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About The Project
About a Donkey is about growing up & growing old, and finding love & laughter along the way. The film follows the Owens family: Ann & Tim, their 3 adult children, Cecilia, Burgh, and Annie (and her husband Paul), and matriarch Farrah. When Tim brings home a donkey in a mixture of wanting to rescue both it and himself, things are shaken up in each of the characters' lives.
The films quirky but relatable nature has been referred to as a little Little Miss Sunshine meets Gilmore Girls, but with a donkey, and a strong focus on inclusion (both in front of and behind the camera)! We're strong believers in being the change -- reflecting the world as we want to see it. With this film, our mission is to combat hate with humor and heart.
- "The themes of growing older, mid-life depression, and generally figuring out one's adult life were poignant and relatable. The idea of using a donkey bought on a whim is a novel, whimsical and interesting one, and adds to the dark comedic tone of the piece. The concept is unique and speaks to the various struggles of finding one's identity and purpose." -Blue Cat Screenplay Contest (Feedback, 2016)
- "A great title, a unique and interesting family dynamic, good characters..." -Slamdance Screenplay Contest (Feedback, 2016)
- Semi-Finalist - LA Comedy Shorts Fest (Feature Screenplay Competition) (2013)
- Grand Prize Winner: Comedy Division - New York Screenplay Contest (2012)
Three of the film's characters and much of our crew & cast are members of the LGBTQ+ community. We as a team are supporters of the mission of The Trevor Project. If we make our full goal or exceed it, we will be donating 5% of the total cash we raise to this organization.
Our $20,000 goal is the bare minimum needed to get the film made at a production quality everyone involved can be proud of and avoid exploiting the work of all production members.
- If we raise $25,000, we'll be able to have contingency funds in place should anything go wrong, as well as cover our post-production costs.
- If we raise $30,000, we'll be able to cover our festival, distribtion and promotional costs for completing and getting the film into the world and in front of a wider audience.
- If we raise $40,000, we'll be able to pay our director and producers (who are currently sacrificing pay for their work out of passion for the project and its message). And we'll be able to offer our team more respectable day rates, as they are all working for far below average - also out of passion for the project and its message.
Thank you for being part of this campaign and joining us in the making of this film!
MEET THE CHARACTERS
Christina Shea-Wright as Cecilia
Cecillia is a good-hearted, sarcastic, lady-loving woman who is currently unemployed. She passes her days spending time at her grandmother's nursing home coming up with new inventions to help the elderly. She's been single for a while, so when she meets the new-to-town caretaker, sparks start flying.
More about Christina: https://www.backstage.com/christinasheawright/
Ben Kaufman as Burgh
Burgh is a charming prankster who works in Broadcast and is currently seeing Cassie, a local politician who also happens to be his sister Annie's nemesis. As the middle child, he has always struggled with balancing keeping in touch with his inner kid and taking action when he needs to commit.
More about Ben: https://www.backstage.com/benkaufman/
Alexandra Clayton as Annie
Annie, the youngest of the bunch, is on maternity leave from her work as a teacher and on the verge of having her first baby with her husband, Paul. She is an animal advocate and people pleaser. Though arguably the most level-headed of the family, she has been known to go to great lengths to keep everyone smiling.
More about Alexandra: http://alexandraclayton.com/
Katherine Wessling as Ann
Ann has been battling depression for a while, which has caused her to be mostly house-ridden, feeding into her self-pity. Because of this, her relationship with her family has suffered. She misses the husband that used to care for her, but she can't deny that they've both changed. When the donkey comes into their lives she feels replaced, causing her to evaluate her own behavior and choices.
More about Katherine: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3322555/
Peter Jensen as Tim
Tim grew up on a farm and his style lets you know that farm-life was the American dream he strived for. (Though he made his living selling insurance.) He’s quiet, thoughtful, and lately has been feeling pretty empty. After spotting a similarly sad looking donkey at a roadside market, he decides to take her home and make her part of the family.
More about Peter: http://www.peterjensen.nyc/
Ricardo Manigat as Paul
Paul is a software engineer currently working in a startup dedicated to improving the US school system. He has always loved children and is over the moon to be having his first child with his wife, Annie. Because of his charm and sensibility, he was quickly embraced by Annie's whole family. He has become the voice of reason, though he has always had a soft spot for Anne's father Tim and his whims.
More about Ricardo: https://about.me/ricardo24
Ellen Graff as Farrah
Farrah clings to her peace and love days, where drugs were fun and AIDS was not yet in existence. She’s got that wisdom that comes from getting older and a frugal trait that comes from never relying on a significant other to provide financial security. Since the death of her wife, she has lived in the local nursing home and longs for her grandkids to have passionate, fulfilled lives.
More about Ellen: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5235045/
Sarah Haruko as Cassie
Cassie is a winner through-and-through. She's a little overzealous and overconfident, but often the smartest person in the room. She's currently running for City Council, and getting pretty tired of keeping her relationship with Burgh a secret from his sometimes overbearing family.
More about Sarah: http://www.sarahharuko.com/
Elisha Mudly as Jordan
Jordan has a very deep care for the elderly and those in need. She recently moved to the States to start fresh after a breakup and is currently working at Farrah's nursing home. Meeting Cecilia offers a welcome change of scenery, and Jordan finds herself drawn to the company.
More about Elisha: https://www.backstage.com/elishamudly/
Nabil Viñas and Dana Scurlock as our local police officers who encounter the donkey-fueled hijinks involving the Owens family.
More about Nabil: http://nabilvinas.com/
More about Dana: http://danascurlock.com/
Inclusion StatementOur film is made up of an inclusive cast of characters - both within the film and behind the scenes, but predominantly featuring women. In our film, love is love, people's lives and desires are relevant no matter their age, and struggling with depression is acceptable and normal.
About This Team
DIRECTOR - PRODUCER
Christina Raia is a New York City based Writer/Director, the Founder of CongestedCat Productions LLC & a Crowdfunding Specialist at Seed&Spark. She won Best Director for her feature film, SUMMIT, at the Rhode Island International Film Festival's Vortex Fest, and the film won Best Horror Film at the Manhattan Film Festival. It was released on VOD in 2016. She co-created, directed and produced the comedic web series Kelsey, which premiered on blip.tv in September 2013 to rave reviews and consistent press coverage, including as a Critic’s Pick and named one of the 19 Best Comedy Web Series of 2013 by Indiewire.com. It has over a quarter million hits online. Her other credits as Director, Producer and Writer include multiple narrative short films that have made official selection at film festivals across the country. In addition to Indiewire, her work and approach as a filmmaker have been covered by the Examiner, AfterEllen and BuzzFeed. She also turned her desire to foster collaboration and engagement in the local film community into IndieWorks, a monthly film screening series showcasing and supporting the work of other independent filmmakers in New York. She is currently working on her second feature film, About a Donkey.
WRITER - PRODUCER
Kelsey Rauber is a New York City-based screenwriter and creative producer. She won first place in the New York City Screenwriting Festival, Comedy division, of 2012 for her feature screenplay "About a Donkey," as well as making semi finals in the 2013 LA Shorts Comedy Screenplay Competition for the same script. As of 2015, Kelsey is co-owner of CongestedCat Productions LLC, which was founded by Christina Raia. As creative partners, she and Christina created the hit web series "Kelsey." It became a critical and viral success leading to a successful crowd funding campaign, where they raised 120% of their original goal. Under the CongestedCat umbrella they've gone on to collaborate on two shorts, a pilot, and currently the feature film production of her screenplay, About a Donkey.
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR - ASSOCIATE PRODUCER - EDITOR
Matt Gershowitz is a CongestedCat Productions team member as an Editor and Assistant Director. His main aspiration is to continue working with good people and beinging part of productions to be proud of.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Peter Westervelt is a frequent collaborator of CongestedCat. About A Donkey will be his ninth project as Director of Photography with the company. Other notable projects include Growing Down, a web series, and Meme, his first feature film.
Nicole Solomon is a writer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn. Her previous work in art direction and production design includes Small Talk, Beneath the Black Moon, Honk! Honk! and the upcoming film Meme and webseries BKPI.
1ST ASSISTANT CAMERA - Diana Molina
1ST ASSISTANT CAMERA/GAFFER - Jeanette Sears
2ND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR/2ND ASSISTANT CAMERA - Erin Clayton
2ND ASSISTANT CAMERA - Kimberly Drew Whiten
GAFFER - Jeff Davis
LOCATION SOUND - Will Graham
HAIR & MAKEUP - Elizabeth Zambrano (Assistance by Ciarra Walker)
LOCATION SCOUT & CATERER -Marlene Mungalsingh
Special Thanks beyond the film's team:
B Productions (Cat Papadimitriou & Chris Haddix)
4milecircus (Sean Mannion)
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