Zoe was put in foster care after the death of her brother. Trauma made it difficult to place her in a permanent home until Rachel embraces the challenges in an inspiring story about facing fears, finding inner strength and being brave enough to embrace the scars that make us beautiful.
Inclusion StatementMay is Foster Care Awareness Month. We're connecting with foster, youth, women and comic book organizations to highlight the positive impact of becoming a loving foster parent to a child in need. A notable, all-female, multi-cultured cast and a diverse crew with experienced women in key positions.
About The Project
Inspiration Behind the Story
I've encountered beautiful souls who have journeyed through the foster care system-- I listened to the stories of the struggles their families endured, how they were separated from siblings at times, the heaviness and holiness each foster home brought to their lives--wanting to be loved but feeling unloved. Some became caretakers of siblings and made them grow up faster than expected-- the absence of a father or the death of a mother.
Their stories never left me. Traumatic circumstances could've become the destruction of them; despite their tough upbringings, they've become some of the most successful people I know. I believe that truth for anyone. I wanted to give others their inspiration and hope. It is why I wrote SHIELD.
Synopsis of SHIELD
Zoe was put in foster care after the death of her brother, who was her sole guardian. She latches onto the only thing that reminds her of him– a blanket. Trauma has alienated her from everyone and has made it difficult for Zoe to find a permanent home. That is, until Rachel decides to become her caregiver. Rachel’s creative use of comic books is just the thing to help Zoe let go of her pain in this inspiring story about facing our fears, finding our inner strength and being brave enough to embrace the scars that make us beautiful.
We have assembled a notable, all-female, multi-cultured cast and a diverse crew with experienced women in key positions (NYWIFT, IFP, ARRAY, SAG-AFTRA members). The funds we raise will support all of our departments-- from cast and crew, to catering and the film-inspired comic book. We are shooting on location and the expenses-- including insurance and permits-- are a large portion of our budget. Most of our crew and cast have committed to work for lower rates due to our indie budget and their passion for the film. Some of our crew members will be working multiple positions like the superheroes they are and all are committed to making sure this film is a success.
SHIELD is seeking to raise $12k to make production and post-production happen as well as the comic book that was inspired by the script. Moreover, We're working hard to partner with foster care and women organizations, as well as comic book stores, to bring awareness to the needs of foster children and the empowerment of young girls. Pretty dope stuff.
So what do you say? Can we count on you to help make this dream a reality and bring awareness to this cause?
Samples of Storyboard
Here's an up-close, sneak peek view at the storyboards we're working on for SHIELD!
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About This Team
Danielle Eliska (Writer/Director) hails from Detroit. She's received her MFA in Dramatic Writing for Film, Television and Theatre from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. More than a scriptwriter, Danielle Eliska has directed documentaries, short films, music videos and theatre productions-- currently working on several screenwriting, filmmaking and photography projects-- looking forward to directing her first feature narrative film in the near future. She is the founder and COC of MERAKI society, a multimedia production house committed to telling stories about powerful women, the Black Diaspora and Black Culture. (www.danielleeliska.com)
Mario Moore (Art Director) is a Detroit native, currently residing in New York City. Moore received a BFA in Illustration from the College for Creative Studies and an MFA in Painting from the Yale School of Art. He was an Artist-in-Residence at Knox College, Galesburg, IL, the Fountainhead residency and the Albers Foundation and is an upcoming Fellow for Princeton's Lewis Center for the Arts 2018- 2019 Hodder Fellowship.
Moore’s phenomenal work has afforded him many opportunities-- from multiple exhibitions (nationally and internationally) and featured articles in newspapers and magazines. He has also worked on two large production films (Real Steel 2011 and Red Dawn 2012) as a set sculptor. A few places his work has been exhibited include the Charles H. Wright Museum, George N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem State University’s Diggs Gallery, Driscoll Babcock Gallery and the Detroit Artists Market. His work was also included in the Studio Visit Volume 31 (2015) and the Studio Museum in Harlem’s catalog, Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art (2014). (www.mariomoorestudio.com)
Lauren Sowa (Producer/Amy) grew up in beautiful Landisville, Pennsylvania, surrounded by cornfields and the Amish. In 2016, she and Tim Eliot founded Form & Pressure Films to tell stories that inspire and provoke thought, while encouraging diversity and equality on set and on screen. Lauren has been featured in the films 42 Seconds of Happiness (now available on Amazon Prime), Café Artist, The Rainbow Experiment (premiered at Slamdance 2018), and The Devil’s Well. Upcoming: the indie feature Paris is in Harlem. She received her BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Proud member of Actor's Equity and SAG-AFTRA. Lauren is a big-time animal lover, and has yet to meet a pretzel she doesn't like. When not acting, you can find her reading a good book, taking photographs, catching up on old films, and doing yoga! (www.laurensowa.com)
Maria M. Rusche (Cinematographer) honed her eye for visual storytelling at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she focused on cinematography and lighting. Her narrative work includes One Good Pitch, which was an Official Selection at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016 and Starry Night, a short film that was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Production Grant and is currently being developed into a feature.
Her commercial work includes clients such as Delta, Verizon, Smirnoff, Bank of America, American Express and more. Maria got her start as a gaffer and lighting technician on major feature films and television shows, where she developed her eye for lighting and the collaborative skills that are essential to a cinematographer. Most recently, she finished principal photography on the feature film Big Exit, Stephen Harris's directorial debut. (www.mariamrusche.com)
Tim Eliot (Producer) is a co-founder of Form & Pressure. He wrote and acted in their latest short, Marisol, currently in post-production. He has been featured on Boardwalk Empire, The 3Bits, and duder. Recent and upcoming films include The Rainbow Experiment (the Opening Night Feature of the 2018 Harlem International Film Festival), Seven Lovers, and Down To Earth.
A veteran of classical and downtown theater, Tim played MacBeth with Everett Quinton and several Sleep No More alums in a Catholic Church in Chinatown, Hamlet at the cell, and Romeo at Yale. He has done numerous immersive projects with Stella Artois, Target, Secret Cinema, and AMC. Regional theater includes Sexual Perversity (ART), The Little Tragedies (MXAT), Cherry Docs (New Rep), The Real Thing (Northern Stage), Compleat Works (Nat’l Tour), Much Ado, Cymbeline, Elizabeth Rex (Opera House Arts). He directed Romeo & Juliet in an abandoned garage in Long Island City, Much Ado in a garden/gallery in Chelsea, and Erdman’s Suicide!? in a former piano factory in Hell’s Kitchen. Tim is a graduate of the William Esper Studio, the ART/MXAT Institute at Harvard, and Yale University. (www.timeliot.com)
Pernell Walker (Rachel) is an Bronx born Actress with a M.F.A in acting from Actor's Studio Drama School, formerly of New School University. She made her Off-Broadway debut in SEED by Radha Blank (writer for Fox's Empire) directed by Niegel Smith (Artistic Director of The Flea).
Pernell made her feature film debut as Laura in Dee Ree's (Bessie) award winning and critically acclaimed film, Pariah. She has since starred alongside and worked with Cuba Gooding Jr and Forrest Whitaker in Lee Daniel's The Butler. On television, Pernell has worked with Steven Soderbergh on The Knick, and Carl Franklin in The Leftovers. Ms. Walker continues to work with the best in the business, cast in her latest role by Michelle Maclaren (Breaking Bad) and David Simon (Show Me a Hero, The Wire) for HBO's THE DUECE. You can also watch her in the premier episode season two of the hilarious Netflix comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt as Titus' ex-wife,Vonda. (www.pernellwalker.com)
Julee Cerda (Ms. Chang) is an American actress born in Seoul, South Korea. She was raised in New York but spent part of her childhood in her father's country, the Dominican Republic. After graduating from Marist College with a B.A., she enrolled in several acting programs in New York City including T. Schreiber Studio, the Ward Acting School for Meisner, the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, and the LAByrinth Theater Company.
She has recently appeared on television as cousin Jazmina in Orange is the New Black (Season 4), and as Dana Treister in House of Cards (Season 4). Other TV credits include: Blue Bloods, The Family, Limitless, Allegiance, Royal Pains, White Collar, and Nurse Jackie. Her film credits include: Nancy Meyers' The Intern (2016), No Letting Go (2015) and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (2014). (www.juleecerda.com)