BURNT SUGAR PRODUCTIONS
A Short Film
As a new law passes that arms teachers with guns in classrooms, a Mennonite school teacher must decide which moral values to hold higher, her non-violent pacifist beliefs or her marriage to a state senator who helped pass the law.
A Note from the Director
FEAR NOT began as a collaboration with fellow Kansan, Kristen Bush (Paterno, Liberal Arts, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit), an old family friend from the small town of Sterling, Kansas, where I had lived for a few years during my childhood. We reconnected in Chicago when she performed the lead in Uncle Vanya at the Goodman and we decided to make a project about our hometown area and the politics that aren't always so simple in small towns where you might have differing views from the people you have to get along with.
After living in Sterling, my family moved to the nearby town of Hillsboro with deep Mennonite roots that have influenced my belief in non-violence activism. This film follows a Mennonite woman who has to question her pacifist beliefs when a new law forces her to carry a gun in her own classroom. A law that her husband, a state senator, helped to pass.
The film is meant to be a conversation starter about how to eliminate mass shootings. When I went through an active shooter training at Columbia College Chicago, where I teach film, I realized our response to a shooting relies heavily on the fact that dozens of Chicago Police Officers would be at our school building within minutes. In small towns where there might only be a couple of officers, it's a very different scenario. I wanted to explore that idea with this project.
Many locals from Hillsboro performed 'as themselves' to bring a local flavor to the story. A huge thanks goes out to the community who helped us make this film: they brought us homemade meals, free accommodation for our crew, and gave us free locations to film in. This short film was funded by a grant from the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund and a part-time faculty grant from Columbia College Chicago.
This short is meant to introduce the characters, themes, and place, as I seek funding for my feature-length screenplay that I hope to develop in the next year. If you're interested in funding the project or being involved in some way, shoot me a message.