Did you know? There are over 6,000 conservatives, Christian
mothers who accept their LGBTQ children.
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Spread all over the country, but connected through private Facebook support groups, they call each other mama bears because of the ferocity with which they fight to love and protect their sons and daughters.

They may have grown up as fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, but when given the choice between their religious beliefs and the lives of their children, mama bears put their kids first. Even though it may challenge everything they’ve been taught, shatter their belief systems, and rip their worlds apart, these courageous women are willing to risk losing friends, family, and faith to keep their children safe.

Mama Bears is a feature documentary that will delve into the stories of LGBTQ people whose lives have been profoundly affected by religious and parental rejection. Currently, in production, the film will focus on the personal details of each family’s life as audiences watch these mama bears go to bat for their children’s rights in an increasingly polarized nation.

It will also delve into the stories of LGBTQ people whose lives have been profoundly affected by religious and parental rejection, to provide viewers with a clear understanding of the absolute need for acceptance.

These true tales, along with vitally important conversations with both affirming and non-affirming theologians and ministers, will form a rich tapestry around the complex intersections of politics, religion, faith, and true, unconditional love.

The Director

Daresha Kyi
Daresha writes, produces, and directs film and television in Spanish and English. In 2017 she co-directed the multiple award-winning films Chavela.

In 2018 she directed Trans In America: Texas Strong for an ACLU web series on transgender rights that garnered over 1.9 million views on YouTube and premiered at SXSW in 2019. She also directed a series of shorts for the Family Independence Initiative about their work empowering families to escape poverty.

Currently, a Chicken & Egg and Creative Capital fellow, this former Firelight Documentary Lab fellow has produced programming for FX, WE, AMC, Telemundo, and FUSE, among others.

The Team

Laura Tatham

Laura has worked as the associate producer for the feature-length documentaries Chavela (Berlinale, 2017) and Dispatches from Cleveland (CIFF, 2017). Laura also acted as the NYC production office manager for Garret Bradley’s America (Sundance, 2019), a series of narrative shorts.



Scotch Ellis Loring
Executive Producer

Scotch Ellis Loring is an actor, writer, producer, director, and singer-songwriter whose career has included everything from musical theater to numerous roles on television and in feature films. He wrote, produced, and directed the web series Faux Show starring Tiffany Haddish and Kim Coles and the short film, WIG, featuring Tim Bagley and Judy Greer.


Hajer Salem_PHOTO CREDIT_ Free Oribhabor
Hajer S. I. Salem

Hajer S. I. Salem is an editor and writer from Starkville, Mississippi. She attended both Louisiana State University and the University of Houston.  She graduated with a double major in Biology and Sociology with a concentration in race relations and ultimately forwent graduate studies in medicine to pursue a career in filmmaking. She is also a recipient of the 2017 Sundance Institute Fellowship for Contributing Editors.

Amy Bench

Amy is a cinematographer and filmmaker. Recently named a “DP on the Rise” by Paste magazine and twice nominated for the Kodak Excellence in Cinematography Award, she lensed the feature films Loves Her Gun, which premiered at SXSW in 2013, The Golden Rut, which premiered at the Austin Film Festival in 2016, and the short Bad at Dancing, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2015.

Set Hernandez Rongkilyo
Impact Producer

Set is Impact Producer for videos and shorts to advance grassroots messaging for  California Immigrant Policy Center. They recently served as Assistant Editor and Impact Producer for PJ Raval’s documentary, Call Her Ganda, which premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and are a 2018 Firelight Impact Producer Fellow, 2017 Soros Justice Fellow, 2017 IDA Emerging Filmmaker Mentorship Recipient, and 2016 at land’s edge Fellow.

Maximina Revis
Maximina Revis
Consulting Producer

Maximina Revis is a filmmaker and owner of HUMovies. Maximina was contracted by the Harlem Children Zone to produce a feature documentary about their story and mission to break the cycle of generational poverty. She is also producing and directing a documentary called The 3/5 Compromise, which will tell the story of The Electoral College and its roots in slavery.

More Video

Mama bear Sara Cunningham and footage that will be used in Mama Bears were featured on ABC's More In Common.

The first sample video we cut for Mama Bears featuring the first Free Mom Hugs Tour.

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Mama Bear Supporters

A. Strauss. Adele Pham. Alex Andrist. Amy Latta. Angela Griffin. Anjanette Levert. Anna Olson. Annette Link. Annette Roberts. Assia Boundaoui. Aurora Gracia. Brandon Kelley. Bryan Fuller. Camille Richardson. Carolita Blythe. Celia Chong Wu. Chantal Bushelle. Christine Dupree. Christopher Racster. Cindy Ebinger. Claudia Levin. Courtney Byrd. Deborah Gallagher. Dr. Swain Eliza Skinner. Elyse Kidd. Erica Tener. Genevieve Wong. Heather Diaz. Holly Schlesinger. Janae Nelson. Janelle Gueits. Janine Sarah Moore. Jennifer Ann Mitchel. Jennifer Blalock. Jennifer White. Jose Manuel Cruz Barragan. Julie Tarneygo. Karen Loewenstern. Kevin Avery. Krestof Kuye Youngblood. Laura Pilloni. Laura Swisher. Lauren Yaffe. Liz Brekelbaum. Liz Herrera. Loira Limbal. Lorene Machado. Marcel Fuentes. Maria Glanzmann. Martina Mehta. Marvin Fentis. Michael Krehan. Michael Rice. Nathalie Archer. Pamela Yates. Paula Heredia. Rika Moya. Robin Parker. Ron Ashford. Sarah Viggiano. Selinde Dulckeit. Shin Hyojin. Smriti Mundhra. Stephanie Castillo. Teresita Castillo. Todd Rutt. Tracey Berger-Davis. Vaishali Sinha. Venus Goicoechea. Vivianne Maduro. Walis D Johnson. Yoruba Richen. Zachary Davis. zanyscienzteachr.