While painting a portrait of indigenous Aeta natives in the Philippines, Ciara Morena, an insecure folk artist, runs out of brown paint to complete her piece. At an art store, she hesitates to pick up the darker brown paint after thinking about her mother’s warnings about becoming too dark under the sun. To top it off, she overhears customers talking about tanning and skin whitening pills and faces a tenant who mistakes her for a facility employee due to her appearance. Fed up with the triggers and microaggressions, Ciara resorts to skin whitening cream after she sees an ad. When the cream arrives the next day, she tests it out and hallucinates flashes of her ancestor, a Kalinga Warrior. As the side effects and hallucinations worsen, Ciara discovers a side effect of the product and must rush to the hospital before it erases every trace of her existence…and her.
Nicole Mairose Dizon is a first-generation Filipina-American writer/director/producer from Baldwin Park, CA, who elevates bold, inclusive storytelling as radical self-care. After she graduated Cum Laude with a Film & Media Studies B.A. from UC Irvine, she worked for Apple TV+, ICM, and Scott Free. Dizon currently works as the Writers’ Production Assistant for Amazon’s Blade Runner 2099. Her magical realism short, Morena, premiered at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and was nominated for a Jury Award at the inaugural Yale Summer Cabaret: Summer of Love Film Festival. In Film Independent’s 2021 Project Involve, she produced Dear Mama… and The Mason Ring. Dear Mama… premiered at SXSW and was awarded a Special Mention by Aspen ShortsFest. The Mason Ring won HBO Max’s 2022 Best Short Film Competition at Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival. When Dizon’s not working, she hikes and watches baseball (Go Dodgers!) and F1.