“A walk with Richard” is an intimate portrait of a first- generation Japanese immigrant and restauranteur who firmly believes in “protecting” the customer, his business and his legacy. Richard landed in Vestal, NY in 1975 and opened Kampai, a Hibachi restaurant that same year.

Richard has always instilled the values of putting the customer first for over five decades and that legacy continues with his three children who now run the restaurant. Richard is retired but still pops in and out of Kampai to perform his rituals like cleaning the parking lot by-hand every morning before opening and closing out the last nights books. Our short film shares intimate moments with Richard and his family, illustrating what all of us in Vestal, NY have known about him for a long time. It is time to share his story with a larger audience and celebrate his legacy.

Waya is a short documentary about a Cuban “outsider” artist, Julian Espinosa Rebollido, that is in production. The project presents the artist, his work, views of peer artists and collectors to understand how this outsider has become part of the canon of 20th and 21st century Cuban art.

Julian Espinosa Rebollido is a Cuban “primitive/outsider” artist and local legend commonly known as Wayacón. While he has traveled all over Cuba and even served in the army during the Bay of Pigs, he has spent most of his life in the town of Remedios, Santa Clara where he lives in the home of his grandparents under the care of one of his sons. Surrounded by his dog, cat, chickens and his goat, his home is a living gallery of his art.

Over his life, Wayacón has made friends around the world who have helped his art be seen and appreciated despite the challenges of being an artist in a country stricken by widespread scarcity. His art has been sold in galleries and auctions internationally. He has received prizes and his work is part of national collections. He is not entirely aware just how far his art has traveled. He simply creates to live. 

The team enters the home and mind of the artist who director, Charles Abelmann, first met in 2013. The intent of the project is to leave a legacy of Wayacón’s thought through his work and his words with added narration of artists that can help a general audience appreciate his unique position as an outsider within the renowned Cuban art sphere. In order to set a context for the work, the team follows the fascinating cuban studies veteran, Sandra Levinson as she leads a tour centering Cuban art and culture. She has known Wayacón for over thirty years and helped him and many other artists get their work outside of Cuba as the Director for The Center for Cuban Studies. Through this lens, the viewer is exposed to Cuban art and culture deepening an understanding of the context of contemporary Cuban life. Wayacón greets new guests and his old friend, Sandra, exchanges that reveal how his sense of reality is sometimes as blended as the colors and mythical beings portrayed in his art. Interviews with people Wayacón has touched and depended upon reveal the pivotal life experiences that have influenced his work and his noteworthy role in the landscape of contemporary outsider art. While a film about an artist and his craft in a struggling Cuba, it is a story about the drive to create and connect revealing the complexity of the mind and heart. 

Projects like these depend on donations and grants to support our team, participants, and to complete the film. We are greatly appreciative of your tax deductible contributions.

 

Arthur Abelmann, born in 1888 in Latvia, had a passion for finding solutions to help people feel better. He went from being a chemist apothecary in a prisoner of war camp at the end of WWI to starting his own factory in Frankfurt to make medicinal tablets, known as Chemiwerk. By 1932, the company had over 200 employees. Its best-known products were Kamillosan and various other chamomile and naturally based preparations – Spirobismol, Transpulmin, and Treupel’sche Tabletten.

His dream of creating something for his son to take over went astray with the rise of Nazism and the banning of all Jewish Products and boycott of Jewish businesses. Arthur Abelmann resigned from his position and moved his family to Switzerland on the night before what is known as Boycott Saturday, April 1 1933. The company was purchased by Degussa and IG Farben, who dominated the chemical industry in Germany at the time. Abelmann passed away in 1934, and his wife and two children immigrated to the US in 1939. Degussa was tried at the Nuremberg Trials for the manufacturing of the poison gas Zyklon B and use of slave labor.

The film documents the early rise of Nazism in Frankfurt from 1932-1934 while Arthur Abelmann was working to keep his company intact. The film presents a multi-generational family history using first person original narrative, family photographs, writings, and artifacts combined with historic archival still and video images. The use of family archival materials along with the historical material shows the contrast of a thriving cultural Jewish life in Frankfurt and the arrival of the anti-Semitic Nazi regime. The film follows the development of Arthur from a young boy born in Riga, Latvia, to serving in WWI, building his company, getting married, and starting a family. The film shows his two loves, work and family, and how he worked to keep both safe and secure their future.

The film also uses the reflections of his son Walter who as a young boy watched his father do everything he could to survive and care for the family. We see the life of Arthur’s widow making the choice to leave Europe with her son, daughter, and elderly mother to start a new life in New York in 1939, and their early years of being in New York starting fresh while seeing the horrific headlines from their old home and the plight of those less fortunate. Throughout the years, the products of Arthur’s company survived, and between marketing and demand we see how one product, the healing ointment Kamillosan, endures over 100 years later.

Projects like these depend on donations and grants to support our team, participants, and to complete the film. We are greatly appreciative of your tax deductible contributions.

 
Mix Matched Socks” is a film about the turbulent, yet powerful relationship between a single mother and her only daughter.

Martha is saying goodbye to her daughter for what feels like forever. She is officially going to have an empty nest as Olivia is moving to the city for college. As a sendoff and to spend some much-needed quality time with her daughter, Martha packs their bags and books a stay at an apartment she found online (for a steal).

The two begin to clash when it comes to their romantic lives, Martha talks on the phone with her boyfriend and Olivia is flirting with Mark, the neighbor.

Martha begins to uncover some of Olivia’s secrets and must come to terms with the idea that her daughter is growing up in more ways than one.I am the first in my family to leave home for college. As a first-generation student and being the only child to a single mother, leaving was hard to put it simply. As I grew up, I came to the realization of just how scary and strange this big move was for my mom as well. She was going to be living alone for the first time in 18 years and her daughter was living in a completely different state. There are countless stories told from the perspective of a young adult flying the nest and the challenges they face as they learn to be on their on their for the first. I wanted to ask the question of how our parents deal with it. How do they change from this experience as they are equally transforming their lives along with ours? In this story, I wish to explore the complexities of a mother-and-daughter relationship through the lens of a mother. When you have a primary parent, they become more like a friend than a guardian at times. The film will tackle how those boundaries are pushed and how that affects the balance of the relationship.

 

Monster Slayer is a short documentary that tells the story of Stephanie “Monty” Montgomery’s journey in the aftermath of trauma, assault and stigma, through her gripping words and the animation of her visceral artwork and journal entries. 

In June 2018, Monty, the subject of our film, was raped at a strip club in Los Angeles where she worked. She told the management and the police, and neither party did anything. With no justice on the horizon, Monty the Monster Slayer, Monty’s ass-kicking artistic persona, took matters into her own hands and harnessed her art as a weapon against her assailant and the stigma she faced. Monty rented a billboard overlooking the scene of her assault to showcase a mural that casts her as a hero, slaying the “Monster” who raped her, and calling out the system for failing her. 

Through sharing her experience of assault along with the aftermath of injustice in both words and animation, we are able to innovatively expose abuses of power in a way that gives us access to what Monty saw, heard, and felt. There have been many animated documentaries before, but few animations were created by the main subject themselves.

In addition to all of this, the stakes addressed in Monster Slayer are high as the film questions preconceived notions about sex work, seeking to humanize and empower a community often ignored or vilified. Despite the recent #MeToo movement, the sex work community remains marginalized in discussions about sexual assault. Monty’s personal encounter with assault and the subsequent stigma she faced directly addresses the experiences of sex workers in the context of sexual assault, putting this crucial conversation at the forefront of the broader movement.

Eat Surf Love is a narrative short film that celebrates the beautiful awkwardness of human encounters. It’s a story about the resiliency we discover after we failed to catch the wave, didn’t get the job, or had zero return on a romantic investment. The film starts and ends with an audio podcast, and we view, in almost documentary fashion, two disparate people stumbling through a first conversation, and how, in revealing their vulnerabilities and aspirations, they change themselves and each other. Set in San Francisco, it’s also a love-hate letter to this paradoxical place, nudged between a bay and an ocean, where hearts have been left, lost, and also found.

WHAT WE NEED

Eat Surf Love is a low budget independent labor of love. We shot our film on our phones!  The film is now in post production. We are seeking finishing and marketing funds, to achieve the project’s potential.

FILMMAKERS AND PRODUCTION TEAM

Filmmaker Nada Djordjevich is an award-winning writer and social impact consultant, originally from the Bay Area, with degrees from Harvard and Berkeley. Her first short, California Pie (2022), has screened throughout the US and received multiple awards including two for “best animated film.”

Producer and First Assistant Camera, Mayra Padilla is a creative entrepreneur and communications professional, with proven results in brand management, social marketing, and event planning. A multilingual writer and storyteller, the documentary “To Sandy, from Sri Lanka “ was her first film.

CAST

Laura Yumi Snell  is a Japanese-American actress, pianist, singer, and co-founder of SoHo Shakespeare Company. Her works include Murakami Music (Symphony Space and US tour), Avenue Q (international tour), Richard III (SoHo Shakes), and the films “Carsick,” “Quarantine Horror Story”, and “Keiko’s Hands.”

Tyler Ritter was born in Los Angeles and after spending seven years abroad decided to move back to the (sometimes) sunny state. His most notable TV credits include The McCarthy’s, “Arrow,” “NCIS,” “Merry Happy Whatever,” “Homecoming,” and “Painkiller.”

Molly Wood is a longtime journalist and podcaster. She is the founder of Molly Wood Media, where she writes and podcasts about solutions to the climate crisis, advises companies on their climate messaging, and invests in climate tech companies. Eat Surf Love is her first film.

WHY SUPPORT US

HOW YOUR SUPPORT HELPS
Funding will enable high quality audio, music, sound and color-correction, along with closed-captions and subtitles to increase accessibility to diverse audiences. Funds will support festival entries and marketing materials (a trailer, poster, social media and other graphics) to create and sustain engagement. Your support for the emerging talent associated with this film helps create a foundation for new voices and films. The majority of our cast and crew are from groups underrepresented in films, and, for 30% of our team, this was their very first film.

Eat Surf Love is a micro-budget production, with a SAG-AFTRA agreement generated in November 2022. “Micros” are not subject to the strike, and if this policy changes, we will make any necessary adjustments or agreements. We are an 100% independently financed, independently produced short film with no connection to the AMPTP. Supporting our film indicates your support for the growth of independent film production and studios.

FOR MORE INFORMATION 

For full listing of our cast and crew, see our website: eatsurfloveproductions.com

If you’d like merchandise, such as our Eat Surf Love fleece jacket, or mugs, send us an email.

To contact us directly – send an email to eatsurflovefilm@gmail.com

 

I Love You So Much is a silent film/TV POC reminiscent of “Wonderstruck” and “Coffee Shop.” The story revolves around a musician still adjusting to recently losing her hearing. At her new job at a deaf café (a real restaurant in Texas called Crepe Crazy), she rediscovers hope thanks to a repeat customer: Having left her singing career behind, she finds a unique way to make a positive impact in the stranger’s life, ultimately saving it.

This short is intended to be a breakout project representing my stand for the disabled entertainment community. And I don’t mean in a “feeling sorry” kind of way-the intention is to create awareness in a way that features people of disability doing such brave and impactful things, that the audience relates to them like they’re not disabled at all. 

I was inspired to write this when I first met actress Michelle Mary Schaefer. I learned that most of the people around her when she was younger didn’t speak sign language or understand how she communicated. She often would sit in silence during family and social gatherings feeling alone and unexpressed. As she got older and got heavily involved in her community, some of that shifted, but what didn’t so much was trying to integrate into the working world. Can you imagine a day to day life where outside of typing on a computer, you cannot communicate with most of the general population? How isolated that must feel? Carly Wilkes, who is the film’s main character, lives this struggle to a huge degree having recently been able to hear and then her whole world going silent. And although she works at a cafe that only employs deaf people, still the outside world, now void of music that she loves and the sound of voices we all take for granted, is a lonely, silent void.

I have always had a special in my heart for the disabled community in film. Years ago I produced “The Hollywood Quad,” a TV pilot starring Bryan Cranston and the late Jim Troesh about a quadriplegic actor trying to make it in Hollywood. I’ve also written another pilot “Tornados,” a true to life dramedy set in the 1980’s, about the most unpopular kid in a Midwest high school, Tori Carty, trying to manage her dysfunctional home life, a physical disability and all of the work it takes to be a martial arts wannabe darksider. My last film, “Curiosity” had a main character who was on the spectrum. 

From the filmmaker:

From earliest childhood to old age, people dance. I wanted to explore why we do it. More specifically, why do I, a 79-year-old woman, get on Zoom five mornings a week along with others, mostly women, who range in age from forty-nine to ninety-four, to dance?

WHY WE DANCE explores this question from many angles. The film is about two kinds of movement: each dancer’s unique physical expression, and our movement from one phase of life to another, seeking renewed meaning, community, and purpose as we age. Our dance teacher, Ketty Rosenfeld, a remarkably free-spirited woman in her early 60s, is the film’s driving force. An Indonesian immigrant, she welcomes all comers, and many of the dancers are immigrants.

This is a personal, hands-on project, filmed and made by us, the dancers. If you like what you see, you can click on the big blue DONATE button and help us finish it. Your contribution will go toward clearing the rights to all the wonderful music in the film so we can bring WHY WE DANCE to the public. Your contribution will be fully tax-deductible, and we will send the film when it is released.

The children’s book Intersection Allies, published by Dottir Press, is an incredible, illustrated children’s book that addresses the important issues going on in today’s world about race, sexuality, class and gender. The three authors behind the book collectively have over a dozen years of experience in helping create constructive conversations about identity and social justice. It is my hope as a filmmaker and animator to bring their compassionate, empathetic book to life through animation, for children and adults to enjoy, engage with, and gain understanding about inclusion and diversity

On a trip to South Korea, 25-year-old Shelby meets Jack and confides in him her secret. When he offers to try to take her virginity – after years of battling the pain, shame and fear of vaginismus – will Shelby finally achieve what she believed was impossible?

Winning My Virginity is a twelve-minute animated film that tells the story of Shelby’s life-changing trip to South Korea, where she learns what amazing things can happen with a little bit of patience, confidence, and chance. Though the purpose of her trip is to attend her friends’ wedding and explore everything Korea has to offer, she ends up with a lot more experience than she expected: having sex, for the first time, with a man she has just met. After years of battling vaginismus, a pelvic floor condition where the muscles in and around her vagina involuntarily contract, she never thought it would happen. Men wouldn’t give her the time of day, her body wouldn’t listen to what her mind knew it wanted. So was it meeting Jack that turned the tables? Or was it traveling to the other side of the world, throwing caution to the wind, and meeting a new version of herself? Winning My Virginity will be a flirty, funny, and sweet sex-positive film about being brave, vulnerable, and 100% completely true to yourself.

Winning My Virginity is the sequel to Shelby Hadden’s short film, Tightly Wound, about her experience with pelvic floor dysfunction.

We are grateful for the generous support of our sponsors:

Massachusetts Cultural Council
Lowel Cultural Council
Cabot Family Charitable Trust
Liberty Mutual Foundation