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I Believe in Unicorns


Davina is an imaginative and strong-willed teenage girl who often escapes into a beautifully twisted fantasy life. Having grown up quickly as the sole caretaker of her disabled mother, she looks for salvation in a new relationship with an older boy. Davina is swept into a whirlwind of romance and adventure, but the enchantment of her new relationship quickly fades when his volatile side begins to emerge. I Believe in Unicorns takes us on a road trip through the stunning and complex landscape of troubled young love.

Production Notes

I Believe In Unicorns tells the story of an imaginative teenage girl who runs away from home with an older boy, but not even unicorns can save her now.

From Student Academy Award nominated director Leah Meyerhoff (Twitch), Oscar nominated producer Heather Rae (Frozen River), and Emmy Award winning executive producer Allison Anders (Gas Food Lodging), I Believe In Unicorns stars emerging talents Natalia Dyer, Peter Vack (Mozart in the Jungle), Julia Garner (Sin City 2), Amy Seimetz (Upstream Color) and the director's mother Toni Meyerhoff. 

I Believe In Unicorns premiered in competition at SXSW, won the Grand Jury Prize in Atlanta and additional awards from Nashville, Woodstock, Anchorage, First Time Fest and San Francisco Film Society. It is supported by Tribeca All Access, US in Progress, Film Society of Lincoln Center, IFP Emerging Narrative Labs and the IFP Finishing Labs. I Believe in Unicorns was recently nominated for a Gotham Independent Film Award and received a Directing Award from the Adrienne Shelly Foundation.


Director Statement

This is a deeply personal film. I grew up taking care of my mother who has Multiple Sclerosis and has been in a wheelchair since I was two years old. For my debut feature, I returned to my childhood home and cast my mother to be in the film alongside a terrific young actress playing a fictionalized version of my younger self.

I Believe in Unicorns tells the story of a young girl who runs away from home and into the arms of an older boy, only to discover that their new life together is not the fantasy she had imagined. I believe it is important to tell stories with strong female protagonists and wanted to create a character who is raw, vulnerable, and acts based on impulses that she does not yet understand. Through an honest yet artful portrayal of a complex young couple in a difficult relationship, this film hopes to provoke dialogue and show other young people that they are not alone.

- Leah Meyerhoff

Official Selection | Narrative Film Competition | SXSW 2014