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Surrender Heaven: Short Film A Project of Shorts


Logline: An alien abductee is caught between two worlds as her personal struggle with PTSD collides with the implanted memories meant to soothe her.

SURRENDER HEAVEN is a science fantasy short film about Jenna Kivela, a Finnish-American S.W.A.T. officer with PTSD who was abducted by aliens three months ago. Starring CHICAGO FIRE and ONCE UPON A TIME alum Teri Reeves, SURRENDER HEAVEN explores the volatile reaction between Jenna’s psychological issues and the lingering effects of alien mind experiments. Thanks to generous contributions made by supporters, cast, crew, and vendors, SURRENDER HEAVEN completed production in San Francisco last December. We are proud to announce that the majority of our crew are women filmmakers from Northern California.

Please note that any donations made after our completion date (set for January 31st, 2018) will go towards our film festival submissions (we are aiming to submit to at least twenty festivals) and beyond that, any transportation or accommodation costs associated with attending festivals. Again, thank you so much to all of our very generous donors who helped us make this film!


M. Sonja Vasankari—Director and Writer

M. Sonja Vasankari is a screenwriter and director based in Los Angeles. In May 2011, she graduated from the Cinema-TV production program at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. Before transferring to USC in 2008, Marika was an active member of the television production and independent filmmaking scenes in the San Francisco Bay Area. After graduating from USC in 2011, Marika wrote, produced and directed her debut feature-length film, LOVE: AS YOU LIKE IT, a “no-budget" ($16,000), modern-day Shakespeare adaptation which screened at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Seattle True Independent Film Festival, the International Indie Gathering (winner of Best Supporting Actor and 2nd Place Romantic Comedy), and the Fort Myers Beach Film Festival. Over the years, Marika's mentors have included Mardik Martin of RAGING BULL and MEAN STREETS, Evgeniy Lazarev of the Moscow Art Theatre, Steve Zuckerman of FRIENDS, Dr. Rob Clare of the Royal Shakespeare Company, screenwriter and producer Gabrielle Kelly, film critic Jan Wahl and film historian Dr. Drew Casper.

Monica West—Producer

Monica West is a producer, writer and actor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. This fall, her award-winning web series, Best Thing You'll Ever Do will make its European Premiere at Raindance Film Festival in London and will screen at the HBO sponsored ITV Festival in Manchester, Vermont. For her work on Best Thing You'll Ever Do, West took home the 2017 Audience Choice Award (Seattle Web Fest), a Silver Screenwriting Award (DC Web Fest), the 2016 Emerging Voices Award (Brooklyn Web Fest), and six Indie Series Awards nominations including Best Writing and Best Web Series. Her music videos with MVPleez have been featured by New York Magazine, Huffington Post, Official Comedy and Lorne Michael's Above Average. Monica is a member of Cinefemmé and a producing partner with Catherine Fordham's Top Salt Studio in New York City.

Peggy Peralta—Director of Photography

Peggy Peralta is a graduate of the University of the Philippines and obtained her MFA in Motion Pictures and Television with emphasis on Cinematography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. An award-winning and multi-faceted cinematographer, Peggy has collaborated on film projects dealing with diverse themes and cross-cultural subjects. Her works are distinct for their heart, energy and perspective. Geared with a spontaneous spirit and an inquisitive mind, every project she dives into becomes an opportunity to discover, create and inspire.

Her works have screened in festivals such as Rotterdam International Film Festival, NY Independent Film & Video Festival, Loikka Dance Film Festival and other art events across the globe. Her cinematography on the feature documentary Harana earned her a Special Jury Award at the 2013 LA Asian Pacific Filmfest.

She lives in SF with her wife Lourdes Figueroa, a poet and photographer. They are happy when sunburnt.

Danielle O'Dea—Fight Coordinator

Danielle O'Dea is a San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York based fight director, stage combat instructor, and stunt performer. Danielle attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, the Experimental Theatre Wing, graduating with a BFA in Drama, and minors in Art History and Irish Studies. Although not a formal course of study, she had a strong emphasis in stage combat, working alongside her mentor J. David Brimmer, the President of the Society of the American Fight Directors, as his fight assistant for five years through 2012.

Upon moving to San Francisco in 2013, Danielle began working in fight direction at the San Francisco Opera, TheatreWorks, and American Conservatory Theatre. Since then she has additionally worked at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, New Conservatory Theatre Center, and the ACT Young Conservatory. Danielle also teaches stage combat to students at many schools around the Bay Area through her work at Stanford University, as the resident fight director at Piedmont High School, and as the Director of Combat at Shakespearience.

In addition to fight direction and stage combat instruction, Danielle has experience in motion capture and stunts, working for companies such as 2K Games, Toyota, and the San Francisco Opera in addition to many other commercial and film projects. Her motion capture experience is not only as an actor and stunt performer, but also as a member of the production team, assisting with performance capture technology.

Teri Reeves—Jenna Kivela

Teri is a Northern California native, has lived in Houston, Texas, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Teri holds a fourth degree brown belt in brazilian jiu jitsu from Professor Romulo Barral. She is a certified personal trainer, sucker for black coffee, yoga, and early morning weight lifting. She is also a classically trained pianist and has been playing since she was five.

Inspired to be an actress as a young girl watching Katherine Hepburn in 'The Philadelphia Story', she was shy about pursuing a career in the field. Teri started as a math major at UC Santa Barbara but on a whim auditioned for the acting program. She got in. Her fate was forever changed.

She studied to be an actress in the BFA theater program at UC Santa Barbara and the MFA theater program at UC San Diego.

Teri recurs as Dorothy in ABC's "Once Upon a Time", was series regular Dr. Hallie Casey opposite Jesse Spencer in the first season of NBC's 'Chicago Fire', and starred as KJ Jameson in Hulu's first original scripted show 'Battleground'. Recurring, guest, and co-star credits also include Grey's Anatomy, Castle, Scandal, NCIS, NCIS:Los Angeles, Undercovers, Medium, Rules Of Engagement, Three Rivers, The Forgotten, Numbers, and General Hospital. She has also appeared in several independent films.

Teri is proud to be a producing member of the Ovation Award winning Chalk Repertory Theatre where she frequently appears in stage productions.

$7,000 Raised
119% towards $5,877 Goal

Supported by 13 Donations:

  • Silhouette
  • Jimi A.
    I Gave $55
    6000 is a nice number! I gave 55 to get there:) The Dangerous Rabbit Band really Rocks!!
  • Silhouette
  • Familia L.
    I Gave $250
    We want to support our community and the making of cool films.
  • Paul H.
    I Gave $50
  • Mary M.
    I Gave $25
    Go, Marika!
  • Silhouette
    Can't wait to see you and watch this come together!
  • Silhouette
    I Gave $150
  • Silhouette
    I Gave $5,000
  • Morag M.
    I Gave $75
    Donating in the name of Hugo Martin for his xmas present! (so don't ask for anything else little brother)
  • Silhouette
  • Silhouette
    I Gave $250