Sweet Honey Child: A Short Thesis Film

A Columbia University Graduate Thesis film about a young boy who seeks unconventional ways to help his mother through her grief.


What is the film about?

Sweet Honey Chile’ is a film about a young boy who is larger than life, but is trapped within the confines of an absurd, suffocating world weighed down by the trappings of poverty and a short fused, short-sighted mother. 

 Honey is comfortable in his own skin and oftentimes more comfortable than the adults around him yet he is constantly caught in situations that beseech him to act and think like an adult well before his time in order to survive. He is a kid entangled in his own imagination and unbridled fascination with superficial fame and playing dress up when he's not fighting.  

Honey’s determination and overflowing love for everyone around him keeps us gripping our seats as we pray he never wakes up to discover the nebulous reality of his mother’s situation. 

Honey is a child beyond his years in spirit who grows up overnight in order to become the man of the house. In the film, Honey is often accompanied and paralleled by a mystical friend, Mr. Jolene, who has triumphed in the face of adversity.

Honey’s single mother Trish, wants what’s right for her son on a primal level but can not see past her own selfish desires to make the right decision for her child in lieu of exploit or smiting out his dreams. In short, Sweet Honey Chile' is a quirky take on survival, embracing identity, parenting, and the power of hope and dreams that are young at heart.


Sweet Honey Chile' grew out of a desire to tell a story about family, love, acceptance, fear, grief, parenting, innocence and survival. The story of Honey is inspired by an enthusiastic, naïve, and, as yet, unburdened girl from reality television who believes she is filling her destiny to become a pageant queen.  The girl’s a winner and Benjamin believes he can be a winner too.  Benjamin, known as and called “Honey”, was born and raised by his young mother in a desolate and arid place in the country. Benjamin and his mother, Trish, have little experience of the world outside their home town but they have a television and they have their dreams.  

Children are very precious to me and are delicate subjects within my films and I am constantly drawn to telling stories where the kids try to beat adults at their own game and challenge their perspectives on life. Children have healing powers and are intrinsically in tune with what is necessary even if it isn't what is desired.  For me, this film is an ode to the unadulterated free spirits of children and their unbridled self-expression. Sweet Honey Chile' is also a small glimpse into how family, friends, and parents all have the ability to make life long imprints upon a child’s perception of themselves. LGBT Awareness and Acceptance is important for our evolution as a society... 

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ----MLK 

Who is on the TEAM?

Talibah Newman- Director/ Writer talibahnewman.com

Talibah is a Graduate MFA student at Columbia University and this is her culminating  directing thesis project. Her previous film, Busted on Brigham Lane was partially funded via kickstarter and is now in the festival circuit after having a successful world premier at the American Black Film Festival this year and recently screening in the Rooftop Films series. She is a recent recipient of the The Princess Grace Honorarium Award. Her family is number one in her life and she loves African Dance, nurturing others, laughing, singing in the rain, and making homemade music videos. 

Amanda Brennan- Co-Writer 

Amanda is a Graduate  M.F.A. student at Columbia University studying directing. On the film: Girls are hard.  Being born a boy that wants to be a girl is even harder.  Recently, a Girl Scout troop in Colorado accepted a transgendered child into their troop causing a boycott of the Girl Scout cookies.  Some believe gender is a choice, some don't.  Either way, the topic of transgendered individuals is timely and relatively unexplored in the narrative filmmaking world, transgendered children even more. The script is subtle and thought-provoking. The real antagonist of the story is fear.  

Hugo Kenzo- Producer 

Hugo Kenzo was born in Brazil, even though most people would say he's from Asia because of his looks. Passionate for life, beaches and cinema, he majored in film for his undergraduate at the renown Universidade de São Paulo in 2009 and has been working in the Brazilian film industry ever since. Credits include 3 feature films, 2 HBO series and many successful shorts. In August 2011, he moved to New York and began his graduate studies as a MFA candidate in the School of the Arts of Columbia University. As a producer, his main goal is to tell stories that fight prejudice and make a change in people's lives - all under budget, of course!

Karen Newman- Producer

Karen Newman has been the director of Head Music for 30 years and has recently entered into the film industry as a producer. She is thoroughly excited about being apart of the Honey Chile' Team and will be a beacon of great support throughout the creative process. She is in love with Jazz and has made it her mission to do right by the Earth and give love to the world in whatever way she can. 

Marc Katz- Cinematographer

Marc is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and has worked on various films across the US as a DP with a unique vision. He majored in Film/TV Production while in school and continued on to pursue the life of a DP full time. He loves traveling and getting his hands dirty. He will do whatever it takes to make sure the project is gorgeously shot and evokes a sense of significant purpose. 

Ema Ryan Yamazaki- Editor 

Ema Ryan Yamazaki is an aspiring editor and documentary filmmaker. She has cut over 25 films ranging from dramatic narratives to commercial content, including Talibah Newman's short film "Busted on Brigham Lane." She currently works as an assistant to Sam Pollard, editor and filmmaker. Ema is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of The Arts. 

How Your DONATION Can help?

  • Location Scouts
  • Tech Scouts
  • Rehearsals
  • Location Fees
  • Permits
  • Insurance 
  • Catering 
  • Equipment 
  • Crew
  • Cast
  • Costumes
  • Production Design 
  • Transportation
  • Gas
  • Sound
  • Craft Services
  • Lodging
  • Editing
  • Color Correction
  • Sound Design 
  • Sound Mixing
  • Composing
  • Deliverables 
  • Expendables 





Team on This Campaign: