Short Film: MOLLY’S LIGHT, 7min., USA, Family

Directed by Andrew Cohen
This film celebrates the memory of Molly Steinsapir, a 12-year-old with a deep and creative spirit, who tragically lost her life in February 2021. Her extended friends and family came together to fund, produce and animate a poem she wrote for a school assignment – “Where I’m From” – as a surprise for her Mother, presented on the 1 year anniversary of Molly’s passing. Now the completed film is being used to bring awareness to the Molly Steinsapir Foundation and spread her light far and wide.

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Director Biography

A first-time filmmaker, Noah Pollack is a media consultant and the founder of MAP Media. An award winning producer and network executive Pollack has both extensive domestic and international programming experience, selling and producing series at four of the American broadcast networks, launching the highest rated shows on two separate cable channels and producing a wide array of digital series.

Prior to founding MAP, Pollack served in senior leadership roles within Comcast/NBCUniversal, Viacom, A&E Networks, Bunim/Murray Productions and All3 America. Recognized by the Hollywood Reporter as one of their “35 Under 35,” A first time filmmaker, Pollack is also a frequent guest lecturer and panel moderator, created and hosted the industry leading podcast, EXEC/PRODUCER, and most recently, the co-founded of the bi-partisan voting initiative, GOOD TO VOTE.

A lifelong Angelino and graduate of UC Berkeley, Pollack resides in Los Angeles with his wife, two daughters and rescued pooch.


Marius Markevicius is an award-winning filmmaker and president of Sorrento Productions, a feature film production company based in Santa Monica, CA. Marius directed and produced “ASHES IN THE SNOW”, the film adaptation of the New York Times best-selling novel “Between Shades of Gray”. The film premiered at the L.A. Film Festival and received theatrical distribution from Vertical Entertainment.

Marius directed, produced & wrote Sundance documentary feature film “THE OTHER DREAM TEAM.” The film was distributed internationally by Lionsgate Films and Disney. “THE OTHER DREAM TEAM” was nominated for Best Documentary of the Year by the Producer’s Guild of America. Marius received an Order of Merits from the President of Lithuania for his work on the film.

He was a co-producer on “LIKE CRAZY,” the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize-winning film starring Felicity Jones and Jennifer Lawrence. Other producing credits include “ONE NIGHT” starring Anna Camp; Sundance film “DOUCHEBAG”; and, “THE WAY BACK,” directed by Peter Weir and starring Ed Harris, and Colin Farrell. He is currently directing and producing a documentary film on UFC champion “Thug” Rose Namajunas.

He attended the University of California at Berkeley majoring in Business Administration at the Haas School of Business. Marius also attended the University of California Los Angeles where he received a Master’s Degree in fine arts (MFA) from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

Director Statement

It was January 31, 2021, almost one year into the most challenging time in modern human history. The onset of Covid and the amount of pain and loss that so many people endured felt unprecedented, but it was a new year, we had a new administration, vaccines were on the immediate horizon and we all tried to maintain the hope and feeling that better times were just up ahead…and then, like the universe’s greatest ever punch in the gut…the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone we know happened.

In the blink of an eye, the life of one of our best friends would never be the same. His 12 year-old daughter, Molly, suffered a severe brain injury as a result of a bicycle accident. She was placed in an induced coma, but after 16 days of bravely fighting for her life, she was gone. Our friend, Jon, his wife, Kaye, and their two younger sons lost a daughter and sister and sank into a state of shock and intense grief.

As friends, we knew we had to spring into action. The instinct was of course to help, but how? Send food? Sure. Clean up? Of course! Stay up late to drink, talk and cry? Yes, yes and yes! All of the above are wonderful gestures and everyone from our tight group of friends was happy to oblige, but the deeper question was how to help in a more meaningful and permanent way to fill this forever hole in their world.

Our friend group is tight, with many of the core relationships going back to kindergarten. Join any time after college and you may never get full member rights. It’s also a group with a diverse range of jobs and careers, so if you need help or a specific question answered, the solution is likely there with someone you’ve known since the lunch tables. There are educators, there’s a cop and this being Los Angeles, there are of course, filmmakers. So just as we have leaned on our friends for specific professional guidance, it became clear that it was now our turn to be the helpers by stepping up and making something to memorialize Molly and assist the family through their grief. A key question remained though, what exactly were we going to make?

Molly Steinsapir was not your typical kid. A deeply feeling and emotive young woman who questioned everything and fiercely debated the complexities and hypocrisies of adult behavior and power dynamics. It was these deep-thinking thoughts which inspired her to become a vegetarian at a young age and to write letters to would-be voters in swing states. Other kids have pictures of sports stars and marvel superheroes on their walls. Molly’s room has an RBG plush doll.

When Molly’s friends read one of her poems at her funeral, it all came into focus. These words, Molly’s words, already so visual and profound, simply needed to be three dimensionalized. There was no blank page for the writer to stare at because the hard word of writing had already been done – by Molly – and it was simply our duty to bring Molly’s words to light…so that’s what we did. With permission from Molly’s father, we got to work, assembling a dream team of friends and artists to bring Molly’s profound words to light, including another one of our core friends who made the music which so perfectly compliments the film.

The greatest help of all though came from Molly’s brothers, both her then 10 year old brother, Nate, who knew her best and whose deep knowledge and love for his sister provided a level of authenticity that we never could have achieved on our own and her then 5 year old brother, Eli, who graciously guided us around the family’s home and into Molly’s room for the tour of a lifetime. Standing in Molly’s room provides a clear and distinct window into her soul, so when Eli pointed out the window and told us that “she’s right out there…on the other side” it was impossible to dispute.

Up until the tour of the room, we had debated what story we could tell beyond the animation of the poem itself. That alone would have been enough, but we knew we could do better and it was only after Eli’s otherworldly tour, Nate’s honest scrutiny, Jon’s absolute trust and Kaye’s unknowing blessing that we were able to complete the film.

We gifted MOLLY’S LIGHT to the family on the anniversary of her passing and true to their daughter’s spirit, the family decided to share the film with the world as a means for helping others to heal. Molly may no longer be with us in the physical world, but continues to impact others with a light that shines far, wide and forever!!!


By feedbackanimationfestival

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