feel normal. You deserve to be loved, even if you’ve been told over and over again that you don’t deserve it.”






Mildred's world is real, gritty, dirty and worn-in. Her farmhouse has seen better days and is as worn down by the sun, wind and time as she is. We plan to use light and shadow to immerse the audience in her emotional world, letting her drift in and out of shadows and light created by what was readily available in a farmhouse in the 1920s: candles and gas lamps.



We also want to use the visual coldness of snow in our daytime scenes, bathing Mildred in pale, bright light. Our goal is make our audiences feel Mildred's anxiety, fear, loneliness and exhaustion along with her. We've been working hard to develop an observational style for the film, as if the viewer is a guest in the farmhouse, overseeing and overhearing all that happens.




As you can see from the acclaim the script has received, this story resonates with both coastal metropolitan audiences and heartland audiences. This story is by women, about women and for women. But ultimately, we hope to include men in the conversation, too, because the topics of domestic violence and understanding trauma are universal. They require everyone to come to the table. And so our characters depict women and men as real people with real struggles.



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

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $1,400

Someone has to keep things running smoothly behind the scenes, and that's where production comes in.

Paying Our Crew

Costs $3,600

Our crew is working for reduced rates because they love this story, but they're still professionals.


Costs $1,300

We want a rich, cinematic look for our film that can't be achieved on just any camera.

Lighting Equipment

Costs $1,300

Shooting at night requires a top of the line lighting package.

Mildred & George

Costs $800

Talented actors will help bring these complex characters to life.

Production Design

Costs $1,000

Making the world real starts here. Someone's gotta pay for all the peaches and biscuits.

The Farmhouse

Costs $1,650

Finding a farmhouse that will let us take over for a few days is crucial.


Costs $1,450

Our hardworking crew needs a place to sleep while we film out in the country.

Meals and Crafty

Costs $1,000

A fed crew is a happy crew.

Vehicles and Transportation

Costs $1,500

We have to get all our crew, cast and equipment out to the country.

About This Team



Lain comes from a long line of tough southern women but grew up across the Midwest and East Coast, visiting friends’ farms with her Aunt Betty, baking with her mom, and constantly adding new pets she found to the family.

Lain’s filmmaking career began early, with a number of her student films winning awards at the Chicagoland High School Film Festival, the Chicago 48 Hour Film Festival, and NYU’s New Visions and Voices Festival. Her most recent short, The Nappers, for which she took a New York-based cast and crew to Illinois, as well as wrangled a 300lb alligator and a 9 foot long boa constrictor, was an official selection at the Garden State Film Festival, Windy City Film Festival, Prairie State Film Festival, and NYU’s New Visions and Voices Festival.

Since receiving her BFA with Honors in Film and TV Production from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Lain has worked all over the film and TV production world, holding the titles of Production Coordinator, Editor, Script Supervisor and more at companies including BBC Worldwide and on TV shows including Quantico, The Blacklist and 30 Rock.





Sophia is a New York-based producer from Lyme, CT. She graduated with Honors from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she majored in Film & Television Production.

When she’s not producing her own projects, Sophia works as a producer’s assistant to Mike S. Ryan of Greyshack Films (Palindromes, Meek’s Cutoff, Junebug). Before that, Sophia was the Manager of Creative Production at GKIDS, an internationally acclaimed art house distribution company that has 9 Academy Award nominations in the Animated Feature category, second only to Disney. In her time at GKIDS, Sophia oversaw creative production on four Oscar-nominated films. Of those, she produced and directed several English dubs with high-level talent including Susan Sarandon, JK Simmons, Jared Padalecki, Paul Giamatti, and Fred Armisen.

Sophia was also assistant to Steven Shainberg, director of Secretary (starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader) as well as a writer’s assistant to Daphne Merkin—a widely published writer and former film critic for The New Yorker. In her free time, Sophia is a regular contributor to No Film School.





Jacob is a producer hailing from rural Connecticut. He began making films at 10 years old, starting out with Lego animations. He’s an Honors graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he received his BFA in Film & Television with a minor in Political Science. His career has taken him all over the world and through a variety of departments.

Jacob began in lighting, working for Local 52 on feature and television projects including The Good Wife and Elementary. He quickly advanced in the department, subsequently serving as gaffer for companies like D’addario, Stella Artois, and FlyBlade.
After entering production, he tackled films in Costa Rica, Cameroon, and all over the United States. He acted as First AD for a variety of web series’, shorts, and indie feature films. His commercial production credits include PepsiCo, GSK, and Dannon. Today, Jacob focuses on independent feature film, lending his skills and experience to getting difficult stories told. Buckets, a short film produced with partner Sophia Harvey, premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.




Cory grew up with the rural backdrop of Charlottesville, Virginia, and is excited to bring his southern sensibilities and love for rural landscapes to the screen. With a BFA from the Tisch School of the Arts, as well as training from Schumacher Camera and Essanay Lighting Studio, two notable rental houses in the Chicagoland area, Cory has applied his eye for aesthetics to numerous award-winning works featured in such festivals as Sundance, Tribeca, and New York Television. Most recently, his feature film How To Tell You’re A Douchebag was released and broadcast via BET Networks. Another recent feature, Christmas All Over Again, was distributed by Lionsgate Studios.

Cory was also 1st Assistant Camera for The Eyes of My Mother, which saw success in 2016, including acquisition by Magnolia Picture’s foreign language department, and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Cinematography. He has also worked for such major companies and talents as Mastercard, Office Depot, Chipotle, Forevermark Diamonds, USGA &, Ricola, Epicurious, Above Average and Wyclef Jean.




Lauren is an award-winning production designer from San Jose, California, currently based in Brooklyn. She received her BFA in Film and TV Production from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, with minors in Child Psychology and Entertainment Business. Between her work in commercial and narrative filmmaking, she’s honed her ability to explore thematic storytelling while simultaneously overseeing the practicalities of the art department.

Her own shorts have gained notoriety, winning her Best Director at the LEMA Festival. Lauren’s eye for realistic and striking production design has led her to helm the art department on over a dozen shorts, and landed her work with ABC Studios, BBC Worldwide, and on the Holly Hunter film, Breakable You. She loves solving difficult problems, even if it means hand-dying dirt in order to create the perfect red soil for an authentic Oklahoman sod house set. In her free time Lauren applies her skills to cosplay; the practice of creating realistic costumes and props in order to dress up as a favorite character. Her proudest cosplay achievement is creating a viral sensation out of her little brother when she transformed him into a comic-accurate “Robin.”

Current Team