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My Protector

11:00 AM

April 19, 2024


Diana Mills Smith




In a land where machines hunt Earth’s last survivors, the stubborn child of a vulnerable family is forced to prove herself as a protector.



Diana, daughter to missionary parents who traveled across America and Africa, has had the unique experience of learning to grow in diverse new worlds.

She completed her studies at AFDA Johanesburg, winning Best Film and Director in her graduation project, then directly entered the commercials industry as an Director’s Assistant and Storyboard Artist undwer some of South Africa’s leading directors and producers. Her 2020 science fiction short OASIS released online after a successful festival run to over 1 million views and was acquired by the sci-fi short platform DUST.

Diana has been fortunate to have teamed with local industry giants who have become frequent collaborators in Audio Militia, Panavision, Panalux, Black Ginger, and Left Post Productions. 

Her latest proof of concept “My Beskermer” premiered at the Afrikaans festival Silwerskerm Fees 2022 where her team was nominated for four categories and won Best Director and a Special Mention award.


While the film is packaged in this high octane and visually spectacular world, its heart has always been grounded in the story of its characters. Spectacle is no substitute for characters that resonate with audiences.

Since the initial conceptual stage of this film, it has been an incredibly personal story to me. I came out as a Trans Woman during the development of this project. We pitched the film as “a coming of age story in the wake of the apocalypse”. I felt my personal story was “A coming out in the wake of the pandemic”.

My Beskermer is not a Trans narrative, but throughout the writing and developing of this story there are echoes of many things I’ve learned about myself.

Art has always been a way I could express myself when I didn’t feel I could in the real world. This story however was written during the most vulnerable time of my life. The more I wrote about this character, the more I realised that her character development was the very thing missing in my own life.

Our story follows a young girl who felt she had to prover herself to her family. To her sister and the legacy of her parent. She carries these “cyber scars” on her body that she is deeply ashamed of. (At a young age she was attacked by a killer machine. Her father had to use cybernetics to keep her alive).

She believes they are the reminder that she is weak and vulnerable. That she’s not enough. She goes on this epic journey to find the missing piece for her family’s robot guardian project. “A journey to erase those scars.” Ultimately what Tink learns is that the missing piece to be a family protector had always been within her. She does not learn to erase those scars, but to embrace them.

I spent a long time being ashamed of who I am. My journey has been long and difficult but it has become one of self love. I am grateful for the film as I had the ability to pour my emotions and experience into a project that means so much to me. It might be an especially meaningful story to myself but there are already so many people who have connected to it too.

The crew were passionate about bringing this story to life because they could see themselves in it. It’s a story of courage and overwhelming obstacles. It has scale, action and heart. My personal journey may be unique but this story is universal. Its message for anyone whose ever felt like they were not enough. You are. Embrace it.

You are everything you need to be to save the day.






English / Afrikaans


South Africa




Diana Mills Smith

Executive Producer:


David Franciscus


Diana Mills Smith, David Franciscus


Rick Joaquim



Shamilla Miller, Jazmine Ryan, Indiana Jones Jr. Jr. Francinstein, Christy Morcos, Hein De Vries,

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