Barricaded in a motel room, a mothers determination and primal instincts kick in to protect her child's innocence.

  • Sara Oliva
  • Molly E. Smith
  • Sara Oliva
  • Sara Oliva
    Key Cast
  • Lily Jane
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes 18 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 15, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, C200
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • deadCENTER
    Oklahoma City
    United States
    Official Selection
    Oscar Qualifying Film Festival
  • Florida Film Festival
    United States
    Official Selection
    Oscar Qualifying Film Festival
  • Key West Film Festival
    Key West, FL
    United States
    November 19, 2022
    Jury Nominee Best Short
  • Hill Country Film Festival
    Official Selection
  • Cambridge Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    Official Selection
    Crystal Punt Best Short Nominee (BAFTA Qualifying)
  • Georgia Shorts Film Festival
    Official Selection/Best Actress/Best Director WINNER Best Short Nominee
  • Sarasota Film Festival
    Official Selection
  • Femme Frontera
    El Paso, TX
    Official Selection
  • Sedona International Film Festival
    Official Selection
  • Gasparilla Film Festival
    Best Florida Production
  • Buffer Film Festival
    Honorable Mention
  • Topaz Film Festival
    October 29, 2022
    Jury Award Best Short
  • Chelsea Film Festival
    New York City
    October 16, 2022
  • SOHO International Film Festival
    New York City
    United States
    October 11, 2022
    Northeast Premiere
    Best Short Nominee, Best Actress Nominee, Audience Favorite (Top 5) Nominee
  • Fort Lauderdale Film Festival
    Fort Lauderdale
    November 9, 2022
    Jury Award Best Short (Florida)
  • Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival
    United States
    Jury Award Best Drama Short
  • World of Film Glasgow
    Official Selection
  • Love Your Shorts
    February 12, 2023
    Best Florida Flavor Short
  • Blackbird Film Festival
    Cortland, NY
    United States
    April 28, 2023
    WINNER- Power of Voice Award
Director Biography - Molly E. Smith

Molly's film “Dear America” about the Parkland, FL school shooting garnered national attention, and was featured on the "TODAY Show". She has continued to challenge norms, raise awareness and evoke empathy through powerful short narratives. Her goal is always to use strong imagery and the spoken word to tell stories. Molly’s short film “I Don’t Know” tackled the issue of race in America, winning several Best Film awards. Her work has screened at Woodstock Film Festival, Indy shorts International Film Festival, Fort Lauderdale International Film Fest, Key West Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, and many others.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Writer's Statement:
This film was inspired by an event while volunteering at a domestic violence safehouse. One Thanksgiving, my job was to play with the kids so their mothers could focus on preparing the food for the feast later that evening. While playing the card game "War" with the children, one of the mothers entering the kitchen caught my eye. On her arm was a massive bruise, swallowing half of her arm, completely disguising the color of her skin. I watched her as she pulled ingredients out of the kitchen cabinets; if she was in any pain, inside or out, it didn't show. The children paid no attention. Bruises like these were an imprint on their everyday life, as much as coloring books or legos. The mother continued to cook, and all around children were laughing, screaming in joy, chiding each other. She paid attention to nothing but the food. There was a meal to prepare, a feast to be had, joy to be spread as far these walls would allow.

They say that once you are a mother, your heart lives outside of you. As I was putting this story to paper, it came to me in images rather than with a lot of dialogue. Words sometimes just aren’t enough; they can’t capture the tenderness, might, pain and feral love a parent has for their child. I wanted to reveal both the fragility and the strength of parenthood; going beyond what is in our purse, to using parts of our own bodies, - spit and blood and wounds and imagination - as a means to recreate innocence. My hope is that the unspoken strength of the colossal bond between the mother and child is palatable in every frame.

I do not know what happened to that woman from that Thanksgiving morning, but I like to imagine that she is free and safe from the fear which brought her there in the first place. This film was inspired by her bravery, tenderness, might, fragility, sacrifice, resilience, and above all, unyielding love for her child. It is for her. It is for all the lionesses who roam through the jungles battered, but brave.