director.....Molly E. Smith
This film was inspired during my time volunteering at a domestic violence safehouse. (A shelter whose location is only known by those who work or volunteer there.) 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. They paid no attention to the purples swirling into the blues and greens- a palette of crayola violence. The mother continued to cook, and all around me children were laughing, screaming in joy, chiding each other. She paid attention to nothing but preparing 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. My hope is that the unspoken strength of the bond between the mother and child is palatable in every frame.
I do not know what happened to that woman from that 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, 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.