On Time

A mother must make a difficult decision when she’s late for her job interview.

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Winner – Best Narrative Short Film – Financial Focus Film Festival
Winner – Best Director – Sunscreen Film Festival West
Winner – Best Actress – Grand Off Film Festival, Poland
Winner – 1st Place Student Short Films – Magnolia Independent Film Festival
Winner – 2nd Place Super Shorts Category – Anchorage International Film Festival
Winner – Student Shorts – Denton Black Film Festival
Winner – 3rd Place – Audience Awards Social Political Shorts Film Festival
Finalist – HBO Short Film Competition
Finalist – American Black Film Festival
Finalist – SAG AFTRA Short Film Showcase

Feature Film Screenplay:
Semifinalist – The Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting
Winner – Screencraft Drama Competition
Winner – The Film Empire Diversity Screenplay Competition
Winner – Ivy Film Festival Graduate Feature Competition
Finalist – Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition:
Finalist – Hollywood Talent Summit Screenplay Competition:
1st Round – Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab
2nd Round – Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition
Quarterfinalist – Slamdance Screenplay Competition
Quarterfinalist – Finish Line Script Competition
Quarterfinalist – Screencraft Film Fund
Quarterfinalist – Bluecat Screenplay Competition

Bringing Light to a Problem:
On Time follows the life of Renee Johnson, a mother forced to make a dangerous decision for the sake of her child. Six months unemployed and desperate, Renee realizes this isn’t the life she want for her seven-year-old daughter, Imani. Renee receives an interview for a job, but doesn’t have the funds to keep her in daycare. So on a hot, searing Los Angeles day, Renee leaves Imani in the car as she goes in for her interview. Renee lands the job, but walks outside to find cops breaking into her car to take Imani away. Renee watches as her child is taken away, and she’s arrested for trying to find a better path for herself and her daughter. For many, our protagonist’s only crime was being black, poor, and female. For others, regardless of her situation, her decision was reprehensible. Still, it is not cut and dry. While the inspiration for the story found help, I want to follow the normal trajectory. Where most parents are on their own.

Credits / Collaborators / Cast

Directed by Xavier Burgin
Written by Xavier Burgin & Tiara Marshall

Starring: Inger Tudor, Araija DaCosta, Kevin Craig West, John Marrott, Louis Baker, Wesley Timmons, Kathy Goral, Meredith Riley, Amani Starnes

Produced by Kendra Cole, Tony Ducret, Tim Astor, & Mario Rodriguez
Associated Produced by Jenna Cavelle & Mario Rodriguez
Cinematography by Mario Rodriguez
Assistant Director: Angelica Lopez
Editor: Angelica Lopez
Production Design: Guillermo Ortiz
Makeup Aritst: Yvette Rishton
Sound Operator: Juel Taylor & Karl Soelter
Sound Design: Juel Taylor
Costume Design: Alexandra Friedman
Stunt Coordinators: America Young & Thom Williams

The Making Of

The story behind the film

On Time came into fruition through researching stories of the juvenile dependency court as well as foster families, and foster homes. Many people (and most audiences) have never seen the reunification process for parents and children, children’s court, the workload of children protective services caseworkers, or the overwhelming disparity parents of color find themselves in when dealing with juvenile court. I want to bring these problems out in the open. An audience should leave this film emotionally moved, with an open mind to learning more about the legal system for parents and children in regards to the reunification process.


Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Language: English
Length in minutes: 8:17
YEAR: 2017