Private Project

The Party

Logline: A biracial Black woman sets out to take back her power after a racist attack thrusts her into the world of hashtag activism and renders her the perfect victim.

Synopsis: This is Nia's third therapy session but she hasn’t made much progress. Nia tells Dr. Lilith that politicians today are using racism to distract people of color from the real problems facing their communities. As a black woman, Nia resents being stuck in a paranoia-distraction loop. Dr. Lilith, a white woman, makes it clear that racism is real and deeply embedded within American society. But Nia mocks any assertion of a second coming of the KKK, dismissing it as little more than bad political theater and a cynical way to scare up the all-important Black vote.

Dr. Lilith takes a different approach to try and get through to Nia. She recounts a story about her 6-year-old daughter acting out at school. As a therapist, Dr. Lilith recognized that people often act out when they’re unable to cope with trauma. She comes to the realization that her daughter was acting out because she was having trouble coping with her parent’s divorce. Dr. Lilith warns Nia that she might be behaving in a similarly self-destructive manner and encourages her to open up more about her troubled past. Feeling caught, Nia tells the story of how she was the victim of a hate crime as a graduate student.

Nia lays bare the traumatic impact of being the victim of a racially motivated sexual assault, explaining that once the mainstream media got hold of her story she became little more than a hashtag. She watched helplessly as her entire identity was reduced to a single word: victim. Her attacker went to prison but Nia spent the next five years stuck in a vicious paranoia-distraction loop that left her feeling revictimized.

Dr. Lilith finally gets at the real reason why Nia is in therapy: her attacker is up for parole. But Nia fears giving a victim impact statement at the parole hearing would just result in more pain, shame and humiliation, concluding that she has no interest in stepping back into the 'media circus' and once again becoming the poster child of victimhood.

Dr. Lilith advises Nia that making a victim impact statement could help her to gradually accept the devastating events of her troubled past and move on. But the impact of that night has had far greater consequences than Nia initially disclosed. Dr. Lilith must decide how far she’s willing to push her new patient in order to get at the truth.

  • Charlita Gaston
  • Charlita Gaston
    Don't Listen to Her
  • Charlita Gaston
  • Charlita Gaston
    Key Cast
    Arden (TV Series)
  • Kelsey Bunner
    Key Cast
    "Dr. Lilith"
    Bad Animal
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 24, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    2,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • 2021 Women of Color Filmmakers Lab
    Los Angeles
    United States
    July 31, 2021
    North American Premier
    Official Selection
  • Artist Emerged Initiative: First 50 Contest
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    Finalist (2021)
  • The IndieFEST Film Awards
    Los Angeles
    United States
    Award Winner (2021)
Director Biography - Charlita Gaston

Charlita Gaston is an American writer and director with projects at different stages of development. In 2022, she was selected as a finalist for the 2022-2023 Paramount Writers Mentorship Program. Her work has also been recognized by The Ida B. Wells Narrative Fund, Film Pipeline Shorts (a sister organization to Script Pipeline), The IndieFest Film Awards and Emerging Screenwriters (Top 100 in Comedy List) among others.

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Director Statement

"The Party" is a drama short film that explores race, trauma and Black identity in America. Set against the backdrop of post-George Floyd America, the film asks whether politicians and mainstream media are using the threat of racism to control Black people in the lead up to presidential elections. The Party is a deeply personal story about trauma and the dangers of hashtag activism.