Film poster for “SMILE4KIME”. Two hands reach out for each other below the quote "Was there ever a time when you felt like it was too much?"
Film poster for “SMILE4KIME”. Two hands reach out for each other below the quote "Was there ever a time when you felt like it was too much?"
An experimental film about Black women's friendship, mental illness and suicide that imagines ways to transcend time, space, and even death to find hope and resilience


Regular price $129.00


OFFICIAL SELECTION - Indie Memphis Film Festival | LOLA SHORTS AWARD NOMINEE - Philadelphia Latino Film FestivalHONORABLE MENTION JEAN ROUCH AWARD - Society for Visual Anthropology Media and Film Festival

Mental Health & Suicide • Grief • Black Women's Friendship & Experiences  • Spirituality & Healing 

Date of Completion: 2023 | Run Time: 26 minutes​​ | Language: English | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript | Director: Elena GuzmanProducer: Cybee Bloss | Editor: Laura Menchaca Ruiz | Animators: Alex Aldrich Barrett, Pace Fjord, Nour Zein & Cybee Bloss

SMILE4KIME is an experimental documentary that explores the friendship between two women: Kime–a vibrant, unapologetic Black woman who lived with mental illness, and Elena–an Afro Puerto Rican woman and devoted friend coping with grief in the wake of Kime’s death. This story begins as a conversation between Kime and Elena unfolding across time and space. They ask each other about who they are, what they need, and what their future holds. As Kime’s mental health begins to spiral, the film urgently weaves together the past, present, and future in search of answers. Elena’s spiritual practice is a key element in the film, serving as the mechanism that transports Elena (and the viewer) through time and spiritual worlds. Rendered through animation, her altar operates as a portal between the present, the past, and unrealized futures. As we journey to the past, bright, warm, handheld footage depicts Kime and Elena early in their friendship. Here, Kime offers critical insight about her experiences as a Black woman with mental illness navigating the harmful institutions that were meant to support her. In the present, Elena exists in a quiet shadow space. She moves through grief after Kime’s passing, processing guilt and reflecting on the memories of her inability to support Kime when their friendship was “too much.” From this shadow space, a future emerges, rendered through animation and tied to Elena’s altar, a future where they continue to hold and make space for each other.



Elena Herminia Guzman is an Afro-Boricua documentary filmmaker, educator, and anthropologist raised in the Bronx with deep roots in the LES. She received her Ph.D. from Cornell University and is now an Assistant Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies and Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington. Her film work focuses on the metaphysical and ethereal experiences of African diaspora spirituality. She is the director of the film SMILE4KIME, a short film that explores mental health, friendship, and spirituality. She is also co-producing and serving as a cinematographer in a docuseries called Conjure. As a part of her work in film, she co-founded a feminist filmmaking collective called Ethnocine and is a producer of the podcast Bad Feminists Making Films.