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Lock the Gate, directed by Sarah Galasso, is a short, animated film about the miraculous recovery of Lila Kate, an extremely premature newborn.


The storyboard was created back in 2011, however it was not until 2021, that the timing and funding were right for Sarah to begin production on this film. 

Film Synopsis

After a routine sonogram at Sisters Hospital in Buffalo, New York, Sarah was rushed in to emergency surgery on 06/06/06. After seven weeks and many challenges, her daughter, Lila Kate, was born 3.5 months early, and with an e-coli infection. Because she was so frail and only weighed 2lb, doctors were not sure she would make it through the night. She not only made it through the night, but also survived the next 11 weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit.

In October of 2006, Lila was scheduled to come home. It was Friday the 13th. However, on the same day, Buffalo, New York, was hit with the October “Surprise” Storm, with the earliest recorded snowfall in the history of the city.


This short, 2D animation, is an expression of the true events that happened during those months. It was important to the artist to portray the confusion, shock, isolation, fragmented memories, and intense emotions that take place during a complicated pregnancy and premature birth. Each frame was individually hand-painted in Adobe Photoshop and then composited together in After Effects. Additional work was done in Premiere and Autodesk Maya.

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Lock the Gate (full film)

Stills from Lock the Gate

Screening Schedule
To request Lock the Gate for your festival, please email

Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival:
Official Selection.
Award: Outstanding WNY Animated Film
August 24th @ 8:30pm, Easter Hills Dipson Theatre, Buffalo, NY, USA.

Buffalo International Film Festival:
Official Selection.
Award: Best Animated Film.

October 9th @ 7:00pm, North Park Theatre, Buffalo, NY, USA.

Black Swan International Film Festival:
Award: Animated Film Winner.
October 17th, Kolkata, West Bengal.

Tbilisi International Film Festival:
Official Selection.

November 2nd, Tbilisi, Georgia.

Southampton Film Week:
Official Selection.
Award: Best Documentary.
Award: Solent University Award for Best Animated Film
November 12th, Southampton, Hampshire, UK.

Near Nazareth Festival: Official Selection
December 5th-7th, Afula Givat Hamore, Israel.

As part of my Featured Session: 
Creating a Short, Independent, Animated Film in the
Midst of a Pandemic & Job Transition.

December 8th @5pm, Daegu EXCO, Daegu South Korea.

CREATE: Moving Pictures Festival:
Official Selection.

January 2023, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

International Alexandria Short Film Festival:
Official Selection.
February 10th, 2023, 5 Haroun St, Alexandria Egypt.

LifeArt Festival:
Official Selection.
February 10th, 2023, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Madrid Film Awards:
Official Selection

SPE Media Festival:
Official Selection
March 17-18th, Sheraton Denver Downtown, Denver, Colorado.

Bayamón International Film Festival:
Official Selection
March 21st, Bayamón, 00961, Puerto Rico

Columbus International Film & Animation Festival
Official Selection
April 15th, Columbus, OH.

Blackbird Film Festival:
Official Selection
Award: Best Animated Short
April 29th @ 1:30pm EST. Cortland, NY.

Moscow International Film Festival:
Out of Competition Animation Selection
April 20-27, 2023, 123001, moscow, maly kozikhinsky lane, 11

ASIFA-EAST Animated Film Festival:
Official Selection

May, 2023, New York City.

Wyoming International Film Festival 
Official Selection
July 5-9, 2023, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

UFVA (University Film & Video Association) Conference

Official Selection
Award: Animation - Award of Merit

July 19-21, 2023, Savannah, Georgia.

Love and Hope International Film Festival:
Official Selection
September 15-22, 2023, Barcelona, Spain.

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