Los Angeles Lift-Off 2020
Director: Yasmine Asha
Writer: Yasmine Asha
Producer: Yasmine Asha, Navid Navid
“A young, single mother struggles to make ends meet. Unexpected help comes from the undocumented teen Sofia, who not only saves Crystal‚Äôs life, but also makes her question her anti-immigrant sentiment.‚Äù
United States, 2019. Presidential elections are near and the political climate is unstable. Crystal, a white, conservative single mother, is rooting for Trump. Working two jobs, she still is unable to afford her diabetic son‚Äôs mounting medical bills.
Repeatedly late on rent, her landlord threatens to evict her within three days. Desperate for a solution, Crystal turns to her boss to ask for a loan who offers to help while implying that she sleeps with him in return.
For Crystal, there seems to be no way out. Back in her car, about to begin her late-night shift as a driver, she starts to consider the offer unwillingly when suddenly Sofia, a young Latina, knocks on Crystal‚Äôs window in urgent need of a ride. Arrived at the destination, Sofia asks Crystal to wait for her until she returns in exchange for extra cash.
Time passes by and Sofia doesn‚Äôt seem to be coming back, Crystal, who wants to receive the money she has been promised, decides to confront Sofia. As she knocks on the door, which was left ajar, she sees Sofia‚Äôs handbag on the floor. Hesitant at first, she decides to step inside the house and steal money out of Sofia‚Äôs wallet. While she‚Äôs at it, a tall man catches her and corners her with a gun. Crystal attempts to flee but the situation gets tenser as he forcefully pushes her even further inside. There, she sees Sofia laying unconscious on the ground. In panic, Crystal tries to escape again but the man aggressively pushes her onto the bed and sexually assaults her.
After rescuing Crystal, Sofia collects a black bag and both rush to the door. Shaken up from what had just happened Crystal is deeply upset and repeatedly demands that they call the police. It is at this moment when Sofia reveals that she is an undocumented immigrant and will face deportation if they did. Although Crystal feels no sympathy for the desperate Sofia, she decides not to call the police yet. United by the shared shock, the two women open up to one another, revealing their vulnerable sides in an emotional conversation.
Sofia suggests to drive Crystal home and Crystal, who is exhausted, decides to accept the offer. On the road, Crystal gives in to her much-needed sleep. Sofia notices Crystal‚Äôs eviction note. The next morning Crystal wakes up in panic. She is alone in the passenger seat of her car. With Sofia nowhere in sight, she notices a black bag next to her, with a note on top of it. The note reads “x, Sofia”. Crystal opens the bag and is surprised to discover that it is full of money. Crystal realizes Sofia has saved her life twice. In that moment, someone knocks on her window. The film ends with a shot of Crystal as she is scrolling down the window of her car, facing her demanding landlord once again.