Broken Vessels

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Drama, Sci-Fi

Larry Ziegelman

1 Campaigns | Illinois, United States

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This campaign raised $16,896 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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Jane, an isolated woman caught in an abusive relationship, must fight for her life against an aggressive cancer. It is only through her new friendship with Naomi, another person with cancer, that she finds the strength that she never thought possible.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

This story examines one woman's experience of her being stuck between fighting a deadly cancer and her abusive husband. It touches upon issues of domestic abuse, violence to woman and female empowerment.

The Story


The Story

Cancer. One of the most insidious and devastating of diseases known to humans. Jane, the protaganist, is fighting an agressive blood cancer, seemingly with no one to lean on. Her once loving husband, who is fighting demons of his own, is a now a bitter, abusive, and angry shell of a man. Jane has no one, until she meets Naomi, another cancer patient. It is through her friendship with Naomi that Jane finds the strength that she never thought possible.



The Real Naomi


The character of Naomi is based on a high school friend of ours. The real Naomi was an amazing woman. So full of life and hope and joy. She would post images of herself going to chemo dressed in various cosplay outfits, handing out roses to all the cancer patients there. She brought joy to everyone she met. That is when we realized that Naomi was to be the character that helps Jane. We interviewed our friend, Naomi, in order to help get inside the head of a someone who has cancer, as well as to discover what makes her tick. She did have the opportunity to read the script and loved it. She really felt like we captured her essence in the "Naomi" character. Naomi passed away in 2018. This film will be dedicated to the memory of her in the end credits. 


Where the Money is Going

Excellent question! It's all going to the actual production. We haven't shot a frame of this film yet. So we'll be renting a camera, lenses, a dolly, a tripod, and tons of gear. Then there's the cast and crew to pay, the insurance to buy, the locations to rent, the props and the wardrobe to make, the food to buy, the list goes on and on!


The Genre

This film falls into the drama and sci-fi genre. This may seem strange in regards to a story about cancer patients, however, while Jane is learning to stand up for herself and become a fighter, she is also changing in other ways. Ways that confuse her and makes her wonder if she can believe her own two eyes. Ways that makes her think that perhaps she may have more in common with Naomi's superhero cosplay characters than she first thought. 



The Tone

The narrative story-telling, the peformances, and the camera work will be inspired by such films and shows as "Carrie", "Unbreakable" and "The Handmaid's Tale". This film will be an "origin" story, but told in a realistic, quiet, and intimate way. No explosions, alien battles or space travel. Just one woman's journey through her internal and external struggles, praying she can emerge stronger and more confident than ever before.



References and Inspiration

We pulled images that inpired us in lighting, location, mood and/or subject matter. They should help our cast, crew and audience understand what kind of film we are aiming to create. Some people in the industry call it a "mood board."














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Costs $2,500

Our actors work their tails off during a long day of shooting. They deserve to get paid.


Costs $3,500

It's vital to get the right place to shoot. The locations set the tone for the entire film.

Production Design

Costs $2,000

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Crew and Gear

Costs $7,200

The right people to make it happen, with the right equipment to do it with!

Catering and Crafty

Costs $800

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Cash Pledge

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About This Team

THE ZIEGELMEN, writing and directing duo

Larry Ziegelman and Terry Ziegelman are twin brothers who are both award-winning filmmakers, and writers and directors of "Broken Vessels". This will be their second short film collaborating as a directing team, but their collaboration started years ago as young children with creating comic book characters, fantasy stories and entering geeky contests at Comic Cons! Apparently they will never grow up as they continue to create fan films, comedy shorts, and their latest genre: an original superhero origin story.



Terry Ziegelman's history of directing began 2001, with his animated, award-winning short film, "It's Alive!" Since then he has moved onto live-action, co-directed with his brother as well as a variety of solo efforts. In addition to short films, you have probably seen his handiwork on the big screen with almost two decades in the animated feature film industry. Always passionate about the arts, he also continues to cultivate his traditional art skills of painting and drawing, and has shown in professional art galleries around the country. Terry hopes to lure you into this exciting project by offering his original works of art in return for your generous donations! Selling art to make new art! Please visit to view his award-winning films and artwork that he will be donating to this project!



Larry Ziegelman's history of directing started over 10 years ago, as a Chicago advertising creative, when a commercial director asked him to direct the "B" camera of a commercial shoot for a scene in a Superbowl McDonald's spot. He has been directing professionally ever since! Larry has directed award-winning commercials, short films, and music videos that can be seen at, and his hilarious web series "Geek Lounge" can be viewed on Amazon Prime, or right here on Seed&Spark!


He is so excited to be collaborating with his twin brother, Terry again and creating this dramatic and meaningful film. He is also grateful for the talented team of actors, crew members and friends that will be working on this project with him.



The Producers

Carroll Brown, in addition to being an award-winning screenwriter and director, started as a producer with the short film “The Borderlands,” handling production responsibilities from scheduling and budgeting, casting and crewing, accounting and all production logistics, and did the same with the award-winning short “Control” with his producing partner Jonathan Levit. In 2016 he came aboard the Cuban feature film “Sergio and Sergei” as Associate Producer responsible for contracts and negotiations for American cast members, and handled business planning and financial structures in a similar position for the Franco Nero-starring “Havana Kyrie.” He currently has numerous projects in development and pre-production both as an independent producer as well as with Levit and their company Talking Horse Productions.



Jonathan Levit’s experience in the entertainment industry has included roles as an actor, television host, producer, and magician. 

As an actor, Levit has enjoyed roles on FOX, NBC, CBS, USA and ABC, in televison series ranging from “The X-Files” to “FlashForward”. He has been seen as the host of shows including Discovery Channel’s “Miracle Hunters”, “Wired Nextfest,” and “Green Wheels”, Biography channel’s “Paranormal U.S.A.” And Fine Living Network’s “Green With Envy.” 

Along with Levit’s producing partner, Carroll Brown, and their company “Talking Horse Productions”, he is currently involved in the development of projects in film, scripted and un-scripted television and internet content genres.



The Cast

Lead Actress, Role of "Jane"

Originally from the Northwest, Alicia Blasingame came to Los Angeles after years spent on stages in New York and San Francisco.  She received her B.A. in Theatre Arts and has since studied at The Imagined Life, John Rosenfeld Studios, and UCB.  She loves the collaborative environment film affords and believes it is our mission as storytellers to create a more loving, empathetic world.   Art truly does have the power to transform hearts and minds, and she is grateful every time a role comes into her life that challenges her to wade into uncharted waters, touch on a little sliver of truth, and set that truth free to unite us in our shared humanity.    



Lead Actor, Role of "Scott"

Aaron Gaffey moved to Los Angeles in 2000 from Minnesota to pursue a career in acting. He found success in the indie horror world in The Jackhammer Massacre, The Revolting Dead, and joshua. His most recent work the Ward Robert’s feature Dust Up (with Amber Benson and Jeremiah Birkett). And a group of short film including Man of Death, Committed (directed by Terry Ziegelman where he took his turn at the Joker), The After Party, Bloodstains, The Climbing Perch.  He is also on deck to star in Marc Zicree’s Space Command as Captain Matt Kemmer in the next year. Aaron is very excited to work with Terry Ziegelman (again) and Larry Ziegelman in Broken Vessels.


Supporting Actress, Role of "Naomi"

Cathy Vu is a first generation Vietnamese-American actress born and raised in Seattle, WA. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, she had an extensive career in the sciences. In college, Vu studied pre-medical sciences and psychology, while working in genetic research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She earned a degree in psychology from the University of Washington and began modeling and acting shortly after. After a decade at the Fred Hutch, she expanded into medical device. Vu earned her second degree in Graphic Design & Illustration, working her way through various design disciplines. Eventually, she specialized in User Experience (UX) for


Before coming to Los Angeles in 2014, Vu appeared in TV including Leverage, Grimm, The Librarians and her first feature film The Details with Tobey McGuire, Kerry Washington and Elizabeth Banks. Vu continues her career in TV, film and voice in Los Angeles, while being a UX gun-for-hire for top-tier companies. Her passion as an artist in various mediums is guided by her curiosity to unpack all the parts (missing, whole and fractured) that makes us human. She embraces her responsibility as an artist; to be an open vessel for people’s intimate stories and honor the humanity of their experiences. As storyteller, it is a gift and a great honor to help people be truly seen, heard, and understood.


Lee Sherman, Role of "Supervisor"

“Life Is A Playground – Let’s Have Fun!” – the self-appointed motto that Denver-born actor Lee Sherman embodies in all aspects of life. As an industry professional, Lee has done film, television, digital media, hosting, commercials and motion capture.  Most recently Lee can be seen in the recurring role of ‘Director of This Is Mars’ on the CW’s Jane the Virgin, ‘Sister Patricia’ in the Showtime series Shameless and Aunt Haleemah in the upcoming digital series, ‘East Of La Brea from, Paul Feig’s, Powderkeg Media. She also recently premiered in her first SFX role in the  short film, Dispel, with Gina Torres and performing Off-Broadway at the Studio Theatre in her one-woman show, Un-Rule-Lee: I’m Too Big For That Box, has been a pinnacle of career achievement in live theatre.


Jennifer Kersey, Role of "Nurse" 

Jennifer Kersey, a stage actor at heart, experience includes the International Broadway Tour of “The Sound of Music,” Disney Cruise Line shows including Andy in “Toy Story the Musical” and Anne Marie in the award-winning “Disney Dreams”, and the US tour of “Laura Ingalls Wilder” as Laura. A theme park junky, she has performed at Six Flags America, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Paramount's Kings Dominion, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knotts Berry Farm, and Disneyland. Jen also launched her own TYA theater company, Storybook Children’s Theatre, which recently performed its first show, “How I Saved Hanukkah,” with its next show, "The Biggest Little House in the Forest" coming spring 2020. She previously appeared in “9 to 5 Feet Under,” and otherwise worked on “Committed,” with the team. Proud member of SAG-AFTRA, AEA, and AGVA, she is excited to be working on another Ziegelman film.




Current Team