• Director

    Esmeralda Seay-Reynolds

  • Country, Year, Length

    United States, 2023, 10:00

  • Category

    Narrative Short

  • Format


  • Festival Year


Film Screening & Ticket Information

When & Where to See this Film!

INTO THE LIGHT: 6 films about trying to be understood.

April 19, 2024 @ 2:00PM • MoMI Redstone

View the Trailer


A young female artist unravels the beautiful facade that painted over her lover’s abuse.


Esmeralda Seay-Reynolds, Director
Esmeralda Seay-Reynolds, Writer
Qinza Malik Khan, Producer
Jade RambautE, xecutive Producer
Renee Nabinger, Director of Photography
Esmeralda Seay-Reynolds, Production Design, Sets, Costumes, & Art
Daisy Spencer, Sound Design & Composition
Eve Pomerance, Casting Director
Esmeralda Seay-Reynolds, Key Cast, “Athena”
Nicole Ansari Cox, Key Cast, “Narrator”
Michael Emery, Key Cast”Matt Narcus”
Rebekah Strauss, First Assistant Director
Isabella Granada, First Camera Assistant
Juliana Alonso, Second Camera Assistant & DIT
Emu Haynes, Gaffer
Autumn Stevens, Key Grip
Nino Benashvilli, Sound Mixer & Boom Operator
Camille Mack Harris, Hair, Makeup, & Prosthetics
Karen Seay, Covid Compliance Officer
Emylia Benavente, Set Production Assistant
Avi Bhaya, Production Assistant
Esmeralda Seay-Reynolds, Editor
Zoe Map, Assistant Editor
Daisy Spencer, Dialogue Editor
Renee Nabinger, Colorist
Nia Chavez, Title Graphics

Director Statement

I created the film, Venus, for the simple reason that it is the film I needed to see, but no one had made – a film about sexual violence, not by a stranger, but by the man you love.

I survived working at a young age in Fashion by being paranoid about men and doing everything I was told would keep me safe – never drinking, holding car keys, keeping one eye open at all times. I did everything “right.”

Then, at twenty, I fell in love with the perfect man – the only man I’d ever agreed to go on even a second date with, because all the others had red flags. But he was a gentleman, smart, funny, and kind. And the first two weeks together were the fairytale I’d been dreaming of my whole life. Then he raped me.

He told me it was a miscommunication, that I wasn’t clear enough when I said “stop” and “no.” And the idea that the man who was so perfect, and my own boyfriend, who loved me, would rape me, seemed… impossible. That narrative wasn’t something I had seen on TV or in film. It was always a “who done it,” and never an “I loved him.”

It’s now been years since we separated, and this film reflects on how something so awful could happen, and then simply continue because of how gray it seems in the moment, versus how in reflection, the manipulation and abuse is crystal clear.

The film also disabuses us of the notion that if women follow the “rules,” and if we’re just “clever enough” to see red flags, we’ll be safe. And that more often than not, the monster isn’t in a hood or a mask, they are just like the rest, and they attack those they know best.

This film means a great deal to me, and I truly believe Venus will help other women whose stories they feel are too gray or unbelievable, to even believe themselves. I am confident that it will bring those same neglected and removed narratives from topics of domestic violence and assault, to the forefront, where they belong, because the statistical fact, not yet represented in film, is that they are the majority of DV/ assault cases, not the minority. Women like me are not alone. And we matter.

Director Biography

Esmeralda Seay-Reynolds is a filmmaker based in New York City, who began her career in the creative field as a high fashion model at fifteen-years-old, traveling the globe for Chanel, Vogue, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and more. During this time, she learned from photographers, stylists, and designers, while herself studying literature and painting in school.

At eighteen, Esmeralda began acting and screenwriting, winning 2nd place in Screencraft’s Sci-Fi contest for her original feature script, “Eat Me!,” and starring in Ric Berns’ upcoming Dante, as three of the female leads, Pia de’ Tolomei, Piccarda Donati, and Francesca da Rimini. Everything she creates comes from a deep personal connection from her admittedly abnormal life — in the case of Dante, she was able to speak in both English and Italian because of her time in Milan for Fendi and other brands, and had in fact read the entire Divine Comedy in airports and backstage at shows.

When not acting or writing, Esmeralda paints and works for artists John Currin and Rachel Feinstein. She continues to write, direct, and act in psychologically and visually driven works, particularly those created by and for women.