Weapons and Their Names

New York City, New York | Film Short


Melina Valdez

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $14,048 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

159 supporters | followers

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Unable to contend with the loss of her stepfather, a naive teenage girl named Luciana skips school with her best friend to shoot guns in rural Florida. When things don’t go as expected, Luciana is forced to confront her relationships and the world around her.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

"Weapons and Their Names" explores the complicated nuances of rural America through the perspective of a teenage immigrant girl who is unable to properly cope with feelings of grief. Our team aims to give a platform to untold stories that spark conversations about contemporary culture.

The Story

Weapons and Their Names is a coming of age story about a teenage immigrant named Luciana, who lives in rural Florida. After the death of her American stepfather, she struggles to connect with her grieving mother, younger half-brother and is unable to confront her own feelings of grief. 

To distract herself from everything at home, Luciana skips school with her best friend Mickey to go shoot guns in the woods. It's the culture they both grew up with and they've always wanted to go shooting without any adults around.

This is when Luciana meets Bryce, Mickey's new self-proclaimed 'redneck' boyfriend. As the three try to enjoy a fun day of teenage antics, tensions start to grow and an unexpected moment forces Luciana to question her relationships and the world around her.

Why This Story?

Luciana was taught by her step-father to shoot guns. Part of the conversation I want to have revolves around seeing a young Latina use guns with ease, and how her white friends who grew up in the rural South perceive that. Is it a threat when an 'outsider' is an expert at something that feels unique to your world? Or is it something to celebrate? I don't believe this short has an answer, but it offers a moment of insight.

Besides the conversation about guns, I also want to explore what a modern day family looks like. I'm putting a magnifying glass on a family we aren't used to seeing in films. As an immigrant whose extensive family remains in South America, the lack of access to them for holidays, birthdays, and funerals deeply affects your sense of family. When tragedy strikes and your support system is limited, how does that affect your way of coping? Does it bring you closer to your immediate family or pull you away?

The highly divisive political climate in America made me think of my own experiences as a Latina immigrant when I lived in Florida. There were moments that felt surreal, completely unexplainable, at least by words. It was a combination of being young, from somewhere else, and inhabiting such a strange place. 

With Weapons and Their Names, I hope to channel those feelings of 'other' by using elements of magical realism. This is from Luciana's perspective, so I want it to feel almost like a dream or memory. Focusing on small details, big feelings and meditative moments will help elevate the story to a more intimate level.

I'm very inspired by international films and their influence plays a big role in the type of stories I want to tell.


Here are some of the movies that I'm channeling for Weapons


and of course, a mood board.


We are currently in pre-production and are gathering all the necessary pieces to get this movie made. We are currently casting for all the roles, locking down official locations and getting a crew together.

As of right now, our production dates are August 24th - 28th, 2021. We'll be shooting in Tampa, Florida (can you tell this is a Florida movie?) and then post-production will start in September.

We originally planned to begin production this past February, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to wait for safer conditions. With most of our cast and crew planning to be fully vaccinated by production, we feel confident in providing a safe and healthy set experience for everyone. Our safety plan includes regular sanitation of equipment and locations, weekly testing and providing PPE. Our set will operate similar to the many production bubbles that developed as a result of the pandemic.

In order to make up for lost time and reach many of our festival deadlines next year, the timing of this campaign has become that much more important in order to stay on track for completion.

The goal is to have this film finished by the end of 2021 and submited to film festivals at the start of 2022, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's focus on the now.


What Is the Money Going Towards?

As young and emerging filmmakers, self-funded projects are not sustainable in the long run. It takes a village to create any film and we need your help for this story to reach it's full potential.

With half our budget raised from private contributions, our goal is to raise $10,000 to cover production expenses, pay for food/lodging and most importantly, compensate our cast and crew for their time and hard work.

Many young artists do not get paid for their work and we are looking to set a new presedent with our production.

Weapons and Their Names is not just any short film. It's also a film that will showcase my ability as a writer/director and act as a proof of concept for a feature film I wrote titled Saca Tu Lengua (Stick Out Your Tongue). 

This feature was selected for IFP Week’s Project Forum slate in 2020. During its 40-year history, IFP has supported over 10,000 projects and offered resources to more than 30,000 filmmakers, including Barry Jenkins, Dee Rees, Laura Poitras, Richard Linklater and Ava Duvernay.



Not only will your contribution help get a great movie made, but it's also an important step in closing the gap when it comes to the disaprity of stories told. The film industry makes it feel like there is only one type of story for every underrepresented community, when there's tons of stories just waiting to be told. If we can begin to support up and coming filmmakers at this moment, it'll create a ripple effect in changing the range of films we get to experience.

My goal is to continue making films with amazing people and eventually help others tell their unique and interesting stories. There is too much potential out there and we don't want it to go to waste.

If you're ready to be part of the team, then be sure to follow our social media accounts for updates and please consider contributing to our campaign. We cannot make it happen without you. Thank you!

- The Weapons Team


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

Paying Cast and Crew

Costs $4,000

It's important for us to pay the cast and crew. The more we raise, the more we can pay!

Locations and Lodging

Costs $2,500

Gotta make sure our cast and crew have a place to rest and we pay people for filming locations.


Costs $3,500

We want to keep our cast and crew full and happy during those hot Florida shooting days!

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team


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