The short film titled ‘Unsolved’ began when I was talking to friend and collaborator Sarah Lynn Dawson about a mutual desire to create something together. We had been working on developing a feature film, but felt compelled to make this short film. I have always been a fan of the film noir genre, of the 1940s era and murder mystery stories. But I had noticed throughout the years, women have had a limited role in those stories. They usually play the wives, girlfriends or hookers. And of course, they are more often than not, the murder victims.
So, I decided to turn the genre on its head and have the women be the detectives. And then I went and did some research about the pioneering women of the LAPD. Here’s a fun fact I learned and decided to pay homage to in ‘Unsolved’, Alice Stebbins Wells was the first woman hired by the LAPD in 1910 and one of the first women in law enforcement in the U.S. That is one of the reasons I named one of my characters Alice. Why we haven’t seen a feature film bio-pic about her staring a major movie star makes no sense to me.
Our film was also inspired by the Black Dahlia case, only my murder victim is an aspiring actor, not actress. I play a lot with gender and race on purpose, because this is a take on the time period and the genre, so I have Latinos, Brazilians, and African Americans. I’m big on diversity in front of and behind the cameras, being a double minority myself, a Brazilian female director.
Our crew consists of mostly women as department heads, a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. The statistics are there. Only about 5% of all working directors are female. About 15% of working screenwriters are female. What can I do to change that when the studios are run by men, and the mentality that women will watch action flicks but men won’t watch female driven movies is still alive and thriving?
But I think what’s most important to me is to create characters that can help little girls dream. I remember playing as kid and wanting to be Luke Skywalker and Indiana Jones and Marty McFly. But those were all boys. Where are the female versions of these great movie heroes?
Hopefully audiences will get a taste of those great characters in ‘Unsolved’. We have a very talented cast and crew. Sarah Lynn Dawson and Devon Ogden play the two lead detectives, and T’Keyah Crystal Keymah from ‘In Living Color’ plays a pivotal supporting role. Our amazing supporting cast also includes Lane Compton, Tre Moye, Branca Ferrazo, Patricia Garcia, Angela Dezen, Lex Shontz and newcomer Andres Hernandez-Michel.
We have a crowdfunding campaign going to raise our production budget of $3,000. Our labor of love still costs money, even when everyone is donating their time. We are currently in post-production but we are still pushing to meet our goal.