A MAGICAL REALIST PRESENT DAY FABLE FOR THE PEOPLE
A Live Action Narrative Feature with Animation
Sophie, the child of missionary parents, grew up in Tanzania, where animals were her world. Now grown but still very much a child in spirit, she lives in NYC as a cloistered artist where she’s constantly documenting her life on film. She relives the past in her head, where she often transforms into an African animal. We see these fantasies on-screen as animation. She crashes her bike in Washington Square Park into two people: a guy named Daniel, who is a black NYC councilman, with a secret, and a girl named Jill, a raised white country singer who’s come from Mississippi in search of her father. She crashes simultaneously but separately, at which point the world splits and the film explores multiple track love stories between Sophie & Daniel and Sophie & Jill. Blending live action, animation, documentary, and a Fisher Price PXL2000, “Born That Way” explores identity, judgment, and perspective in the age of the selfie.
These are dangerous days. “Born That Way” is a film that speaks to a many of the social justice issues of our time. It is a film that subtly challenges the status quo in all sorts of ways. It’s a small story between 5 people - but with the use of music & cinematography it should feel epic in form. It opens with a look into camera by Sophie as she talks to the monkey (us) & ends that same way when she looks at us before walking through the door to accept Daniel in all of his messiness. It references Brecht & Plato & George Washington & Eric Garner & touches on everything from the rights of the undocumented, to animals as sentient beings, to the displacement of indigenous people, to police brutality. It challenges our notions of gender & sexuality & what it means to love regardless of the physical form you arrive in to this world. It is in fact a protest of sorts. But it’s choosing love and forgiveness as the ultimate radical act. 'For the people' comes from the Constitution & reverberates in the Gettysburg address. It’s a call to our consciousness & our rights to freedom for all. This story is about freedom from self & the cages we create for our spirits. It’s about freedom of judgment. It’s about our connectedness. I am you & you are me.
That’s what it’s about. And that, in our selfie obsessed world, feels like a revolution to me.
Writer / Producer / Sophie
Born Michal Shalom Leamer, to gypsy artist Christian hippies, Michal Sinnott was gifted her love for travel that would later shape her writing, living in six different U.S. states by the age of five. As a SAG-AFTRA & Equity member, Michal has appeared in dozens of plays & over fifty principal / starring roles for radio, television, & film. She is the voice, likeness, & performance capture artist for Tracey De Santa, one of 7 main characters out of a cast of a 1000, in the billion dollar phenomena GRAND THEFT AUTO V. Her starring role in the LA Premiere of 'White Hot' at Hollywood Fringe earned her a Best Actress Award & her Ovation nominated theatre company, The Vagrancy, a Best Ensemble Award with knock-out reviews in ‘LA Weekly’ & ‘The Examiner.’ Performance highlights: roles in Spike Lee’s INSIDE MAN & QUID PRO QUO with Vera Farmiga & a solo performance art piece for THE WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART. She hosts The Women’s Independent Film Festival & is in the process of launching the Bechdel inspired podcast ‘The Test’ through Cinefemme.
Born That Way is a recipient of Big Vision Empty Wallet’s Kickstart Diversity Program.