March 7-24, 2023

Mama Bears

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Did you know there are more than 32,000 mothers in America — many from conservative, Christian backgrounds — who fully accept their LGBTQ+ children? Spread across the country but connected through private Facebook groups, they call themselves “mama bears” because their love may be warm and fuzzy but they fight ferociously for the rights of all LGBTQ+ people. Although some may have grown up as fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, mama bears are willing to risk losing friends, family, and faith communities to keep their offspring safe—even if it challenges their belief systems and rips their worlds apart.

Mama Bears is an intimate, thought-provoking exploration of the journeys taken by two such two “mama bears.” Sara Cunningham and Kimberly Shappley, and Tammi Terrell Morris, a young African American lesbian whose struggle for self-acceptance perfectly exemplifies why the mama bears are so vitally important.

Filmmaker Biography

Daresha Kyi (Director, Producer) is an Emmy Award–winning director who writes and produces film and television in Spanish and English. A graduate of NYU Film School, Mama Bears is her second feature documentary. In 2018 she was commissioned by the ACLU to direct Trans In America: Texas Strong, which garnered over 4.7 million views online, screened at SXSW, and won two Webby Awards and an Emmy for “Outstanding Short Documentary".

In 2017 she co-directed and co-produced Chavela, a multiple award-winning documentary about iconic singer Chavela Vargas that was distributed domestically by Music Box Pictures, screened in over 40 countries, and was recently ranked the Number One Latin American Documentary of the Decade by CineArte magazine. She has also produced Dispatches From Cleveland, Kristina Wong’s How Not to Pick Up Asian Women, and Emmy-winning writer Kevin Avery’s comedies The Whizz and Thugs, The Musical.

Daresha’s films have been funded by ITVS, NEA, NYSCA, the Jerome Foundation, and numerous others. A former fellow in the Firelight Media Documentary, Chicken & Egg Eggcelerator, Creative Capital, and A Blade of Grass programs, Daresha has an extensive background producing content for FX, WE, AMC, Telemundo, and FUSE, among other networks.



March 7-24, 2023

Tuesday, March 7, 2023 - Cleveland, Mississippi
Bologna Performing Arts Center, Delta State University

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 - Winston-Salem, North Carolina
a/perture cinema

Thursday, March 9, 2023 - Lexington, Kentucky
Living Arts and Science Center

Friday, March 10, 2023 - Nashville, Tennessee
Global Education Center & Fisk University

Saturday, March 11, 2023 - Clemson, South Carolina
The Arts Center of Clemson & Clemson University World Cinema Studies Department

Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - Atlanta, Georgia
Spelman College

Wednesday, March 15, 2023 - Birmingham, Alabama
Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema

Friday, March 17, 2023 - Hapeville, Georgia
City of Hapeville

Monday, March 20, 2023 - Pikeville, Kentucky
University of Pikeville

Tuesday, March 21, 2023 - Sarasota, Florida

Thursday, March 23, 2023 - Miami, Florida
O Cinema

Friday, March 24, 2023 - Wilmington, North Carolina
University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Cucalorus Film Festival, Working Films, and WHQR Public Media