The morning after Yuma’s eighteenth birthday was bittersweet. Yuma’s father had passed away when she was only twelve. He had been her world. He had been traveling for work on the day she was born, when her mother called, he was on Interstate 10 west of Phoenix, Arizona. Her mother asked what he thought they should name her as he passed a sign for the Yuma Parker exit. He said, “Yuma, Yuma Parker, that’s her name”, and so, that was that.
Yuma was crushed when her father died, it took several years to come to a place of acceptance. She wore her father’s wrist watch, much too large for her thin wrist, but she reworked the band and made it work. She was also fond of his old vest, it was the puffy kind, almost like a life preserver, faded yellow with age. The seams around the edges were frayed. Her mother tried to throw it away several times, but Yuma always rescued it, hid it for a few days and then put it right back on.
So, eighteen, an adult now, it didn’t seem possible that she could really be an adult. She had invited several of her friends over the night before and had a great day.
Her mother knocked on the door, pausing before Yuma invited her in.
“Good morning, Hun. Um, we, uh, I need to, uh…” She mumbled as she came in. She had a box in her hand, “a gift, maybe?” Yuma thought. It was an old box, it seemed familiar, Yuma had definitely seen it before. Her mom came in and sat down next to her. She seemed hesitant and uncomfortable.
“What’s wrong, Mom?” Yuma asked.
“Well, you’re eighteen now, and I have something to share with you, honey. It’s not going to be easy to say or to hear, but your father and I always said…” She stopped, looking down at the box in her lap, “Yuma, I love you, and I want you to know that your dad loved you very much.”
Yuma couldn’t imagine what her mother was trying to say, “What is it, Mom?”
Her mother opened the box and pulled out a manila envelope, and very slowly took out a birth certificate, “Yuma, this doesn’t change how I feel about you or how much your father loved you, honey, you, you’re… you’re adopted.”
Yuma stopped breathing, her mind reeled, she felt like she was falling. Adopted? What does that mean? She knew what the word meant, adopted, that’s when someone, someone, she couldn’t put the thoughts together to make them work.
“Adopted.” She said it out loud after several long minutes, taking the paper from her mother’s hand, she looked at it, she saw it there in black and white.
Confusion and surprise turned to anger.
“Why didn’t you tell me before? You’re a LIAR! You made me believe…”
She began to really cry and her words were incoherent.
Yuma tore the birth certificate in half and stormed out of the room crying, slamming the door angrily behind her. Her mother sat on the bed, twirling her wedding ring absently, tears on her face.
The next morning Yuma had packed a small bag of clothes and was up early. She had money that had been inherited from her “father” after he died. She had decided that night, laying in bed, that she would go and find her real mother, her real family. She had taped the birth certificate back together and had some more information in the box her “mom” Linda, as she would now call her, had left in her room.
That morning she left, her whole true life stretched before her, the life she lived until then, was a lie. This journey will stretch her to her breaking point as she faces the harsh reality of domestic violence, on her life and in the lives of some of the people she encounters.
Her most important discovery will be the greatest gift she ever receives.
YUMA PARKER | CASTING A SHORT FILM
The main character, Yuma will be portrayed by multiple people, of both genders and different races. The character will be identified by one or two recurring objects. As in Yuma’s case, she/he will be identified by her father’s yellow puffer vest and wristwatch, that is worn through out the film.
The value in this nontraditional casting will be in introducing the idea that this scenario could happen to anyone, regardless of race or gender. It also gives us flexibility in casting local people in the town/city they live in as we travel to create this project.
The casting call will be done through various social media platforms. We will invite actors to read the scene we will be shooting in their vicinity and post them on Instagram using our hashtag or directly to our site. We will select an actor for the role based on their reading. There will be some parameters, however, such as the person playing the role of Yuma will need to look to be around eighteen, and the other actors will fit a certain type, depending on the role.
We will cast the other characters the same way. There will be some scenes that involve Yuma’s mother speaking on the phone. We will cast different women in that role, with the pearl earrings, necklace and wedding ring as her identifier.
This project needs funding. If you are interested in partnering with me to bring it to life, please contact me: Armando(@)Heredia.ws