Ambient Light Short Film

Ambient Light is a Second Rounder in Austin Film Festival’s Screenplay Contest, as well as a Finalist in the NYC International Awards Screenplay Contest

Ambient Light is a short film screenplay set in the 1880s, about a poor, rural Texas mother and her husband who are facing their final chance at a family photograph with their two children. But it’s about so much more than that. 

 

About nine years ago, I stumbled upon the numerous post-mortem photographs from the 1800s, some even propped up, seated among family and made to look lifelike. 

When I showed friends, many reacted with disgust and it was then that I felt compelled to show them exactly why these people would’ve done something so odd today. I wanted to make people understand the desperation they must have felt just trying to capture whatever lasting memory they could before death stole their loved one away forever. In a time when countless people had little or no access to photography, a post-mortem photo may likely be the only image of that person, ever. I decided to write a screenplay.

Since then, I’ve realized that I’ve always been drawn to stories of loss, and how people experience and cope with grief in different ways. It’s natural since I myself was no stranger to the tragedies of life, which struck again in 2015, over a year after writing Ambient Light.

After nearly nine glorious months of intense hope, utter joy and constant preparation, my first pregnancy resulted in a full-term stillborn. Not only did I spend three days in the hospital, mostly side-by-side with my new baby boy, but we also had a 3-hour house visitation and then placed our tiny dead newborn in the cremator ourselves. 

Our experience was intimate, tender and much less removed than death often is in today’s veiled society. Ambient Light aims to question the distance we all now take for granted when experiencing nearby death. 

After that, I became connected with the child loss communities and realized how much silent suffering is happening that no one talks about. Only 1 in 4 wanted pregnancies ends up in a live baby and many more people than we realize are experiencing this agony in isolation.

That is when I knew I absolutely must finish this screenplay and why I now must make this movie.

I hope that my film Ambient Light may shed light on child loss and encourage more open discussion around the topic. Someone around you is grieving the loss of a child and needs your support.

This film is slated for production in 2024. A crowdfunding campaign will be announced in late 2023. Follow our progress and support this film by joining our mailing list.

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