One Foot In Front
Making the right choice is never easy. This is what a mother faces when she packs up her three young daughters in the middle of the night to escape their toxic home. This film is about taking a leap of faith - and trusting that so long as you have those you love by your side, you will be okay.
Inclusion StatementPeople with special needs often play an important and close role to our hearts in our daily lives. Their onscreen presence is harshly lacking in comparison. This is why one of our main characters has Down Syndrome. She exists in the story because she is part of the family. That is the simple reason.
About The Project
In the middle of the night, a mother packs a suitcase. She bundles up her daughters to brace the freezing winter air and loads everyone with as much baggage as they can carry. In silence, they escape.
They drive off into the darkness of this silent suburban town. Away from the toxic home life, and the father they've left behind.
Even the simplest obstacles become a struggle as our mother searches for a safe haven for her children, fielding questions about where they are going and knowing they are too young to understand why. When she is faced with the task of finding them dinner in this deserted Midwest town, the weight of their reality sinks in - and all of the panic that goes with it.
As our mother embarks on the first real challenge of this new life alone, she is plagued by one aching question:
Will we be okay?
She sets out with no option but to leap into the void, and hope, for her daughters' sakes, that she made the right choice.
(These photos are not actual stills from the film but rather serve as visual inspiration)
Ohio not only serves as the backdrop for our film, but we believe it to be a character in and of itself. Our main character yearns for sanctuary in this cold, desolate, and isolated landscape. An Ohio winter can be a brutal one, leaving those who live there feeling hopeless and exhausted. This is how we find our mother character.
As much as Ohio serves as an obstacle for our characters, it also provides their sanctuary. Its warm hearths of family owned restaurants and mom and pop run motels provide our characters the safe haven they are searching for.
The Ohio landscape captures the heart of this film, which are the people. Both the land and our characters are quiet and plain in the best way possible - they are your neighbors and this is your hometown.
The spacious farmland, coniferous and bare winter trees, quiet suburban lifestyle, long winding roads, frontier architecture, and the overall Midwest feeling come to life in Northeast Ohio.
Most of all, Ohio means family. Our cast and crew will all feel the community of a small suburban town and the commaraderie that our characters carry in our story.
To Cut Costs
You may be thinking, "But a flight costs so much - can't you just drive up to Northern California and shoot up there if you want winter?" We could. Though once the math is all done, the cost of lodging cast and crew in hotels and paying for crafty and catering and California permits, it actually evens out to the same cost (or rather a little more) as flying out to Ohio. So we figure - why not guarantee ourselves the emotional experience and cinematic storytelling the landscape of Ohio will bring us if it's going to come down to the same dollars and cents.
All of our lovely crew, will be staying in our Director's mother's home in Hudson, Ohio. It's a big empty house with a lot of empty beds that need filling for a weekend. No need for a hotel when you have Mom! Most of our crafty and catering will most likely be donations from family or friends or local restaurants whose owners' kids we went to high school with.
Overall, whether it's the cost of food or city shooting permits, we are in for a lot less expensive of a time in good ol' OH.
"I have always loved epic stories. Bring on the Lord of the Rings and the Star Trek. You may be wondering then why I am making such a "small" film. The answer: I'm not.
Life is not small. For anyone. In real life is where the most epic stories take place. In each of our lives, there is drama and suspense, intense adventures and love - an important story to tell. An epic story to tell.
What I love most about these epic films is that they always come down to the most human, grounded level. This is at its core a very human story.
I am compelled by stories of what ordinary people do in extraordinary circumstances. They pull me in. What does one do when it comes down to what is right and what is easy? What does one do when their loved ones' lives are at stake? What does one do when they feel all hope is lost?
So yes, this is a story about a mother, her three daughters, and the most nervewracking night of their lives. It is no small story."
We make our film to encourage those trapped in toxic relationships that the danger of an emotionally and mentally abusive environment is just as important to escape from as a physically abusive one.
We make our film to balance the representation of people with special needs on camera as they are important parts of our lives off camera.
We make our film to remind each other that so long as we have those we love by our side, we will be okay.
We make our film to validate that making the right choice is often never easy.
We make our film to give us faith that even if we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, if we take that leap, we will find our way.
Supporting Each Other
If you are interested in donating to these charities and organizations which are near and dear to our subject matter, you can find the links to them below.
Al-Anon Family Groups
Al-Anon/Alateen is a mutual support program for those whose lives have been affected by someone else's alcoholism. They encourage the abuser to seek the proper help and often aid the family members in realizing that it is okay to break free - that it can often be the right decision for all involved.
National Down Syndrome Society
NDSS is the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down Syndrome. They envision not only a more inclusive world for those with Down Syndrome, but a world in which they have the proper opportunities to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations, and be valued members of their communities.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Though we do not deal with physical abuse in our film, the NCADV is the nation's leading grassroots voice on domestic violence. They guide women who feel trapped in their toxic relationships to freedom and encourage them not to let the fear of financial self-sufficiency keep them from leaving.
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
Our team may be small in numbers (about 10 people total), but each person is an expert at what they do.
Kelsie Adams, Writer/Director
Kelsie graduated from Emerson College with a B.A. in Directing Narrative Fiction in December 2016. While in school, she wrote, directed, and edited all of her own projects and got a hands-on learning experience working on set in various crew positions. Her feature script Hero made it to the Second Round of the Drama Category of the Austin Film Festival in 2016. In Fall of 2016, she moved out to L.A. to finish her last semester at Emerson's LA campus where she worked at a socially-conscious branded content and documentary production company. She most recently interned for the AFI Directing Workshop for Women where she learned from experts in the field about the ins and outs of directing in today's Hollywood and worked on several of the women's short films which shot in July of 2017. Kelsie's goal has always been to make the world a better place through the power of film and she thanks you for helping to make that possible by starting this journey with us.
Drew Barnett, Director of Photography
Drew is a cinematographer with a passion for creative storytelling. After graduating from UNC School of the Arts, he moved to Los Angeles, CA to work in the film industry. His dream is to collaborate with artists around the world and play a role in sharing their stories.
Jake Schwartz, Producer
A true East Coaster at heart, Jake left his home state of Connecticut, to travel out west. Armed with only his BA in film production from Emerson College and the stereotype of being another Jewish director in Hollywood, he landed a job at a music video and commercial production company where he edits projects and maintains the vault. While not working, he develops his own film photography, he cooks all of his week's dinners in one night, and performs the one juggling trick he knows.
Elissa Nechamkin, Production Designer
Elissa Nechamkin is a recent Emerson alumn who focused on screenwriting and Production Design during her time in school (weird combo right? WRONG). She won an Evvy for Outstanding Production Design on the film Men of Tomorrow her senior year and has been on many sets as Production Designer or hanging out on Art Team. Currently, she lives in Los Angeles and after interning at Adult Swim in development, she now works as the assistant to the director Warren Fu (who is an awesome person/artist).
Plus many more incredible individuals!