Cliff Effect follows a young hairstylist named Humberta, a recent cosmetology school graduate trying to find work at a salon. When she finally gets a job, she is unable to accept it without risking the welfare benefits that keep her and her family afloat. Her best friend, Mel, also a recent graduate, finds herself in a similar situation. Wanting to improve their families' living conditions, the two decide to open their own illicit salon inside Humberta’s apartment to save up extra money—all while not telling her landlord about it.
As defined by poverty research organization Circles USA, “The Cliff Effect occurs when a pay raise at work triggers a disproportionate loss of government assistance. Even a small raise can ‘push people off the cliff’ when it comes to benefits. Suddenly ineligible for subsidized food, housing, healthcare, or childcare, the family is worse off than before receiving the raise." When this happens, low-income individuals and families are often encouraged to not take better jobs or work more hours, and stay where they are currently at.
Our short film, Cliff Effect, aims to shine light on this phenomenon that stalls thousands of families around the United States from reaching a better life. Through our two lead characters, Humberta and Mel, we will show how these punitive measures can keep setting back our most vulnerable. Through the characters' actions, audiences will not only come to better understand these issues, and how they foster further problems, but also be inspired. Through Mel and Humberta’s friendship, our hope is that anyone who watches the film will be reminded that compassion, compromise, and betting on one another are our saving graces towards a future where we can all win. A happy future we could share, together.
What Your Donation is For
Each key crew-member is contributing their own money to this project, but to cover the remaining expenses that the film requires, we need your help.
Your donation will ensure all departments get the necessary equipment to create the world we are hoping to build, while also ensuring safety on our set. Any amount goes a long way, and we even have tiers to reward you with tokens of our appreciation! As a reminder, all donations to our film are 100% tax deductible, as CSUN is a 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization! Your donation will go towards the following:
- Camera Department (camera packages, grip trucks, lighting equipment. etc.)
- Art Department (production design, art trucks, set dressing, hair & makeup, props, etc.)
- Sound Department (microphones, mixers, cables, etc.)
- Casting (talent, background extras, studio teacher, etc.)
- Locations (permits, transportation, insurance, etc.)
- Catering & Craft Services (to feed our dedicated cast & crew!)
- Post Production (hard drives, transcoding, color grading, etc.)
- COVID-19 Mitigations (Covid Compliance Officers, PPE, rapid testing, etc.)
Cliff Effect will be run entirely by students from the Cinema & Television Arts Department at California State University, Northridge! Each crew-member loves what they do, and have been honing their skills for this culminating senior thesis experience. Half of the Cliff Effect crew are Latinos, from our director, producers, cinematographer, etc. We are happy to be bringing representation both on the screen, and behind the scenes!
- Luis Herrera - Director & Writer
- Selene Alvarez - Producer
- Lucy Mouradian - Producer
- Gissel Carranza - Producer
- Kristina Andrez - Associate Producer
- Kelsey Moreno - Associate Producer
- Hector Ramirez - 1st AD
- Celeste Bird - 2nd AD
- Jedd Caballero - 2nd 2nd AD
- Alexandria Postajian - Editor/Graphic Designer
- Kevin Steinfeld - Editor/DIT
- Tuesday Howarth - Production Designer
- Shania Gez - Art Director
- Carlos Ramirez - Director of Photography
- Mario Carranza - Camera Operator
- Jose Caldera Medrano - 1st AC
- Pedro Penteado - Key Grip
- Chris Siefert - Gaffer
- Rodrigo Jacome - Sound Mixer
- Hailey Haro - Post Sound
- Bellamy Perez - Sound Utility
- Billy Singleton - Boom Op
Shirts, hoodies, crew-necks, tote bags, mugs, stickers, you name it! We have an array of clothing and accessory items, which are available in all different sizes and colors! Check back regularly, as more merchandise will be added!
Other Means of Support
Our crew acknowledges how fortunate we truly are to be able to tell this story amidst such a turbulent time. If you are unable to donate or purchase merchandise, you can still show your support by following and sharing us on your social media pages!
Thank you for taking the time to learn about our project. We are incredibly grateful for your support. Our crew can't wait to show you our film! If you have any questions or would like to contact us about our film, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org !