The universal appeal of ‘See The Light’

Veronica Dillard

Veronica Dillard

Chicago actor
Veronica Dillard
explains how a
tragedy can bring
hope to any
“age, race,
or gender”

Chicago-produced short film See the Light will make its Windy City debut during the Women Behind the Lens program at the Chicago South Side Film Festival this Saturday. Recently awarded Best Inspirational Film at the Anaheim Film Festival, the 20-minute story offers “more than a movie,” says Veronica Dillard, who plays the lead role

“It’s a movement about awareness and mental health,” she continues. “When we had the first screening, people were crying, and many talked about similar situations that they had in the past.”

Dillard stars as Leah, a devoted single mother who loses her child through an unfortunate incident that she blames on herself. Essentially, Leah left her baby unattended for “a second too long.”

The ensuing journey takes viewers on an exploration of grief, hopelessness, and redemption involving “a moment that some people call Divine Intervention.”



Getting to know Leah
Chicago-based writer and director Aretha Tatum, who based See the Light on a story that appeared in a news report, helped Dillard understand her role by asking her to develop the details of Leah’s life.

Aretha Tatum
Aretha Tatum

“She had me go through my own character breakdown,” Dillard recalls. “She asked me, as the character, how old are you? What is your baby’s name? Where do you live? What is your occupation? What are your hobbies? Aretha is so good. She was my first director who’s ever done that.”

Dillard, an experienced actor and comedienne who also works as an Academic Advisor at DePaul University, now describes Leah as though talking about an old friend.

“Leah is a young single mother working two jobs to provide for her baby, provide things that she did not have growing up,” she says. “She’s fun. She’s bubbly. She’s trying to get the child’s father in line to get child support, and her baby’s name is Celeste.”

ALSO READ: The 2019 Chicago South Side Film Festival

Universal appeal
Filmed at APS bookstore in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, See the Light carries a universal message that addresses every flavor of The Windy City’s “big melting pot” of Chicago, according to Dillard.

“Mental illness is not a specific age or race or gender,” she explains. “It affects people across all types of ages, races, and creeds.”

Although she admits that the story is “sad at first,” it concludes on a positive and, ideally, helpful note.

“For people who have struggled with mental illness and thoughts of suicide personally or through a loved one, it’s going to bring up emotion that they have previously encountered,” she says. “On the flip side, it’s going to help people who have struggled go out and seek help.”

An official selection of the Chicago South Side Film Festival, See the Light screens at noon on Saturday at the Studio Movie Grill. For tickets and additional information about the film, click here. To view the full Chicago SSFF schedule, click here.

About Veronica Dillard
Actor and comedian Veronica Dillard is enjoying a very busy and promising year. In addition to earning film festival nominations, she was named among the finalists for CBS’ Audition Spotlight at the That’s Voiceover! Career Expo in Los Angeles. One of her featured films Humanity Without A Home (written by Armon Robinson and directed by Armon Robinson and Rel Torry) is available for viewing on Amazon Prime.

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