FILM PRESS KIT
In order to maintain the tenuous connection with her mother, 8-year-old Christina unwittingly endangers her father, an undocumented food-delivery driver.
Christina, a precocious 8-year-old, and her father, Alex, an “illegal” Haitian immigrant are not only father/daughter but business partners, if you hear Christina tell it. Both Christina’s and Alex’s livelihood revolve around food delivery gigs. However, things go awry when Alex loses their phone – and with it their tenuous ability to make money and connect with Victoria, Christina’s mother. When Alex takes his frustration out on her, Christina decides to take matters into her own hand – endangering them both.
Genre: Drama Running time: 15 minutes
Languages: Haitian Creole, English Country: United States of America
Film Color: Color
Original Music by: Original Song “Ayiti Cheri” Adapted from Othello Bayard’s poem “Ayiti Cheri” / Music Supervisor and Song Producer Imani Garner / Composer and Song Mixer Ming Cheng / Guitarist Rafael Goncalves / Vocalist & Lyric Editor Herve Coeur /Vocalist Naya Desir-Johnson
I chose to write and direct this film because the world of Christina and Alex is a world quite familiar to me. As a young child I was my father’s eager assistant as we drove around in his van, selling “exotic” foods to the Haitian/ Caribbean immigrant community in South Florida. In between communities, we would listen to the Haitian radio station and one of the songs that I was exposed to frequently was adapted from Othello Bayard’s poem “Ayiti Cheri.” It was one of the few times that I heard Haiti referred to in a positive light in the U.S. And, one of the reasons that it was essential to me that we created an Original Song around Ayiti Cheri for this film.
Another character in this film – is the car. As a teenager, during one of the most difficult periods of my life, my car not only served as a way for me to go to school, work as a waitress at Applebee’s but it also became my home. Currently, families living in cars have increased significantly – in 2019, more than 200,000 individuals experienced unsheltered homelessness – and that number has more than doubled since the pandemic, a number that has disproportionately impacted undocumented immigrants and their children.
This film taps into an undocumented father’s relationship with his daughter – loving, fraught, and contradictory – a narrative familiar to anyone with a parent or child, transforming this undocumented family’s journey in a film into people we recognize, who share many of the same hopes, flaws and dreams that we do.
CAST & CREW BIOS
Naya Desir-Johnson / “Christina”
Naya Desir-Johnson has a love and natural talent for acting and singing. She’s flexed her skills on stage (Trojan Women, The Nutcracker), television (The Equalizer, POSE) and film (A Thousand and One) — amongst others. At home, she loves to play pretend and outside you can try to catch her on wheels — roller skates, skateboards or bicycles. Her dream is to be an astronaut and explore the Red Planet. Website: http://nayadesirjohnson.com IG: @nayadesirjohnson
Axel Avin Jr. / “Alex”
Axel Avin, Jr. is a multi-hyphened creative. He has served as a professor at NYU Tisch’s New Studio on Broadway and Molloy College’s CAP21 program. Directing highlights include: Off Broadway: Assistant director to Daniel Sullivan Coriolanus (Public Theater/NYSF), Assistant director Sojourners (NYTW). Other NYC theater: World Premiere The American Tradition by Ray Yamonouchi, Underground by Edward McWilliams. At Tisch Mr. Avin has directed;
Measure for Measure, Macbeth, As You Like It, Romeo & Juliet and Pericles. As an actor, on TV Mr. Avin has been seen on NBC’s New Amsterdam, HBO’s The Night Of as well as several national commercials. Off Broadway: Ruined ((Original Company)MTC), Streamers (Roundabout), Regional: Gleam (Baltimore CenterStage), A Raisin in the Sun (Virginia Stage Co.), Fences (Lorraine Hansberry Theater), A Christmas Carol (A.C.T). Mr. Avin is also founder of Wordy, a hands-on bilingual toy company. M.F.A. American Conservatory Theater.
Mirta Desir / Writer-Director-Producer
Mirta Desir is a Haitian-American filmmaker living in Bed-Stuy (New York City) working on her Film MFA . She is currently in her final year at Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema. Mirta is the writer and director of several shorts, some of which were shortlisted for both the NETFLIX/NALIP Incubator and the Wavelength Productions & The Black TV & Film Collective’s Producers Fellowship. She’s also the recipient of a New York Women in Film & Television award. She is currently in development of her first feature film, Angie.
Nawal Mubin / Producer
Nawal Mubin has always had a passion for film and tv, however, it didn’t seem possible that her passion could amount to anything beyond a mere hobby. After following the traditional South Asian path for education, Nawal realized her heart truly lied in creating authentic representation for minority communities within Film and Television. Nawal is currently in her second and final year at Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema where she is receiving her Master’s in Fine Arts in Film Producing. She was recently the recipient of the 2022 Islamic Scholarship Fund Film Scholarship, a company that is working towards encouraging young Muslims to excel in Film, Media, and Political fields.
Jorès Philippe Jr. / Producer
Jorès is a Haitian-American Producer based in NYC. In 2022, he graduated from Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema (Brooklyn College) with an
MFA in Film Production. Growing up in a Haiti gave him a different perspective in the art of storytelling. For the past 3 years, he’s produced short films and independent projects . In 2020, he started the production company “VANYAN” with a mission to provide high-quality content from underrepresented communities like Haiti.
Luisa Madrid / Director of Photography
Luisa Madrid is a Latina-NYC based cinematographer who believes in the power of narrative storytelling. As a fine technician, a strong collaborator, and an intuitive artist, Luisa has a unique antenna for human fragility and resilience. With a background in social work and documentary photography, she has developed an eye attuned for detecting emotional intimacy, helping her to ground the surreal with a humanistic approach. She is a soon-to-be alumna of Brooklyn College’s Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema. She is available to collaborate, work & travel.
Samuel Quiñones / Editor
Samuel Quiñones is an editor based in Brooklyn. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Quiñones attended the University of Puerto Rico where he studied Communications with a focus on TV and Film production. After graduating he worked for five years in Puerto Rico as an editor for Mega TV and Wapa TV. In 2020 he started pursuing an M.F.A. in Film Post-Production from the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema. Samuel is a recipient of the 2022 BAFTA U.S. Scholarship where he was awarded the DLT Entertainment Scholarship. Currently he works as an assistant editor for documentary projects.
Stephen Thompson / Sound Designer
Stephen Thompson is a sound designer, musician and artist from Brooklyn, New York. He has a Masters of Fine Arts in music performance and media scoring from Brooklyn College at the Feirstein School of Cinema in Steiner Studios in Brooklyn. He has experience in the fields of music, theatre, fashion and film and has worked professionally as a Piano player, model and actor in Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid, Torino and Moscow as well as across the United States. As a jazz pianist and variety player Stephen has performed around Europe, notably at the Comedia Theatre in Paris, the Stanislovsky Theatre in Moscow and Tiergarten TIPI and Am Funkstrum theaters in Berlin.
Anita Sibony de Adelsberg/ Production Designer
Anita Sibony de Adelsberg is a scenic designer and multidisciplinary artist based in New York. Anita holds an MFA in design and technical theater from Brooklyn College.
Most recently, I have been selected to design a number of acclaimed productions, including FUKT by Emma Goldman-Sherman and directed by Janice Goldberg, which was presented at The Tank, Everybody by Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins and directed by Duane Boutte, L’ Amico Fritz by Pietro Mascagni, libretto by P. Suardon and directed by Malena Dayen and Stefanos Koroneos, which was presented at La MaMa, and Domestic Worker, a short film written and directed by Rafael Alvarado Martín.Anita has also worked and is currently working as a scenic artist and set designer assistant on various theater productions. Website: https://www.anitasda.com | IG: @anitasda
Imani Garner / Music Supervisor, Song Producer and Composer
Imani Garner is a composer and music supervisor. She holds a Bachelor’s of Music from New York University in Music Business and is an M.F.A candidate in the Media Scoring program at Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at Brooklyn College. Imani is presently the Administrator for the General
Counsel of Paramount Global and coordinates with the Creative Music Strategy team on music licenses and rescores utilizing its in-house music production library.
In 2021, Imani was selected as a mentee with the Society of Composers and Lyricists and served as a judging panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. She was most recently selected into the 2022-2023 mentorship program with the Guild of Music Supervisors. Since 2020, Imani has served as the Chairman of the Board of Beats By Girlz, a 501c3, whose mission is to promote the advancement of girls and women in music production and technology.
Imani has held several roles in the music business including for Columbia Records, WBLS FM, Def Jam Records, Capitol Records and Warner Music Group and consulted on a special research project for Jazz at Lincoln Center. An experienced traveler, Imani has visited over 30 countries, studying arts disciplines in Cuba and South Africa, and counts ethnomusicology as a hobby. She is currently composing and supervising on several student films.