New York City, New York | Film Short


Celeste Holben

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $11,821 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

76 supporters | followers

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Why do people do things that go against their interests? In no-win scenarios, should you flee or fight? Questions both ancient and modern permeate “Deserters,” which hinges on the ever-shifting balance between morality and loyalty. The film forces the viewer to ask: are we culpable?

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

"Deserters" is extremely timely, both in its relevance to the "Me Too" movement as well as its proximity to the Trump era. Led by two women producers and a team of passionate young filmmakers, "Deserters" aims to disrupt the male gaze in favor of storytelling through a woman's eyes.

The Story


How do you justify betraying your family, even when your moral compass tells you it's the right thing to do?


"Deserters" follows Sadie, a counterdependent woman who married into a world of wealth and privilege, as she attempts to navigate a weekend engagement celebration with her passive husband, Bryan, and her in-laws. Throughout, we see fragments of Sadie on a solo voyage through the desert, a physicalization of her isolation.


At the family's estate in the Hamptons, Sadie’s mother-in-law, Margaret, fawns over her youngest son, Erik, and his new fiancé, Haley. Margaret has always resented Sadie for her "unseemly" roots, long before Haley joined the family, but Haley's engagement to Erik has cast an even darker shadow and, paradoxically, shined an even bigger light on what Margaret perceives to be Sadie's failures as a wife and family member. Sadie is abandoned by Bryan for much of the weekend and left to fend for herself as Howard, the clan’s patriarch, reconfirms a horrifying truth about the family, one that Sadie has experienced firsthand. Caught between a fight for survival and the crushing weight of the familial loyalty demanded of her, Sadie must decide whether any circumstances justify deserting for the sake of self-preservation.


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Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Crafty and Catering

Costs $1,200

A hungry crew is a hangry crew.


Costs $3,000

"Deserters" is a highly visual film, so we want to rent the best possible gear to achieve our look.

Desert Location

Costs $1,500

For our desert location, we need permits, insurance, and travel funds to shoot in a national park.


Costs $500

We plan on hitting the thrift stores hard - just think: your contribution will go that much further!


Costs $800

We want to make sure we run a safe, professional set. Insurance will cover our cast, crew, and gear.


Costs $3,000

Even though it's a passion project, no one should have to work for free!

About This Team

Mitchell Schneider | Director


With training from the University of Michigan’s acclaimed School of Music, Theater and Dance, The School of Visual Arts, and Columbia University, Mitchell has amalgamated the best facets of theatrical direction, cinema production, and writing into the cutting-edge and dreamlike personal style he exhibits in his work. Working as a freelance producer, videographer, and editor, he has worked on projects that have premiered at Cannes, Rolling Stone, and Elle Magazine among others. He is also the visual end of the pop/folk duo Shawn and Jill, whom he adores nearly as much as the team he is working with to bring you DESERTERS.



Moe Koltun | Writer


Moe is a screenwriter, playwright, novelist and journalist who has been published in The New York Times. A graduate of the University of Michigan’s undergraduate film program with a concentration in screenwriting, Moe also received honors in creative writing, studied playwriting under Gordon OyamO, and wrote a full-length novel as his thesis. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue professional screenwriting shortly after graduation, and misses his native New York City’s subways and pizza parlors with a passion.



Alex Schunot | Producer

Alex Schunot has been creating films since she was a young girl, forcing her cousins to recreate some of the most important films in the canon (we’re looking at you Lion King and Little Mermaid). Alex attended the University of Michigan where she received her B.A. in Screen Arts and Culture with a concentration in Screenwriting and a Minor in Writing. After graduation the mid-western girl moved to LA LA Land, where she currently resides perusing her passions: writing, creating and drinking tea. She is the Co-Creator of the podcast, Co-Piloting where each week they discuss the pilot episode of a TV series. (Yes she is one of those people who prefers TV to film. Don’t Hate.). Recently Alex worked on a reality television show for the Bravo Network to be released later this year. Currently she works at Blueprint Post Production.



Celeste Holben | Producer


Celeste Holben has always known she wanted a job in a creative field. After cycling through architect, chef, actress, and writer, she landed on filmmaking as the career for her. Leaving California behind for greener pastures (despite the inevitable, “Why would you leave California if you want to make movies?”), she attended the University of Michigan and received her degree in Screen Arts and Cultures. Not satisfied with the distance she’d put between herself and Los Angeles, she made the move to Brooklyn in June of 2017. She has been working (and wearing many hats) for Spacestation, a full-service production company, since graduation. Please note that she would love to have coffee with Greta Gerwig… and JK Rowling.


Current Team