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Mama Bears (2023)

Opens on June 16

Director: Daresha Kyi Run Time: 90 min. Release Year: 2022

Country: United States
Language: English

About the film:

World Premiere, 2022 SXSW Film Festival
Winner, Local Heroes Competition, 2022 Cleveland International Film Festival

Spread across the country but connected through private Facebook groups, over 30,000 mothers in America—many from conservative, Christian backgrounds—fully accept their LGBTQ+ children. And they call themselves “mama bears” because while their love is warm and fuzzy, they fight ferociously to make the world kinder and safer for all LGBTQ+ people.

Mama Bears (2023) is an intimate, thought-provoking exploration of the journeys taken by Sara Cunningham and Kimberly Shappley, two “mama bears” whose profound love for their LGBTQ+ children has turned them into fierce advocates for the entire queer community, and Tammi Terrell Morris, a young African American lesbian whose struggle for self-acceptance perfectly exemplifies why the mama bears are so vitally important.

This is the story of women who have allowed nearly every aspect of their lives to be completely reshaped by love. Although they may have grown up as fundamentalist Christians, these mama bears are willing to risk losing friends, family, and faith communities to keep their children safe—even if it challenges their belief systems and rips their worlds apart.

About the filmmaker:

Daresha Kyi is an Emmy Award–winning director from Dayton, Ohio, who also writes and produces film and television in Spanish and English. In 2018, she was commissioned by the ACLU to direct Trans In America: Texas Strong, which garnered over 5 million views online, screened at SXSW, and won two Webby Awards and an Emmy award for outstanding short documentary. In 2017 she co-directed and co-produced the feature-length documentary, Chavela (2017), which was nominated for the Teddy award and won the 2nd place Panorama Audience Award at the 2017 Berlinale, as well as Best Documentary and Audience Awards at Outfest and the San Francisco LGBTQ Film Festival among others. Kyi is a graduate of NYU Film School and studied Directing at the AFI Conservatory.

Her solo feature directorial debut, the documentary Mama Bears (2023), premiered at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival.

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