Kites is a CSUN senior thesis project that follows Isabel, a young Filipina inmate, as her time in solitary confinement takes a turn when she gets an impossible message from Alonzo, a Black man in the same situation half the world away.
Kites sheds light on the ways in which human rights are infringed every day, in settings the public typically never sees. Solitary confinement holds prisoners for several hours in a day for months or years. Secluded from the world, inmates often experience psychological trauma in the form of PTSD, agoraphobia, hallucinations and a loss of a sense of reality. Among the most inhumane forms of punishment, solitary confinement is even recognized by the United Nations as a form of prolonged torture, as it causes deep psychological destruction that lingers even well after a prisoner is released from it.
During the 1970s to early 1980s in Filipino history, Martial Law abducted outspoken youth activists and political dissenters from the streets and threw them into secluded solitary detention to get tortured through heinous physical torment and social isolation. And in the U.S., the number of inmates who are sent to solitary confinement for at least 23 hours on any given day sits at around 61,000 as of 2018, according to the Washington Post.
As it ties two characters who are existing in these similar but separate realities, Kites aims to explore the notion of isolation in an atypical perspective. In this “new normal” of social distancing, many of us have gotten a glimpse of how isolation can affect us. The challenges set up by the COVID-19 pandemic offers an avenue for us to creatively dissect how different our isolation is compared to those in solitary confinement. Daily comforts aside, we have the privilege of connection — and this mantra of not being alone has helped many of us get through this time’s hurdles. Meanwhile, the characters in Kites reflect those who are barred from that privilege day-in and day-out.
What We Need
Kites was written with with both the world climate and industry restrictions in mind. With that said, production during the global pandemic requires a sizable budget to execute the project both safely and professionally.
Our goal is $15,000 that we will put towards:
- COVID Safety Equipment
- Set Building
- Camera + Grip and Electric Equipment
- Travel & Meal Expenses
- Permits & Fees
All donations for this project are tax deductible. Donors will receive a tax receipt in their email upon giving.
Building the Worlds
In order to depict Isabel's and Alonzo's story to the best of our abilities, we are going to have to build their worlds from the ground up. We have an incredibly talented and dedicated art department who will be constructing solitary confinement sets that will serve as the setting of the entire film.
Replicating these cells is no easy feat as it requires extraordinary attention to detail to create two spaces that are visually captivating and properly represent the realities of our character's circumstances.
More Ways You Can Help
Check out our merch store here! Stay tuned for more ways to donate, and if you can't donate please share! Follow us on Instagram @kitesfilm.