Animated inspiration: Santa Clarita 13-year-old creates film aimed at empowering women

Kalia Love Jones, 13, directed her first animated short film, "The Power of Hope," which is set to be debuted at the 2020 Shorts by the Sea Film Festival in September. Courtesy
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At 13, Santa Clarita resident Kalia Love Jones is already no stranger to hard work. 

In between schoolwork, training as a gymnast, piano lessons and playing the flute in honor band, Kalia has found time to make a film aimed at empowering women. 

The ambitious filmmaker recently directed her first animated short film, “The Power of Hope,” which tells the story of a young woman with big dreams.

“It’s about a girl who is trying to become an architect, but as she’s trying to reach her goal, a bunch of obstacles are getting in her way, so she tries to overcome those obstacles to reach her goal,” Kalia said. “I wanted to show the film through animation because it felt like the best way to engage people my age, but I also really love animation.”

“The Power of Hope,” an animated short film, tells the inspirational story of a young woman with big dreams and was directed by 13-year-old Kalia Love Jones. Courtesy

Not only did Kalia want the story to be inspiring, but she also wanted it to depict some of her own passions, including art.

That’s why she chose to make the main character an architect, a career she considers an art form, where you can design a building that then becomes a reality. 

“I love art, I love drawing, and I like music,” she added. “Those are probably my favorites because they have their own ways of telling stories, but I also like gymnastics, which has its way of teaching hard work.” 

As an eight-year gymnast, Kalia has put that work-hard mentality to good use, spending much of the past two years working to create the production with the support of her family. 

Kalia Love Jones, a 13-year-old budding filmmaker, also enjoys showing her creativity in other forms, such as gymnastics. Courtesy

“I started with the idea, writing the story and creating the characters,” Kalia said, adding that she used some of her favorite women leaders as inspiration for the story. “There’s a lot, but I think some of my favorites would be women who work in the film industry, like Rebecca Sugar, Ava DuVernay or Oprah, because I want to be one of those women (someday).”

In the film, the main character is inspired by the words of Michelle Obama, using them as motivation to follow her dreams amid her struggles. 

Funding a majority of the production on her own by recycling and working odd jobs for her family and friends, Kalia says the hard part was finding people to help work on the film.

“It didn’t seem like a lot of people wanted to work with a 13-year-old, so finding people took a really long time,” she added. “We had to email people and go out to colleges.” 

Kalia Love Jones, 13, directed her first animated short film, “The Power of Hope,” which tells the inspirational story of a young woman with big dreams. Courtesy

After finding about a dozen people willing to help, the group got to work. 

As the film’s director, Kalia managed the creative aspects of the project, visualizing her script to direct the animator, and with Kalia’s guidance, she says they did a wonderful job of bringing the story to life.

Now, the film is finally complete and set to debut at the 2020 Shorts by the Sea Film Festival in September.

With a goal of making a positive mark on the world, Kalia says she hopes the film inspires other young girls such as herself to push through their own obstacles in pursuit of their dreams.

For more information on the film, visit @ThePowerOfHopeMovie on Instagram.

“The Power of Hope,” an animated short film, tells the inspirational story of a young woman with big dreams and was directed by 13-year-old Kalia Love Jones. Courtesy

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