Bury Your Fish

Portland, Oregon | Film Short

Drama, Thriller

Emma Josephson

2 Campaigns | Oregon, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $12,505 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

157 supporters | followers

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Bury Your Fish is a dark psychological drama that follows a young woman, who feels isolated and, looking for direction in life. In desperation, she turns to the window light, communicating with her via Morse code. We shot the production in May and are raising funds for post-production.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

This film was created with a majority women/non-binary cast & crew of indie filmmakers from Portland. After graduating college into a pandemic, I wrote this to express the anxiety/depression I was experiencing while I was alone. I hope this is an escape for anyone who feels "stuck" in life.

The Story

Message from the Writer/Director:

This script was developed when I had just graduated college in the middle of the pandemic (June 2020). Being locked inside alone and feeling crushed by lost job opportunities, I turned to screenwriting to make it through the days. Every day I sat down to write at my desk near a big window facing houses on the west hills. When I was looking for inspiration on what I should do next, I looked out my window at night and started to notice lights from some of the houses were flashing in strange patterns. I started imagining “What if the lights were trying to tell me something?”

Bury Your Fish is a culmination of a year full of anxieties, fears, and learning to live in a constant state of uncertainty. As a recent graduate entering the world in this pandemic, things have felt pretty bleak and I’ve looked in for any “sign” of what to do next….  Why not look to the flashing light outside my window?

Any of you non-filmmakers out there may be asking yourself, "Why do we need this much money if we've already shot the film already?" Well... Bury Your Fish was shot back in May with financial support from a RACC grant and support from local gear rental businesses including Koerner Camera and Gearhead. We had enough money to pay our crew and make it through production, but after we've assembled the film we knew it was possible to represent the Portland film community in some larger festivals.  

Post-production on an indie short film can last from 2-6 months, and it's very important that we are able to compensate the post-production team as they work week after week. Film festivals also cost between $20-$100 each to submit to. In order to make sure our efforts in getting into some great festivals are successful, we will be working with some to help market our film.

For indie filmmakers, film festivals are the key to opening doors and providing future opportunities for local film communities and new projects.

We have such a passionate team of people, who are pushing to get this film seen. The money with getting from this campaign is going to allow us to make those dreams come true.


Arkira first started acting because she loves living inside of a million different stories, and I wanna bring people along for the ride! I also love longboarding, cross-stitching, and a pet pig I don’t have yet.

Cassandra is a a film, stage, voice over, & mocap actor. She moonlights as a screen/play writer. Her play, Parlor House: Panic of 1893, received funding from Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.

Emma is an emerging writer & director who began her career making award-winning student films. Since then, she’s gained experience working on independent productions and commercials, and music videos. Her screenwriting has been nominated for a student Emmys and she has received awards and scholarships for being an “Outstanding Filmmaker” at Portland State. She is currently working on a variety of passion projects while freelancing as an editor for Portland creative agencies.
During her time as a student, she worked and learned about filmmaking on commercial and independent productions in town. She is hopeful for the opportunity to bring “Bury Your Fish” to the finish line once we raise the additional funds!

This project became a reality Sarah Whelden (Director of Photography) read the script and was on board to DP.  Sarah Whelden’s award-winning approach to cinematography always puts the story first. It starts with asking “why” before ever considering “how.”
As a queer trans woman, Sarah has a special place in her heart for those in the shadows. She is drawn to narratives that highlight the often chaotic reality between humans and their surroundings, and to characters who may be eager to find themselves but may not know where to start.

Chelsea Unsubee (Producer) is dedicated to supporting and hiring and woman lead crews. She secured the perfect locations for production and brought on a crew of talented and diverse filmmakers from Portland. 

Editor: Rob Martinez has helped assemble this film since day one of post-production. It's been a four-month process so far to bring this film to picture lock (the full visual timeline of the film is edited). We want to be able to pay a decent stipend for the time and work he's put into this project.

Sound Mixer: Sound mixing and design is a HUGELY important part of the post-production process. You may not realize it, but most movies wouldn't feel the same without the detailed technical and creative work put into the sound design.

Composer: Rob is also a very talented musician who jumped right into composing music for this film as we first got into the editing room. He immediately presented concepts for the music that are gonna make this film really special.

Colorist: We've recently hired an amazing colorist who is going to develop visual looks that are going to compliment the story and cinematography of this film. 

VFX & Graphics: We are planning to hire someone to create unique subtitles and graphics that fit the style of the film. The graphics that we'll see on screen are some of the most important aspects of communicating a large part of the story. 

Marketing:  So many films you've never seen could be incredible... that's why it's so important to invest money and energy into finding someone to help market and share this film with the right people. This money will be used to hire a publicist, which will increase our chances of getting into larger festivals and having Bury Your Fish be seen! 

Festival Submissions: For indie filmmakers, film festivals are the key to opening doors and providing future opportunities for local film communities and new projects.

We have such a passionate team of people, who are pushing to get this film seen. The money we receive from this campaign is going to allow us to make those dreams come true.



The film community here in Portland has graciously welcomed me with open arms as a new writer and director and as a crew member on set for many years. I have been working on productions in town since I was in high school, saving up for a project like Bury Your Fish. So far I've paid for the production majority out of my pocket along with an additional grant from Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC).

Through working on sets I’ve connected with people, organizations, and small businesses to secure a variety of in-kind donations that have helped us make this film happen on a low budget. We received discounts from Koerner Camera to get our camera package, as well as discounted equipment from Gearhead. Although we were able to pay most of the crew on set a day rate, some of the main collaborators on this project also donated their time to make it all happen.

Why this film now?

The film Bury Your Fish, is for anyone who has grieved, dealt with depression, or started processing emotions they've neglected for too long. Like most people, I've struggled with my mental health more than ever in this past year. For me, this story is a culmination of intense anxieties, fears, and the inability to cope in the same ways I used to. Channeling those emotions into my writing was all I had, it was an escape from a world that felt like it was crumbling. I hope viewers will see themselves represented in the main character and be able to find solace and relief that none of us are alone, even if just for a moment. 



We need everyone's help to reach our crowdfunding goal, and even if you are unable to contribute please consider sharing this campaign with friends and family!

Please share our campaign via your social media, email, word-of-mouth, however you want!  We can't do this without you!

Feel free to copy and paste some examples of blurbs you can share below:

Help this local Portland writer/director @emmajosephson reach her goal to raise funds for post-production! They need your help to get BURY YOUR FISH then film seen by audiences! Join them on @seedandspark: https://seedandspark.com/fund/bury-your-fish#story


Are you interested in supporting @emmajosephson and her new film BURY YOUR FISH as they make their way through post-production? Consider following the link below to contribute! @seedandspark: https://seedandspark.com/fund/bury-your-fish#story





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

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Marketing This Film!

Costs $3,000

We want to hire a pro to help market BYF to increase our chances of playing at larger festivals!

Editing (Labor)

Costs $2,000

We want to be able to pay a decent stipend for the time and work he's put into this project.

Sound Mixer & Designer (Labor)

Costs $2,000

To pay for the time and labor of sound mixing. It is such a vital part of BYF as a film!

Colorist (Labor)

Costs $1,500

Did you know films don't come beautifully colored right out of camera?! It takes time..

Music/Composing (Labor)

Costs $1,000

The music that's being made for this film is going to bring it to another level!

VFX & Graphics

Costs $500

There are some very important aspects of this film that will rely on graphics to tell the story!

Festival Submission Fees

Costs $2,000

Submitting to the right festivals is what brings a film to life! The audience can finally see it!

About This Team

Current Team