We Are Family: Crowdfunding Picks

Production on “Bench”

Our families are often the first people we turn to when we seek comfort, care, reassurance, or even strength. The women featured in this set of crowdfunding picks find strength in themselves by drawing on the strength of their families. In some cases, like in web series “Bench” and “The Naturals,” this means literal family members. However, the bonds of non-traditional families in “Cut” or “Beyond Ink & Paint: The Women of Animation” are just as strong.

“Beyond Ink & Paint: The Women of Animation” is a unique documentary compiled of dozens of individual interviews. This project looks at the historical and present-day struggles that women face within the animation industry through individual experiences.

Sofie Somoroff’s thrilling sci-fi short, “Cut,” explores a world in which young, unwed mothers not only lose their newborns — they also lose their memories after giving birth. The two protagonists promise to try to preserve their memories of each other, but can they succeed in escaping when they’re about to give birth themselves?

Written and directed by an all-female team, “Bench” explores several generations of families. This series hopes to tackle real issues like homelessness, infertility, mental illness, and drug addiction in order to show the power and strength that can be found in familial love.

Finally, “The Naturals” web series reimagines traditional crime dramas with a queer female protagonist. When she decides to train with her father’s former partner and follow in his footsteps, she learns more than she could’ve ever imagined about her father’s dark past, her family, and who she might become.

Here is our latest round of women-created and women-centric crowdfunding picks.

“Beyond Ink & Paint: The Women of Animation” (Documentary) — Directed by Christine Guest

“Beyond Ink & Paint: The Women of Animation”

The world of animation has the potential to be one of the most imaginative and creatively limitless industries. Yet women often struggle to carve out a place for themselves as professional animators. According to filmmaker and professor Christine Guest, “women only occupy 23 percent of the creative leadership roles in the animation industry despite representing 60 percent of those studying animation in college.”

With nearly 60 interviews of industry standouts already conducted, “Beyond Ink & Paint” will look at the obstacles facing women in animation from both a historical and modern perspective. Guest hopes that the film will shine a light on the women who have built careers in the animation world and inspire future generations of female animators.

You can support “Beyond Women & Ink: The Women of Animation” on Kickstarter.

“Cut” (Short) — Written and Directed by Sofie Somoroff

Research images for “Cut”

“Cut” is a sci-fi psychological thriller based on filmmaker Sofie Somoroff’s grandmother’s experience as an unwed mother in the 1960s. During this time, women were often separated from their children due to social stigma.

The film follows two young soon-to-be mothers, Sam and Ava, who develop a close friendship while being held in a horrific facility known only as “The Home.” In The Home, the memories of these young mothers are forcibly taken, along with their babies, shortly after they give birth. Ava makes a promise to Sam that she’ll save her memories — of their friendship and her baby — and escape from The Home, until she herself goes into labor and risks losing her own memories.

You can learn more about “Cut” on the film’s Seed & Spark page.

“Bench” (Web Series) — Written and Directed by Christine Celozzi, Tiffany Crosby, Diana Porter, and Kristin Riopelle


The creative team behind “Bench” says that the series was largely inspired by the passing of legendary actor Robin Williams, who is often remembered for his role in the film “Good Will Hunting.” The seven-episode series follows several generations of one family struggling with homelessness, drug addiction, infertility, and mental illness.

“Bench” shows the power of familial love to overcome adversity, and that love has the potential to conquer all. Its creative team also intends to work with advocacy groups to further raise awareness of the film’s various topics.

Check out “Bench’s” Seed & Spark page to learn how you can support the series.

“The Naturals” (Web Series) — Written and Directed by Caitlin Graham

“The Naturals”

In “The Naturals,” Fallon Esposito returns to her hometown after her father’s death and learns more about his career as a professional hitman. Linking up with her family and her father’s former partner, she starts to train herself and decides to follow in his footsteps. Along the way, she discovers more and more about her father’s past, and realizes who she could become by going down the same path.

“The Naturals’” creative team is predominantly female-led. Graham states her mission for the project as “taking the traditionally hyper-masculine crime genre and turning it on its head, placing a queer female lead at its center.”

You can support “The Naturals” on Seed & Spark.

To be considered for Women and Hollywood’s biweekly crowdfunding feature, please write to All formats (features, shorts, web series, etc.) welcome. Projects must be by and/or about women.

We Are Family: Crowdfunding Picks was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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