Hidden Heroines

The story of Sasha and an all-female network of freedom workers helping to free those who have been taken by the world’s most dangerous human-trafficking ring. Sasha, a Parisian
cyber-tech analyst who moved to Los Angeles is recruited by Tanya Perris - the group’s fearless leader of freedom workers. Tanya takes Sasha under her wing, teaching her and the new recruits all she knows with the hope to conquer society’s enemy, the Le Clares. They are responsible for having abducted millions of people in order to facilitate an increasing amount of laborers needed in the poppy fields of South East Asia for international drug distribution.

  • Carmelita Smith
  • Carmelita Smith
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  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Carmelita Smith

Carmelita has been honing her craft as a director of photography for nearly a decade. Originally self-taught, her first body of work consists of short form content she produced, shot, and edited for social media. Her clients include Duke's Malibu, ECCO VR, recording artists, such as JimiJames, Celeste SCott, and WOW Jones. After deciding to go back to school, she decided to fully invest her time and efforts in studying TV, Film, and Media at California State University. She graduated Summa Cum Laude and is currently working on a TV pilot, 2 short films, and will be finishing 2 documentaries by the end of 2023.

Her aspirations in this field started at a young age when she first picked up a camcorder in high school. Little did she know, this would one day be her calling. Her fascination with capturing the beauty of those around her informs her unique style as a filmmaker. Never shying away from getting too close to a subject
to capture their essence is what makes Carmelita exceptional at what she does. She sees what no one else can and that is why her work attempts to captures the hearts and minds of her audience.

As a Director of Photography, Carmelita sets out to make the most brilliant images to convey the messages that are meant to shine through and uplift the masses.

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Director Statement

Hidden Heroine represents an aspect of the woman that I was personally exposed to as a young girl. Born in the Philippines, I realized early on that it was common for a woman to be the head of household, just as it was for a man. The gender divide did quite exist there as it does in the states. In fact, there has already been 2 successful female presidents. I say this to illustrate the context behind why I chose to write this story of a female network of ass kicking, lifesaving, go getting women who just exist amongst us. My heroes as a child were my mom, her sisters, and their co-mares (girlfriends). They exuded a confidence and power that just seemed normal to me. My mom was born in a small town 2 hours outside of the capital, Manila. She was traveling the world at the age of 26, importing and exporting anything she could buy and then sell. She was a savvy businesswoman, just like her mother who owned rice fields and sold rice. My mother has since shared many stories about her life, and one incident prompted the idea for Hidden Heroine.

My mother was in a taxi with her first born, my sister who was then 3 years old. She noticed the taxi driver taking an unusual route to her destination, which was actually quite close to where they were. She needed to think fast, and without asking the driver why – she leaped out of the front passenger seat with my sister in tow, as the car hugged the very next corner. Whenever I hear this story, it brings me such pride and joy to know that my mother is one tough cookie with a foresight and intuition she lives her life by. It did not matter if she was right or wrong about the situation, all she knew was that she needed to save herself and her kid at all costs. Luckily, both my mom and sister were not hurt and there was a truck driver who saw the whole thing and made sure she got home safely. As for the taxi driver, he took off and never looked back. I wonder until this day what he thought about my mom.

Writing the proof of concept for this project has been a way for me to express that women are extremely powerful, no matter where they reside. In the title alone, it tells you that you do not always know who the real hero is. That is because she can sometimes be found in the crevices, lurking behind the curtain in the dark so no one knows she is even there. However gentle or delicate she may seem, she can and will do what it takes to protect and serve those who are helpless. In this story, the bad guys are abductors of people. They are called the Exit Ring, the most dangerous human trafficking ring in the world whose only task is to supply bodies to tend the poppy fields of certain regions of Southeast Asia. They are controlled by the Le Claris clan who have been in the drug smuggling business since the late 1800’s. The hidden heroines together fight this deadly group until they have no choice but to dismantle the slave trade business model, so that everyone in their possession can finally be set free and returned home to their families. The only real obstacle is finding the family, because no one really knows who or where they are. Outside of saving the stolen, the Hidden Heroines set out to find the people who have robbed the lives of the defenseless. This story gives us all the opportunity to look around and make sure we’re not entangled in anything that suppresses our human spirit. It also allows us to see if we are willing participants in the oppression of those who cannot help themselves. Lastly, it provokes us to call out the people and organizations responsible for using us until the very last drop or breath solely for capital gain.