Acid Test (feature) Finishing Funds!
Set in 1992, Acid Test follows a teenager's rebellion inspired by aggressively feminist Riot Grrrl music, a volatile family dynamic, and her experimentation with mind-altering LSD as she turns 18 and questions her path, her identity, and what it means to be an adult.
in partnership with
Inclusion StatementAs a female writer/director over 40, I'm committed to diversity both in story content and crew. With a female lead of Mexican descent, many diverse central characters, and over 70% women and/or people of color behind the camera including key roles like DP and AD, we are walking the walk.
About The Project
Set in 1992, Acid Test follows a teenage girl's rebellion inspired by Riot Grrrl music, dysfunctional family, and LSD as she turns 18 and faces adulthood.
Principal photography finished in June and we entering the final stages of post-production! We need $7,500 in finishing funds to hire a sound designer, a visual effects artist, and color grader.
Based on true events (or my memories of being a rebellious teenager) this is a highly personal story that I’m excited to share as my feature film directing debut! As a teenager in the 90s, I vividly remember the mind-blowing experience of watching Bikini Kill on stage and the Riot Grrrl revolution; a movement that was aggressive, unapologetic, energetic, punk, and feminist. Now called 4th-wave feminism, the music inspired me to speak my truth, claim my power, fight for equality, and pursue my dreams.
Over twenty-five years later, many of the things the Riot Grrrls were fighting for are still, unfortunately, relevant. The movement itself was fraught with its own issues, similar to mainstream feminism, and the political landscape since 2016 seems to be both radically different than 1992 yet also wildly similar. Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign serves as a backdrop to Jenny’s coming-of-age story and reinforces the political themes of the movie.
Look ma! I kept my old shirt and used it in a movie!
Other themes include writing and memory, inspiring a kaleidoscopic approach to our visual aesthetic: layered images, jump cuts, visual and audio overload. Fragmented storytelling contrasted by contemplative moments of silence and continuity. We represented the beauty and fear of this pivotal moment in one’s youth with in-camera practical effects during production that we plan to enhance in post using digital effects. For our soundtrack, we’ve already licensed songs from contemporary (and local!) punk bands who also performed for our concert scenes during production. In addition, a layered and sophisticated sound design will elevate these artistic visuals.
In every way, Acid Test is an revolutionary film, in concept and approach. We raised our production funds through our fiscal sponsors From the Heart Productions and the Houston-based non-profit Fresh Arts. This is an unusual fundraising approach for scripted features, more commonly seen in documentaries, but because of our artistic, political, and educational goals, it was the perfect fit instead of traditional investors for a film like Acid Test.
With a female lead of Mexican descent, our story showcases much-needed diversity on screen as part of a need in the film industry and film market for more diverse content. We are also showcasing that diversity behind the camera: as a female writer director, it is vital to me to be part of the changes needed in my industry in hiring women and people of color in crew positions. We are so proud to have over 70% of our cast and crew being from these marginalized communities, we had several key positions held by women including our Director of Photography Kerianne Parker, Assistant Director Anna Tran, Line Producer Hillary Felice, Wardrobe and Locations Courtney Sandifer, Script Supervisor Kristin Massa, Makeup & Hair Amore Monet, and we had a number of women in the camera, grip, and electric departments. We are committed to maintaining this 70% standard as we finish post-production.
Our cast and crew were entirely from Texas, and we also partnered with Houston Community College (HCC) to train 20 students on our set to gain valuable professional experience while also earning credits toward their degrees. We continue to offer internships to students interested in post-production.
We are approaching our Seed&Spark crowdfunding campaign with that same revolutionary spirit. In addition to traditional mail-in perks like posters and links to the film, we are hosting an amazing event where people can partake in the Acid Test Experience for themselves!! The night begins with a VIP dinner with Jenny’s family followed by a concert featuring local Houston bands, and a multi-room exploration of the world of Acid Test and the characters within! It’s gonna be a trip! **must be 21+ to attend.
Remember, for those of you not able to attend, we also have an amazing set of perks to partake in with all kinds of merch to show your support for Acid Test and everything we’re doing!
Remember, the #1 easiest (and FREE) way to help us is the SHARE the campaign on social media and IRL and encourage people to contribue.
For anyone who would like to receive a TAX-DEDUCTION for their donation, please email me directly or click on the links to our fiscal sponsor From the Heart Productions or if you’re a Houston local, you can donate to our Fresh Arts project!
Please join me in the revolution of #ActivistFilmmaking by contributing to Acid Test! You are helping to change the way we make movies and the movies we make!
Finally, you can watch the short that started it all! Our feature is adapted from our award-winning short film that you can WATCH on Seed&Spark here!
Many of our cast and crew for the feature were part of the short, including our former-1st-AD-now-Producer Eddie Rodriguez, who in between the short and feature produced the Houston-based indie feature Rich Kids written and directed by Laura Somers who had connected with me for contacts when we were both crowdfunding on Seed&Spark!
We had an great run with the short film screening at wonderful festivals like Austin Film Festival, BendFilm in Oregon, Snowdance in Germany, Victoria TX Independent Film Festival, Houston Latino Film Festival, Literally Short Film Festival, and being selected for both the Women in Film and Television International Short Film Showcase and the Austin Film Society Shortcase!
It's really incredible to be finishing up our journey with this story with Seed&Spark, our partners in our very first crowdfunding campaign for the short film 4 years ago!
Thank you so much for your support, whether you've been following us since the beginning or are new to the rebellion!
Writer/Director, Acid Test
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About This Team
Everyone always says they have the best crew, and there's something about working crazy hours on a crazy idea that truly bonds people together. But...I have to say I had the BEST of the best! We got through a 21-day shoot in the middle of summer (in Texas!) and still want to hang out together and make movies together.
We are also so proud to showcase an entirely local crew from Texas, almost everyone based in Houston and 70% women and/or people of color. See below for links to some projects!
From Top Left: Writer/Director Jenny Waldo, Producer/AD Anna Tran, Producer Eddie Rodriguez, Producer/UPM: Hillary Felice
Someone else who came on board as a Producer once production wrapped is our amazing Cinematographer Kerianne Parker - who had originally worked on the short film as our 1st AC and was now shooting her first feature alongside Jenny's directorial debut!
Reprising her role as "Jenny" from the short film, Juliana DeStefano (center) acted along side Reece Everett Ryan (left) who played the wayward boyfriend "Owen" and Mai Le (right) who played best friend "Drea."
Also returning from the short, Mia Ruiz who plays Jenny's mother "Camelia" and joining our cast as Jenny's father "Jack" was the wonderful Brian Thornton!
We had so many Houston actors join our cast, it was wonderful to showcase (from Top Left) Sara Gaston, Joe Grisaffi, Alexandra Brents, Julitta Pourciau, Lucas Matteson, and Dave McClain, among many others!
Watch the short that started it all: Acid Test is streaming here on Seed&Spark!
Producer Eddie Rodriguez's Rich Kids is available on Amazon and dropping Netflix later this month! Many of our crew worked on this beautiful film about a group of Latino teens from a low-income community who break into "Los Ricos," the local mansion with a border fence, and spend the day pretending to be rich in order to forget their difficult lives. Check it out!
Check out our cast and crew on social media platforms and see what they're working on! We've got some amazing talent.