Dorris, 85

New York City, New York | Film Short


Maria Akay

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $7,225 for pre-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

66 supporters | followers

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Dorris, 85 is a nuanced look at how Alzheimer's can affect a loved one and their closest relationships. This film will evoke nostalgia through our stylistic choices and speak to a powerful story that many people experience first hand.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

Our female writer/director leads a diverse crew championing a female-focused story: Our protagonist is an eighty-year-old woman with complex emotions and coping mechanisms that are slowly wearing her down. This film aims to raise awareness for those affected by Alzheimer's.

The Story

We begin at the stove. One of the burners won’t light. No problem, we just switch on another and move our oversized pot to the flame. There’s no time to fret on things that cannot be fixed. Much is the attitude of the lovely, eighty-year-old Dorris Havemeyer. From the hall she hears her husband, who can’t seem to find the bathroom. He tells her a story about his birthday and his Uncle Sam, a firework salesman. As the two wait for dinner, they play a friendly game of connect four, recounting highlights from Alvin’s day...



Dorris, 85 is inspired by writer/director Grace Philips's personal connection with Alzheimer's disease. With grandparents on both sides of her family affected by this disease, she's compelled to explore the subtleties of loving someone who may or may not know they love you back. 


This film is meant to raise awareness in a tasteful and artful way. Our team plans to partner with organizations serving the Alzheimer's community to make sure their stories are respectfully told.



Dorris Havemeyer has been a devoted wife to her husband Alvin for over fifty years. Tonight is his eighty-fifth birthday. She fixes him his favorite meal, allows him to win at connect four, and listens to his same two stories over and over and over—as if they were new every time. By the end of the evening, Dorris recognizes that she’s not able the care for her husband in his progressive state. Lit only by birthday cake sparklers, Dorris recounts loving memories of her family, before Alzheimer’s changed everything. 



In a conscious effort  to accentuate the bleakness of everyday-living with the disease, the film will be shot in black and white with high contrast and a lot of black space - holding a mirror to the complex emotions those living with Alzheimer's face. 



Alone again in the present, Dorris stares at the image of her husband and admits to herself that she cannot keep on living this way. It’s too hard, and too painful.


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Production Designer

Costs $500

The story would be best told with Dorris's environment executed precisely, which is the film's core

Wardrobe Stylist and Wardrobe

Costs $1,000

Proper wardrobe will make Dorris and Alvin feel like they could be your grandparents

Music Composition

Costs $500

Original music is key in setting the tone of Dorris and Alvin's story


Costs $500

This film cannot be made without finding the perfect Dorris and Alvin, at all stages of their lives!


Costs $500

The right kitchen is needed to watch a snippet of Dorris's relationship with Alvin unfold

Craft Services

Costs $300

Feeding our cast and crew on set is important to us!

Crew Labor

Costs $2,200

As much as our thank you's are appreciated, we would like to pay our crew for their services

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $500

Alvin's birthday should be as realistic as possible, and Dorris's home as cozy as possible

About This Team

Grace Philips, Writer/Director - With over ten short films under her belt, Grace has been actively writing and directing since 2012. Grace’s last film, Phantom Sugar (2018), premiered at the Buffalo International Film Festival and screened at the IFC Center in NYC as part of the Greenwich Village Film Festival. In addition to her short projects, Grace has penned three feature screenplays. Currently, she has two other short films in post-production and is working on her feature directorial debut, set to begin production in 2021.


Andreas Roalsvig, Director of Photography - Andreas previously worked at Keslow Camera in Los Angeles before moving cross-country to pursue a career in cinematography. He currently works on a wide variety of projects in New York. Andreas has photographed many short films over the years, including Grace's previous films, and is excited to continue the collaboration.


Kevin Bay, Producer - "The stories we live by shape our reality." With over ten years of experience, Kevin has successfully produced feature films, documentary short films, short films, published a cookbook, and provided high impact photography and music videos for artists and their brands. Kevin works as an artist and collaborates with artists. The projects he's attracted to reflect humanity's positive existence or compassionately bring to consciousness where we are failing. He is a true multi-hyphenate: In addition to the work shown here, his research is published in scientific journals as a neuroscientist and a chemist, he has recorded with musicians as a studio drummer, and has worked as a teacher of the English language in the United States and abroad. 


Maria Akay, Producer - Formerly the Director of the NYC Independent Film Festival, she is now focusing her skills and passion to produce film. Maria has a number of associate producer credits on various short films and has worked on an Amazon Prime docu-series. In 2018, she was a panelist at the Nasty Women Unite Festival and mentored at FindSpark. She currently sits on multiple screener teams for film festivals, and in addition to Dorris, 85, is producing her first feature film. 


Joseph Stephans, Executive Producer - Joseph is a Minnesota-born, New York City-based producer with over twenty-five years of experience in TV/Film. Most recently he was the producer of The Outside Story, starring Bryan Tyree Henry. His extensive credits include Precious, Requiem for a Dream, and Law & Order.


Current Team