End of Summer

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Family, LGBTQ

Serena Kuo

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $22,856 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

234 supporters | followers

Enter the amount you would like to pledge


"End of Summer" is a short film about a Taiwanese-American family's car trip down to Los Angeles for the daughter's College Move-In Day. Their journey is flipped upside down when the father is suddenly struck by a heart attack in the middle of nowhere.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

This film is centered around a first-generation Asian-American immigrant family with a young, queer female protagonist. Our team, lead by a WOC producer, director/writer, and cinematographer, is committed to building a set that reflects the diverse world of the film, both in front+behind the lens.

The Story

"End of Summer" centers around a first-generation Taiwanese-American family — Robert, Marianne, and their daughter Dawn — on Dawn's college move-in day. It started as the best day of Dawn's life, a brand new start at a prominent school in Los Angeles. 


Unexpectedly, Robert is struck by a heart attack on the drive in the middle of nowhere. As the ground falls beneath Dawn's feet and the sun sets below the horizon, she must work together with her mother to navigate themselves out of the darkness. 


This is a story 18 years in the making.


I was born in Taipei, Taiwan, the only child to a shy couple — my introverted father, who was in tech, and my compassionate mother, who had quit her job to raise me.



My parents decided to move to the US to provide me with more opportunities. I loved to draw, and my parents wanted me to pursue a future that brings me happiness without the traditional prejudice against "starving artists."



My parents left everything that was familiar and came to the US, where I spent my teens with many other first-generation Asian-Americans just like me, where I became ingratiated into the American culture, where I discovered my sexuality without overt oppression, where I thrived in the arts and got into the top film school of my choice with a full scholarship. 



At the end of high school, I felt like I was living the dream. The future was mine. 


And then came my college move-in day.


I recall my father filling the family van (we had dogs) to the brim with new dormroom furniture. I recall following that full van with my new car, a reward for the full scholarship. I recall belting at the top of my lungs to the Bodyguard soundtrack next to my mother in the car because I couldn't contain my excitement.


I also recall my father's van veering off the road, in a strange way. The dust of his swerving. I recall seeing him as he pulled up next to me in the parking lot. 


I recall him turning to me slowly. He's never had a seisure before. 


My father was one of those lean, handsome people that looked 15 years younger than his age. He had youth in his smile. He was so very capable of fixing anything. I looked just like him and he was proud of that.



When the ambulence arrived and drove him away on a desert road, the world as I knew it shattered. I looked to my mother, suspended in the moment, and then at the road. 


I recall suddenly realizing how helpless I was, and how much of that certainty and self-assuredness I had about my present and my future were built on the shoulders of my parents.



I recall the sun setting quickly, and driving, in a van full of my useless stuff, and my mother driving behind me.


All the scenarios ran through my head. I wanted to bail out of this experience. I realized that I was responsible for something, and that there's would be a failure and a consequence if I didn't own up to my responsibilites. 


So I pushed down all of those scenarios running through my head and just drove. Looking back, that road was the beginning of my adulthood. 


"End of Summer" is my story and the story of my family. It's a story about being thrown into adulthood without warning, about having to ride out the darkness in order to survive, it's about having no choice but to confront fear for the sake of the ones you love.



It is also the culmination of a decade-long emotional journal endured by my parents, who dived head first into a foreign country so that I would have everything they couldn't have.


Every day, we're confronted by actions that challenge the values in this country. Every day, we see populations fighting for their voices to be heard because we're more informed about discrimination and more equipped with tools to broadcast our opinions. We often feel powerless, but we are also constantly reminded of our potential for change. As a storyteller who is queer, Asian-American, first-generation, and female, I feel strongly about contributing to the narrative of this country using my tool of the trade. I want to tell a story that features people like me and share their struggles on a big screen in a way that is relatable for both my community and the community at large. I believe that now is more pertinent than ever to do so.


If we are able to acquire adequate production funds, "End of Summer" is slated to enter principal photography right around the end of September (which is right around the actual end of summer/fall equinox!). 


Lastly, but very importantly, here's how your support will go to work on this project:


Stay tuned for updates and additional content! Thank you for your time. 




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

Camera Rental

Costs $3,500

A good camera and crisp lenses will help tell our very visual desert story.

Grip & Electric

Costs $1,800

Lighting and stands create the atmosphere to effectively tell a dramatic story.

Standing Sets

Costs $1,120

A hospital standing set allows us to film two pivotal scenes without being in the way of patients.


Costs $8,500

Our 4-day shoot requires expert hands on deck for quality and safety. This pays for their work.


Costs $2,500

This pays for all of our actors' hard work on our project.


Costs $1,200

Food = fuel. A reasonable meal budget ensures that everyone on set is properly nourished.


Costs $1,200

Having permits for our real locations ensures a safe and legal working environment.


Costs $180

This holds the film, the culmination of all the work. Viva la technology!

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

We are excited to put together a team full of powerful, intelligent, and diverse humans.


Producer - Roxy Shih

Roxy Shih is an internationally acclaimed Taiwanese-American producer and director. Born in Europe, Roxy’s multi-cultural background and experience has given her a distinct outlook in her cinematic accomplishments. Her work is extremely versatile and she has worked with many independent companies both overseas and domestically, making her one of the most in demand independent cinema artists today.

Roxy was one of ten chosen for the prestigious Armed With A Camera fellowship in 2011 and received a grant to direct a short film, Play Time, that premiered at the DGA and went on a successful film festival tour internationally. She has had her work shown at an array of festivals such as The LA Film Festival, LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, Cannes, SXSW, Toronto Independent, and Dances with Films.

On the side, Roxy believes in giving back to her community and serves as the Festival Director for the Taiwanese American Film Festival to give other Taiwanese and Taiwanese American cinema artists a platform to be seen.




Director of Photography - Hana Kitasei

Hana Kitasei is a Japanese and American LA-based cinematographer who grew up in New York, DC and Tokyo. She graduated with a BA in mathematics from Harvard and an MFA in cinematography from the American Film Institute. She assisted Ellen Kuras, ASC, (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) while cutting her teeth on a wide range of narrative, documentary, and experimental projects.




Writer/Director - Serena Kuo

Serena Kuo is a Brooklyn-based Asian-American filmmaker born in Taipei, Taiwan. Serena’s body of work spans narrative, commercial, music video, documentary, and installation, all of which center around the experience of solitude and the confrontation with strange new environments. Her work has traveled to more than 50 international and domestic film festivals, such as Sundance, SXSW, Outfest, Frameline, NewFest, and SIFF.

As a queer, first-generation woman of color maker, Serena is passionate about telling stories of intersectional identities that are not just plot lines, but the makeup of everyday individuals.




"Robert" - Barney Cheng

Barney Cheng landed on the Hollywood map as an actor in 2002 with his acclaimed performance in Woody Allen's Hollywood Ending.  The New York Times described Barney's comedic timing as "surgically precise." The Orange County Register raved that Barney "steals every scene he's in." Barney accompanied Woody Allen to promote the film and to open the 55th Cannes Film Festival. 


In addition to acting, Barney works as a director, writer and producer. His award-winning films have collectively screened in over 100 film festivals worldwide. 


Barney collaborated with Oscar-winning Producer Li-Kong Hsu (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Wedding Banquet, Eat Drink Man Woman) and directed his first feature filmBaby Steps. A US-Taiwan-China co-production, Baby Steps received the 2014 Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access award.




"Marianne" - Leann Lei


Leann is a classically trained opera singer, an educator as well as an actress, a producer and a director. She lived in China, Austria, and the American South teaching vocal performance, music and Mandarin before following her passion and moving to Los Angeles becoming an actress and a film maker. Leann Lei made her TV debut on the FOX series "Bones" as a guest star Tammy Hyun. She then co-starred on ABC's "Castle" and TNT's 'The Last Ship". She has also collaborated with filmmakers on dynamic roles in numerous independent films, including "To The Bone", directed by writer/director Marti Noxon, staring Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves; Lionsgate picture "Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland", directed by Lev L. Spiro, starring Alan Ritchson.




Current Team