by Lela Scott MacNeil
October 6th, 2010

This past summer, we screened Elena Greenlee’s gripping short film Mariachi, about a young man struggling to find himself somewhere between his Mexican born parents and and his Brooklyn bred peers.

For her next project, she once again dives headfirst into complex issues of culture and self-definition with Nasceu Maria, a short film about finding your place in a world that doesn’t seem to want you, and how losing your tight grip on reality can sometimes be the best way to find where you belong.

The film centers around, Maria, who recently immigrated to New York City from Brazil to support her aspiring artist boyfriend. As the boyfriend begins to be pulled away from her by the glamorous art world, her already tenuous foothold in the city seems more shaky then ever. After an outing with her four year old daughter goes horribly wrong, they find themselves locked in a luxury department store having lost her wallet, cell phone, and keys.

Amidst their panic, reality begins to slip away, and in it’s place a fantasy private carnival emerges, with Maria and her daughter as the queen and princess. The fantasy becomes exactly what mother and daughter needed to strengthen their grip on the strange city that is now their home.

The script for Nasceu Maria was awarded the 2010 Spike Lee Fellowship Award, and now all she needs is your help to take it from concept to reality.

Learn more and support the project:


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About Rooftop Films

Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.


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