Hearts Want

: Narrative Feature
GENRE: Drama
STATUS: Development


Two former lovers who reunite for a play by their terminally-ill mentor face the consequences of a secret that could change their lives forever.


Lily puts her Hollywood career on hold to return to her UK hometown to lead her dying mentor Martin's swan song. The play reunites Lily with her former lover Jacques, whom she left abruptly seven years prior. The reunion leads to a life-altering decision and a chance for personal redemption the three of them have long sought for.


A second chance at love and redemption are the core themes of Hearts Want. Jacques and Lily leave an imprint on each other’s hearts that’s hard to shake even after they’ve been separated for years. The world could use more evocative love stories that are uplifting, entertaining, moving, as well as inspiring. A good love story can make people reflect on their personal journey while also sweeping them off their feet.

The idea of this film is partly inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which tells a story about lost love and second chances. Even though Austen’s novel is set in the Regency era, there are universal elements that are applicable to today’s relationships. That said, I flip the main roles that would reflect modern sensibilities by making the female protagonist the one who has come a long way career-wise. As a writer of color and an immigrant, I often have to balance two worlds. I have a strong personal connection to other women of color who don’t always feel like they belong. Inspired by competent women in my own life, my protagonist’s journey is difficult, even deeply painful at times. However, she manages to make the best of it. Diversity and inclusion are integral in my own personal and professional life, hence the ethnically diverse characters portraying roles that defy stereotypes.

Escapism is also essential in a movie. As the world hasn’t quite come out of this seemingly endless pandemic, travel has become even more of a luxury where people need to escape vicariously through the movies. We want to be transported to another world through the art of cinema. 

As a longtime patron of live theater, Hearts Want is a celebration and love letter to the world of theater. I believe today’s current climate is more open to female-driven stories, including stories of those who forge their own paths. Hearts Want addresses issues about women having a choice in regards to sexuality and parenting. It also shows a woman who refuses to accept abusive behavior and womanizing ways, even from a man she loves. At the same time, this is not a male-bashing story that pushes the stereotype of ‘men as predators and women as victims’ as there are supportive male figures in Lily’s life. We currently live in such a divisive society. This story shows that despite past grievances, people can still come to an understanding without vilifying the other person.


Christina Baldwin - Director
Christina Baldwin is a director, writer, adapter, producer, and performer. Her collaborations range from Shakespeare and contemporary plays, musical theater and opera, film, and live theater. An advocate of new work, she develops new plays, musical theater, and opera with the likes of the Ojai Playwrights Conference, The Playwrights’ Center, Nautilus Music-Theater, and The Moving Company. A collaborator with the Tony Award-winning Theatre de la Jeune Lune for nearly 10 years, Christina co-adapted and performed the title role in their critically-acclaimed touring production of Carmen. She writes, adapts, and directs operas. Recently, Christina was the librettist for “In the Midst of Things” with An Opera Theatre and directed the virtual work “Everything Comes to a Head” with Lyric Opera of the North and the nationally-acclaimed Decameron Opera Coalition (selected to be a part of the Performing Arts COVID-19 Response Collection in the Library of Congress). Christina has been a recording artist and vocalist with the Minnesota Orchestra, a writer/actor on NPR’s “Wits” and "A Prairie Home Companion,” acted in numerous films and television, and has lent her voice to animated short films by the Dutch filmmaker Rosto A.D. (Cannes Film Festival award-winner).

Ben Enke - Cinematographer
Ben is a South Korean native, and Minneapolis resident. Minneapolis has been his home for nearly his entire life, minus the six months from birth in South Korea before he was adopted. In college, he took all the years of watching DVD behind-the-scenes extras and put it into something tangible. A winding road led him to cinematography, largely by accident. He found a love for being behind the camera and making creative and technical decisions that supported others instead of being the one with the entire plan. Now, as a full-time freelancer, he has collaborated with so many humans, brands, and companies, many of which have taken him to places and experienced things he'd never imagined being possible. Ben is drawn to stories that explore the human condition and the emotions all of us share as a collective. He loves both grounded and abstract visuals. Above all else, he hopes to create images that resonate with people, even if they don’t know exactly why they feel the way they do. He loves hockey, fun cars, and Star Wars. He sings and dances, sometimes on set. Portfolio: https://benenke.com/work

Joanne Liebeler - Producer
A nationally recognized expert on home improvement, Joanne has hosted four television series in the home improvement and design genre. As a producer and project manager, she has served as an executive producer on a Travel Channel series, developed and pitched television shows, produced and wrote programs, and managed dozens of video projects. Her credits include History Channel, TLC, HGTV, PBS, DIY, Fox, and the Travel Channel. She served as executive producer of PBS’s ‘Hometime’ (Home Improvement Series), ‘Monsterquest’ and ‘Passport to Design’ documentary series, as well as one of the producers of ‘Hearts Want’ short film. She also served as the President of Minnesota Women in Film and Television.

Kelly Lamplear-Dash - Producer
Kelly is an award-winning producer of documentary films and short narrative films. The focus of her documentary films has been on historic figures/events. Her narrative work has largely been based on true stories. Accumulatively, Kelly’s films have been screened in over 100 film festivals all across the world. During this past decade, she worked with Al Milgrom, the founder of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Film Society and MSPIFF, on several documentary film projects. She also produced a variety of shorts written and/or directed by women. She is a current member of Film Independent.


Connect With The Filmmakers:


The Gotham Film & Media Institute - Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2023
Hearts Want short won the Best Audience Award at 2017 Twin Cities Film Fest


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