New York City, New York | Film Short

Comedy, Drama

game girl

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

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This campaign raised $8,541 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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Recovering from her toxic relationship, cyberpunk, sad-girl Spencer must retrieve her childhood Gameboy from her depressed ex as her reality distorts into a 90’s style video game, and she risks losing all five of her lives in order to break out of their cycle.

About The Project

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Mission Statement

For most women and misogyny-affected individuals, breaking out of a toxic relationship is unfortunately a rite of passage. As female storytellers, we believe it is our duty to shed light on the nuance and complexity within this dynamic through this simple premise: a woman wants her Gameboy back.

The Story

For most women and misogyny-affected individuals, surviving and breaking out of a toxic relationship is unfortunately a rite of passage. Oftentimes, in order to understand our own self worth and reach a point where we decide that loving ourselves is more important than falling into the toxicity of modern dating, we undergo repeated emotional abuse and manipulation.

After having had enough of my own tumultuous dating experiences, I, Rachel, did the only thing I knew how to do: I wrote a (mediocre) script. Gamegirl… then titled Gameboy, followed a young woman who sets off to get her Gameboy console back from her ex.

Fast forward into the depths of the COVID Winter, I began to share my past with the women in my life, and came to understand just how remarkably unremarkable my experiences were. Even if each person I spoke with hadn’t undergone an emotionally abusive relationship, they knew at the very least a few friends that had. Jess, my now co-writer, was one of the first people I opened up to about this and together we bonded over stories and themes of female empowerment, toxic cycles and mental health. As two storytellers, we picked apart every last detail and wrote, and re-wrote, and re-wrote Gamegirl to get it to where it is today.

But the premise remains as simple: A girl wants her Gameboy back. What sets this story apart, is the nuance and complexity we interrogate within this dynamic. We purposefully designed this story to be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to toxic relationships. We neither full-out address the abuse itself and make anyone relive their trauma on screen, nor blame anyone for causing it. Instead, we focus on the level of difficulty, confusion and need to overcome that it takes in order to let go of the game and choose yourself. We aim to inspire the women and misogyny-affected individuals who watch this short to choose themselves too.

To us, Gamegirl is just the beginning of a larger conversation wrapped in a familiarity and nostalgic intrigue. By utilizing what's comfortable, we can take on the uncomfortable.

With love,

Rachel & Jess


Cyberpunk Spencer comes face to face with her ex, Colby, for the first time since their demise and demands her beloved Gameboy back. As Colby relentlessly tries to “woo” her back into his life, 8-bit by 8-bit, Spencer’s world starts to glitch and deteriorate as various video game elements animate into the live action. The friction skyrockets as Spencer’s remaining lives or 'hearts' begin to fade away. She attempts to leave his apartment, but is trapped by Colby’s ploys to get her to move to LA with him. The screen collapses and explodes into a new world; a fully pixelated Spencer drops from the sky into a 90’s style, video game, cardboard box arena, and the two engage in a battle to take control.

GAMEGIRL is a cross between Wes Anderson’s Hotel Chevalier and Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim v. The World. Hotel Chevalier’s moody undertones combined with Scott Pilgrim’s video game-like aesthetic creates a mixed-media storytelling experience and immerses the audience in a dreamlike alternate reality that is reflective of Spencer’s mind.

The live-action reality and saturated pixelated video game world come together to display Spencer’s inner turmoil visually through stamina meters, heart lives, gold coins and a pixelated battle sequence. Spencer’s “heart lives” track with her throughout the film and represent her mental energy. Morphing from LED decorative light fixtures on the wall to hovering 2D pixels above her head, the number of hearts glowing correspond to the number of chances she has left until she loses herself to Colby and the game world entirely. The more into game-like animation the film falls, the more the audience can understand that Spencer is falling into these quite literal mind games with Colby.

Filled with quirky camera movements, Gamegirl balances depth with a playful tone. Utilizing strategic split screens, the audience has omniscience. From the use of jarring vertigo effects to comical camera whips, humor is certainly ever-present amidst the story’s profundity.


COVID-19 & Safety

To ensure a safe set, will have a COVID-19 Supervisor to ensure face masks are worn at all times, and manage routine temperature checks. Additionally, all crew members will require proof of vaccination and/or a negative test within 72 hours before filming.

Our supervisor will ensure surfaces are disinfected frequently before and after the shoot, and hand sanitizers are available for all cast and crew to use throughout.



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About This Team

Rachel Lipkin (co-director / co-writer - she/her) is a screenwriter, future creative development exec, producer, director and certified lost-cause living in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. She graduated from NYU Tisch in 2019 with a major in Drama and double minors in Film&TV and MCC (fancy communications aka…communications). When she isn't being woken up by her cat at 5am, Rachel can be seen pretending she knows how to skateboard, channelling her inner Scorpio (swipe left for evidence), jotting down heinously terrible dad jokes and overall, just having a silly goose time. She currently works at Boat Rocker Studios and is also developing a 1970’s inspired detective noir screenplay in her spare time. Much like her personality, it’s a dramedy of sorts.

Her favorite childhood Gameboy game is Warrioland II (the II is very important).


Jess Kantorowitz (co-writer / role of ‘Spencer’ - she/her) went to NYU Tisch, is a nyc based artist/actor/musician. She has a phobia of fruit, an alien obsessed grandfather, 2 very jewish parents, a nail biting habit, anxiety (duh), every Billy Joel album memorized, just the right amount of body dysmorphia, a regular poop schedule and a great personality. Her favorite video games is Mario Bros (also duh) and her least favorite is Wii Fit.


Dayva Weiss (co-director - she/her) is a film, music video director, & future sci-fi showrunner seriously convinced she’s living in the Matrix. She graduated from NYU Tisch majoring in Film & Television Production with a minor in Child & Adolescent Mental Health. A Sims champion (lol), she can be found caring for her virtual alien babies and having an existential crisis about the multiverse. Outside of Gamegirl, she is currently developing a science fiction series and an experimental visual album. She winds down after a long day of existential dread by drinking tea and watching an episode of Black Mirror — alas, the cycle continues.

Her favorite childhood game is the Sims 2 “Strangetown” (the weird one with the alien hotel subplot) on her pink DS Lite.


Julie Christeas (Executive Producer - she/her) is the founder and CEO of Tandem Pictures, since 2010. Her recent films include BLACK BEAR (Sundance 2020) starring Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon, which is now available to stream on Mubi, and THE SURROGATE (SXSW 2020/Monument Releasing). In her heart of hearts, Julie has an altruistic idea of wanting to reach out to people who come from different backgrounds and have different points of view than herself, and see how she can collaborate and tell those stories with a standard of excellence, and get them seen by a larger global community. Additionally, Julie is a proponent of ensuring a sustainable and environmentally-friendly set by composting, recycling and removing any single-use paper/plastic tableware.

Her favorite old-school games included Spy Hunter and Commandore 64 - Frogger.


Pranav Kothary (Producer - he/him) is a writer, director, producer, and editor who hates moths. They're so gross. He graduated from NYU Tisch with a B.F.A. In Film and TV. Born and raised in Mumbai, India, he chose to join the arts to see how many people he could disappoint at once. Outside of Gamegirl, Pranav is writing two feature films, editing a feature of his own, and is producing/editing various projects with his colleagues. His passions outside of film are; climbing, making music, cooking, homemaking, and hating moths.

His favourite childhood game was Beyblade played on a Gameboy Advanced.


Sydney Lolita Cusic (Producer / Role of ‘Lady’ - she/her) is an actor, director, writer and producer born and raised on the SouthSide of Chicago. She is an alumna New York University Tisch School of the Arts.Having studied acting through the University and with the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Sydney has a sensitive understanding of the human condition. The game she currently plays daily is Project Makeover aka glorified candy crush. She also hid her family GameBoy Color for YEARS from her little brothers because she didn't want them ruining her progess. Shhh...don’t tell them. 

Current Team