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Mama Bears

Directed by:

Daresha Kyi


90 minutes

Did you know there are more than 32,000 mothers in America — many from conservative, Christian backgrounds — who fully accept their LGBTQ+ children? They call one another “mama bears” because of the ferocity with which they fight for their children’s rights.


Friday, June 14, 2024 at 7:00 PM

Saturday, October 28, 2023 at 7:15 PM


On-Demand (WA Only). October 30 - November 5

Mama Bears Official Trailer

This film is sponsored by:




Mama Bears is an intimate, thought-provoking exploration of the journeys taken by Sara Cunningham and Kimberly Shappley, two “mama bears” whose profound love for their LGBTQ children has turned them into fierce advocates for the entire queer community,  and Tammi Terrell Morris, a young African American lesbian whose struggle for self-acceptance perfectly exemplifies why the mama bears are so vitally important.


Spread across the country but connected through private Facebook groups, they also call themselves “mama bears” because while their love is warm and fuzzy, but they fight ferociously to make the world kinder and safer for all LGBTQ+ people. Although some may have grown up as fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, mama bears are willing to risk losing friends, family, and faith communities to keep their offspring safe—even if it challenges their belief systems and rips their worlds apart.

Mama Bears



filmmaker-Luke Stirtz.png

Daresha Kyi

filmmaker-Luke Stirtz.png

filmmaker-Luke Stirtz.png

Daresha Kyi is an Emmy Award–winning director who also writes and produces films and television in Spanish and English. A graduate of NYU Film School, Mama Bears is her second feature documentary. In 2018 she was commissioned by the ACLU to direct Trans In America: Texas Strong, which garnered over 3.5 million views online, screened at SXSW, and won two Webby Awards and an Emmy for “Outstanding Short Documentary.” Texas Strong is a stand-alone short that also serves as a proof of concept for Mama Bears.

In 2017 she co-directed and co-produced Chavela, a multiple award-winning documentary about iconic singer Chavela Vargas that was distributed domestically by Music Box Pictures, screened in over 40 countries, and was recently ranked the Number One Latin American Documentary of the Decade by CineArte magazine. She has also produced Dispatches From Cleveland, Kristina Wong’s How Not to Pick Up Asian Women, and Emmy-winning writer Kevin Avery’s comedies The Whizz and Thugs, The Musical.

Daresha’s films have been funded by ITVS, NEA, NYSCA, the Jerome Foundation, and numerous others. A former fellow in the Firelight Media Documentary, Chicken & Egg Eggcelerator, Creative Capital, and A Blade of Grass programs, Daresha has an extensive background producing content for FX, WE, AMC, Telemundo, and FUSE, among other networks.



Daresha Kyi


Michael Ehrenzweig, Supervising Producer

Maximina Juson, Consulting Producer (as Maximina Juson Revis)

Daresha Kyi,Producer

Laura Tatham, Producer

Lois Saint-Jacques, Associate Producer

Executive Producers

Tiffany Boyle

Sally Jo Fifer

Scotch Ellis Loring

Kathryn M. Moseley

Chris Panizzon

Patty Quillin

Elsa Ramo

James Shani

Lois Vossen


Gil Talmi


Amy Bench


Kelly Creedon

Hajer Salem

Sound Department

Richard Brian Galyean, Sound Mixer

Camera and Electrical Department

Alexxiss Jackson, Additional Camera

Maximina Juson, Additional Camera (as Maximina Juson Revis)


Mariah Marasco

Editorial Department

Iliana Garcia, Co-Editor

John Petersen, Colorist

Music Department

Andrew Gross, Music Supervisor

Maddy Rose Weisman, Music Editor

Additional Crew

Patrick Blood, Legal Counsel To Asylum Films

Justine Jacob, Legal Counsel

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