Aromcom

Silver Spring, Maryland | Film Short

LGBTQ, Romantic Comedy

Katrina Jackson

0 Campaigns | Maryland, United States

Coming Soon

64 supporters | followers

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People on the aromantic and asexual spectrums deserve a rom-com too! Aromcom depicts a cozy platonic meet-cute set during an Icelandic winter storm. Help us create on-screen representation for one of the least-represented queer identities.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

We believe platonic relationships are just as important as romantic relationships, and that there are many ways to experience attraction and love. In a world often centered on couples, we want to show two characters on the aromantic and asexual spectrums who find companionship and connection.

The Story



While stranded in a small Icelandic town during a winter storm, a lone traveler is reconnected with their lost GoPro, thanks to a nosy woman who looked through the entire memory card. An already fortuitous encounter turns even more lucky when they discover they’re both on the asexual and aromantic spectrums.


Parker (they/them) has a plethora of videos showcasing their solo travel adventures and creative art projects, but their apparent boldness masks their struggle to navigate this loud world full of people and their confusing relationships. Parker will be played by Ziaire Mann (he/him).


Merida (she/her), a mechanical engineer, is normally a confident and socially adept person, but her platonic crush (squish) on Parker has her making a fool of herself in front of her friends. Merida will be played by Elena Anderson (she/her).


Brandon and Trey (both he/him) are a couple that are happy to have their co-worker Merida third-wheel their vacation, as long as she puts up with their public displays of affection and merciless teasing. Brandon will be played by Garrett Matthews (he/they) and Trey will be played by Jordan Brown (he/him).



An October report from UCLA’s Center for Scholars & Storytellers states that over half of the adolescents in their study want to see more media content centered on friendships and platonic relationships, and 39% specifically want to see more aromantic and/or asexual characters on screen. 


There is so little on-screen representation of aromantic and asexual characters that even most people on the aro/ace spectrums can only name a few at most. Of what little representation exists, much of it is about teenagers, and we know there are plenty of adults who want to see themselves reflected on-screen as well. 


The aromantic and asexual spectrums are vast and varied and intersectional, and we’ll only see the million different experiences represented once there are a million different stories produced. We hope to scratch the surface with Aromcom's Parker and Merida. 



Borrowing from certain rom-com visual conventions—low contrast, soft focus—the film will be recognizable as a rom-com, but in a platonic, queer context.


Through close-ups that capture small moments (a stolen glance, a flash of recognition of the black ace ring,) the cinematography will lend the same feelings of possibility to a potential friendship that the genre typically reserves for romantic relationships.


By alternating between the two main characters’ perspectives, the film will allow us to inhabit each character, exploring themes of isolation and community, bravery and fear, and how we can seem so different on the outside from how we feel on the inside.


The camera will initially depict the characters separately, as they perceive the world from places of difference. Gradually, as their illusions of each other are broken, they will come together in the frame.

Image credits: Blue is the Warmest Colour, Heartstopper, Before Sunrise, The Grand Budapest Hotel



This story takes place in Vik, a small town along Iceland’s southern Ring Road, as our characters are heading west from Jökulsárlón back towards Reykjavík. 



The events are based on our writer’s trip to Iceland in early 2018, where she did in fact lose her GoPro on a glacier then get temporarily stranded in Vik due to high winds creating whiteout ground blizzard conditions. The stark Icelandic scenery was fantastically impressive, and seemed a perfect setting for our fictional characters to meet. 



The film will not be shot in Iceland (we sure would have to raise a lot more money!) but we’ll use footage from our writer’s trip to establish the setting, and the actors will be filmed in locations in the DC metropolitan area this February. 



While we plan to submit our film to a few local and queer film festivals and have at least one in-person screening, our primary goal is to publish our completed film on YouTube where you and aro/ace/queer people all across the globe can watch Aromcom for free whenever you want! 



Our campaign goal of $18,750 is the minimum we need to cover the costs of our locations, props and set dressing, insurance, equipment, and actors. At this level, a lot of our production team will be volunteers. You can find more details on what the money will fund on our Wishlist page. Every contribution helps!


Stretch goals:

  • $22,000 - We’ll be able to rent more equipment and have higher quality production design!
  • $25,000 - We’ll be able to pay our background actors and more of our crew members!
  • $30,000 - We’ll be able to increase our crew pay rates to be closer to industry standards!
  • $35,000 - We’ll be able to compensate our core production team—the DP, producers, and director!


You can also support by helping us share this campaign far and wide! You can post the campaign on social media, and tell all your queer/aro/ace/ally friends and family about Aromcom the next time you’re talking with them. We want everyone who is interested in queer storytelling to know we’re trying to make this film!


Please get in touch if you have ideas for how to expand the reach of our campaign: DM Katrina on Instagram or Twitter/X @Katrina13J, or use the Contact button at the top of the page. 


Click the Follow button at the top of this page to receive campaign updates, and follow us on social media @AromcomFilm.


Wishlist

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

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Cast and Crew

Costs $10,000

Compensation for key cast and crew members

Gear rentals

Costs $3,300

Camera lenses, lighting equipment, all the stuff!

Locations

Costs $1,900

Rental costs and film permits for our Icelandic café/travel center, gym/basketball court, and outdoor snowy location

Craft services

Costs $1,800

Feeding all the cast and crew across three filming days

Set dressing and props

Costs $800

Gotta dress up our scenes!

Insurance

Costs $500

Legal liabilities, yada yada

Miscellaneous

Costs $450

Hard drives and other odds and ends

About This Team

Katrina Jackson (she/her)

Writer, Director, Editor

Katrina comes from a space science and digital video production background. She was previously the lead video producer for the Hubble Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and was the lead editor for the Webby-award-winning live broadcasts surrounding the launch and commissioning of the James Webb Space Telescope. Katrina even has an asteroid named after her — 120353 Katrinajackson — for her video production work on the OSIRIS-REx mission. In 2022, she researched, wrote, produced, narrated, and edited “Behind the Name: James Webb Space Telescope” — a YouTube documentary for the JustSpace Alliance that aired on Democracy Now. The documentary discussed the experiences of queer astronomers, James Webb’s leadership during the Lavender Scare and Cold War, and why many people petitioned to change the name of the telescope. Currently, Katrina is an associate science producer for NHK and a freelance video editor and science communicator. She recently edited the narrative films SENSES (directed by Alyscia Cunningham), Gloria’s Birthday (directed by Robin Noonan-Price), and Blind Justice (directed by Morgen Whiteman). Katrina has been involved in community theatre over the years as a performer, director, choreographer, producer, and publicity coordinator. Aromcom is Katrina’s narrative film directorial and writing debut.

Website: Katrina-Jackson.com

Social Media: @Katrina13J


Catherine Bobalek (she/her)

Producer

Catherine is a Washington, DC-based producer, writer, and director. She attended Savannah College of Art & Design, graduating with degrees in Film & Television and Dramatic Writing. Bobalek directed The Portsmouth Project, which won Best NH Short Film at the 2016 New Hampshire Film Festival, and placed as a finalist for the 2018 Horizon Award. Her short films Cupcake, Crossfire, and Lavende have collectively screened at over twenty festivals. Catherine’s commercial and branded documentary work credits include PBS, George Washington University, The SPY Museum, Viacom, Upworthy, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Her work has been peer-recognized as Emmy and Webby recipients. She is passionate about creatively telling stories that center on women of the past and present, asexual and LGBTQIA+ topics, supporting BIPOC individuals and visibility, and creating work that promotes empathy and builds connection by bringing humor and satire to the subject. She loves writing and creating stories in the dark comedy/historical fusion genre and stories about the cyclical pattern of human behavior and the intentional change it takes to break these cycles.

Website: catherinebobalek.com

Instagram: @catherinebobalek


Madeleine Becker (she/her)

Director of Photography

Madeleine is a filmmaker from the San Francisco Bay Area. After graduating with degrees in Film & Media Studies and Computer Science, she worked as a production assistant for Los Angeles-based production company, Delirio Films, doing script coverage and archival research for documentary and fiction projects. One of the series she worked on, “The Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life,” is now streaming on Netflix. Since then, she has produced and assistant-directed multiple award-winning narrative shorts, and more recently turned to cinematography and photography as her primary role, shooting short narrative and experimental projects, photo shoots, and weddings. She is fascinated by the power of film to connect us to narratives that may or may not be ours, and by the possibility of visual language to help us reimagine structures of visibility and power. Madeleine is currently based in New York City, where she splits her time between working with computers and developing various film and photography projects.

Instagram: @baddiemeck


Yildiz Yilmaz (she/her)

Production Designer

Yildiz is a producer and award-winning production designer who currently resides in Virginia. She has worked in numerous productions as a producer and production designer. She's originally from Turkey. She has graduated from Howard University with a BA in pre-directing and holds an MFA from American University. 


Kat Vivaldi (she/they)

Assistant Camera

Kat is an artist/creative technologist based in Richmond, VA whose projects range from film, installation, sound, to performance. Kat earned her BFA from the School of Visual Arts at Virginia Tech with a film minor in 2019. They have since participated in several short films and feature film projects within the camera department. You can watch some of these feature films on several platforms including BET+, Lifetime, PBS, and HBO’s MAX. Kat has also performed varying roles for film festivals including Programming Fellowships for both Richmond International Film Festival and New Orleans Film Festival.


Sofia Sandoval (she/her)

Wardrobe Supervisor, 2nd Assistant Director, Social Media

Sofia is a filmmaker based in the DC area, and she’s so excited to be working on Aromcom! She’s currently the Programming Coordinator with Women in Film & Video and has worked in film and theater for years. She’s very proud to be included in this wonderful team and to be working on this project. It’s so important to platform the voices and experiences of underrepresented people, and Aromcom provides an opportunity for aro/ace folks to tell their stories. She hopes that this project can make all queer folks, and especially aro/ace people, feel seen and cared for. 


Andrea Trent (she/her)

Casting Assistant

Andrea is very active in the DC community theater scene. She has performed with St. Marks Players in Washington DC, in Sister Act (2017) and as Mazeppa in Gypsy (2019) and Church Lady Jarene in The Color Purple (2023). Andrea has also performed at 2nd Star Productions in Ragtime (2018), A Christmas Carol (2019) and Crowns (2023) and served as Assistant choreographer for Matilda (2023). She was seen in Rockville Musical Theater's production of Once Upon A Mattress (2022). She also has performed with NASA's Music and Drama Club in Beauty and the Beast (2018). Andrea is in the process of writing a musical and is currently enrolled in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Librettist Workshop in New York City. 


Stephanie Davis (xie/hir/she/they/he)

Intimacy Coordinator

Stephanie is a performer, activist & educator living and working on Nacotchtank/Piscataway/Manahoac land. They have worked in many fields including burlesque, retail, sex work, academia, reproductive justice, and public health—all of which inform their work as an intimacy coordinator and director. Involved in the performing arts for 20+ years, Stephanie began his career as an actress and dancer, progressively expanding hir repertoire to include directing, choreography, dramaturgy, costume and set design, education, and theatrical intimacy, always with a mind towards justice and liberation.



CAST


Ziaire Mann (he/him)

Parker

Ziaire leads with soul, passion, creativity, and genius, and loves projects that inject these same qualities in the veins of their art. Fun fact, if you take the African country previously known as ‘Zaire’ and add an I, you get Ziaire’s name, ha! Ziaire is an actor, poet, and musician from the mid Atlantic region. He avidly spends his time writing lyrics, dancing, and designing cartoons and clothes. He’s also received the Louis Armstrong award for Improvisation on alto-saxophone. He lives for listening and creating various kinds of music, and he’s happiest with his family and making others laugh. Speaking of happy, he is thrilled to be portraying the iconic role of Parker! Ziaire is honored to watch the northern lights of Iceland shine on the underrepresented characters within the queer community and beyond. In the comedic and highly anticipated film entitled Ultrablack, Ziaire had the chance to tell a unique story not yet seen in the media with the role of Timothy MacRae. Ziaire ultimately wants Aromcom to make people laugh, to make people happy, and to make the unseen feel seen.

Instagram: @eriaiz_


Elena Anderson (she/her)

Merida

Elena is a classically trained actor and audiobook narrator based in the Washington, DC area. She has worked on over 40 titles with the audio drama production company GraphicAudio, including the Red Rising Saga and The Murderbot Diaries. Her recent theater credits include The Tempest (Ariel) with Grassroots Shakespeare DC and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Helena) with The Classic Theatre of Maryland. She is thrilled to be working with the fabulous Aromcom team, and so excited to bring Merida to life in all her aro/ace glory!

Website: elena-anderson.com

Instagram: @elena.anderson.vo


Jordan Brown (he/him)

Trey, Social Media

Jordan is an actor, content creator, and creative artist in the DMV. He has acted in various shows such as: As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing (Chesapeake Shakespeare Company); My Children! My Africa!, How He Lied to Her Husband (Washington Stage Guild); Sometimes the Rain, Sometimes the Sea, She Kills Monsters (Rorschach Theatre); Time Is On Our Side (Perisphere Theatre); As You Like It (Powerhouse Theater); King Henry VI Part I (Brave Spirits Theatre); Bobtail Bong Bong (InterAct Story Theatre); The Wolf You Feed (Theatre Prometheus); Nothing to Lose (Unexpected Stage); The Ties That Bind (Catholic University); The Importance of Being Earnest, Eurydice, The Shape of Things, Red Death (Stevenson University). Jordan is going to slay as Trey, and you can check out his fashion reels and adventures on Instagram.

Website: jordanbrownactor.org 

Instagram: @Jordan_Le_Great


Garrett Matthews (he/they)

Brandon

Garrett is an actor/singer/story teller who is born and raised in the D(M)V and earned their degree in Vocal Performance from the Hartt School. Since graduating, Garrett has performed Lockstock in Urinetown in an Off-Broadway Production at the Peoples Improv Theatre. Film credits include Loving and Federation Temple as well as the TV series Love Gone Wrong. Musical credits most recently include The Great Gatsby Musical (Tom Buchanan) with Landless Theatre as well as Audrey, On Air, Charlotte's Web, and Beauty and the Beast with Creative Cauldron. He's been seen with Ovations Theater in Urinetown (Lockstock), Legally Blonde (Callahan), Spring Awakening (Adult Man), Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Sir Danvers) and The Wild Party (Black).  His play credits include N and Clays Place with the Angel Wing Project. Vocally Garett has performed in Don Pasquale, Goyescas, The Magic Flute, An Operetta Holiday, Irving Berlin: A Simple Melody and Jerome Kern: All the Things You Are with The In Series: Opera and More. Over the years he is proud to have been able to perform with Capital Fringe Fest, the Kennedy Center, and other local venues.

Website: garrettmatthews.com

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