About a Donkey

New York City, New York | Film Feature

Comedy, LGBTQ

Christina Raia

2 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $21,612 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

323 supporters | followers

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We're making a feature film with a lot of wit, a lot of heart, and a little donkey. At its core, it's a story that anyone can relate to but has a specific focus on underrepresented voices both in front of and behind the camera.

In Partnership With

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

Our 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.

The Story



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, the filmmakers personally (not the production) will be matching a 5% donation from our personal funds 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!



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/



Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Donkey Commute and Care

Costs $500

Donkeys are companion animals. We'll have 2 on set! We need to make sure they'll be transported and housed safely!

Production Insurance

Costs $3,400

Our moms always say better safe than sorry!

Arri Amira

Costs $2,650

We plan to see this baby on the big screen & need a camera that can give us the needed quality! We've been offered a great rental deal.

Cast Day Rates

Costs $2,900

We want to pay our actors as much as we can for their time, talent and dedication.

Crew Day Rates

Costs $2,850

They're what makes it all come together behind the scenes. Need to pay them for their time, skill, hard work & commitment to the project!


Costs $3,000

Working hard, our team not only needs to eat but eat well. No pizza on our sets! We want to take care of everyone.

Lenses and Grip Gear

Costs $1,500

We're shooting on Cooke Panchros. Also need to supplement some of our own lighting & grip gear.


Costs $250

Our house locations are free thanks to family & friends. But we need to rent a space to set a Prom for senior citizens.

Gas and Toll

Costs $550

We'll be shooting a lot of the film on Long Island, which will require transporting cast & crew to and from the City.


Costs $1,800

Maybe more important than the picture quality is the sound. In order to reach the heights we've set, we need clean & attentive audio.

Set Design and Props

Costs $600

We're creating a very lived in word. We need to invest in some set dressing and props!

About This Team



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.



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.



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.



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.




2ND ASSISTANT CAMERA - Kimberly Drew Whiten

GAFFER - Jeff Davis


HAIR & MAKEUP - Elizabeth Zambrano (Assistance by Ciarra Walker)

LOCATION SCOUT & CATERER -Marlene Mungalsingh


Special Thanks beyond the film's team: 

Ryan Kramer

B Productions (Cat Papadimitriou & Chris Haddix)

4milecircus (Sean Mannion)

Lauri LoQuercio 

Jay Eric  

Current Team