Her Lover

Ithaca, New York | Film Short

Drama, Shorts Program

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This campaign raised $8,291 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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FILMING is COMPLETE! But we still need your help! Have you ever had a love so strong it drove you to desperate acts? The bond between a mother and child is deep and strong. After the death of your mother would you start a family with her lover to reclaim her love and her lost child? Sandy did.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

For me, the right to choose is important and I wanted to explore a family's survival through trauma as they continued without judgment to a new life. Sandy comes to deal with the secrets, shame, love, and guilt that influence her family's important choices with respect. "Some hold on to let go."

The Story

Her Lover tells the story of Sandy, a 26-year-old new mother, and her lover, Cecil, 35, father of her baby, who was her father's handyman when she was 11 in 1975. Sandy is plagued by the mystery surrounding her mother's (Sarah, age 35) life and death. Sandy has grown, yet she is constantly haunted by the secrets. She knows her mother passed away but was never told the details. Cecil has grown from the 20-year-old helper (having served in the military directly after Sarah's death), to reconnect with Sandy and begin a romantic relationship. He also reveals details about her mother's life and death that Sandy didn't know (or did she?).


In Her Lover, Sandy must accept that her unwavering love for her mother sent her on a quest for a truth that led her to the universal: be careful what you wish for. At the same time, she exposes the fragility of memory and the unnerving possibility that she was trying to gain a connection with her mother by having an affair with her mother’s lover.

What's at stake

Ultimately, Sandy and Cecil must decide if the truth before them can lead them to the place they’ve longed for, to leave behind the trauma of the past and enter the promise of a new future.

Why me

I have two children of my own and I cherish that connection. I also have a deep love for my mother. And, like Sandy, I marvel at the fact that my mother had me, within her, before I was born, as her mother had her before she was born. We carry with us our family.

At the same time, in the years since having my children and experiencing what we give of ourselves to them, I've contemplated how some choose not to have children and, some even, at a different juncture, might choose to end their own lives. And I've realized how important choice is to me. And how universally important an issue choice is and how nowhere is it more so than where it concerns our bodies.

How You Can Help

Please choose a great family-centric incentive to the right and help us fund Her Lover. Or click here to make a non-incentive contribution.

Also visit our website for more info!


Her Lover is a SAG/AFTRA micro-budget film, with a final budget of $20,000 - we are halfway there! Join the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, which has awarded us our wardrobe budget!

Your support will go a long way in helping us reach our goals of working with a great cast and crew, paying them all equitably, feeding them well, and making the best film we can!

Our Actors

(keep your eyes on this space)

Mary Healy as SANDY

She wants the truth, what will she do with it?

Mary holds a BFA in Acting from Boston University.

Unlike most redheads, Mary's journey to acting was in direct response to NOT being cast as Annie twice. After suffering her first and ultimately worst rejection in the fifth grade, Mary came to theatre school to prove the naysayers and pursue her "tomorrow". Mary is the ultimate New England stereotype-Irish American gal with a fully red-headed family (although this clearly did not read to fifth-grade drama teacher, Mrs. Puccia). In addition to acting, Mary also has a passion for teaching and working with children, with whom she has done curriculum development and directing.

Michael Emery as CECIL

The man who is her lover.

With over 70 professional acting credits, award-winning actor Michael Emery trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. For nearly twenty years, Michael has worked steadily in film and television projects, including appearances on Monk, Shameless, Body of Proof opposite Dana Delany, and Blue Bloods portraying "Phil Daelman", a thief who terrorizes a Latino family.

Michael has appeared in several full-length feature films. He appeared alongside Frances Fisher and Steve Howie in the indie feature Love on the Run directed by Ash Christian. He showed his acting range in the award-winning film Randy's Canvas in the role of Henry, the older brother of Randy, a young autistic artist. Michael's next performance was as a town drifter in the action/horror genre film Bone Tomahawk starring Kurt Russell, Richard Jenkins, David Arquette, and Patrick Wilson. It was his role in this film that garnered him noted attention as an accomplished actor.

Robyne Parrish as SARAH

The mother who loved them and made choices that affected them all.

Parrish is currently appearing in the award winning SLEEP NO MORE in New York at the Mckittrick Hotel. TV/FILM: Law and Order, Gossip Girl, The Crowded Room (with Tom Holland), The Onion News Network, Nobody Wants to Shoot a Woman (starring Max Casella), A Man Called Otto (with Tom Hanks) and Help Me, Help You (opposite Richard Kind and Steve Guttenberg). Off-Broadway: The York, The Mint, Out of the Box, Project Y and NYMF. Regional: The Arden, CLO, Virginia Stage and PIttsburgh Public. IG Robyne-Parrish www.robyneparrish.com

Galway McCullough as LEM

The father who loved his wife and his family, and was trying to keep it together.

Galway is a NYC-based actor, fight choreographer, and voice actor. Since missing Little League games for his professional stage debut at age 12 he's performed in over 60 plays, including regional and national tours, a world premier by Charles L. Mee and a one man show that was just shy of 10,000 words long. He's voiced a couple of national commercials and audiobooks for the Library of Congress program for the visually impaired. On camera he's shot scenes with Steve Buscemi, James Spader, Chris Meloni and Vinnie Jones with appearances on Boardwalk Empire, Bull, Blindspot , a couple cameos on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Blacklist, FBI, Law & Order: Organized Crime, and Only Murders in the Building. You can see clips of his work at https://vimeo.com/galwaymccullough

Samantha Falsetta as SANDY (11)

Emma Jo Whalen as JEN

What's Next

After the filming, post-production, and premieres we are hoping for a successful festival run where we will gather even more support for Her Lover to be made into a feature film where we will go back to that house in 1975 and see how this all started and see where it ends up. We're sure it's gonna be full of love.

Click below to support us!

Wish List

Why now

Her Lover unearths the deep love that has haunted Sandy and can haunt many as they grow from childhood to adulthood. Her experience is not universal, but the deep love this family felt for each other is worth exploring and possibly striving for. We are left with hope.

What would any of us do for love?


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

Cash Pledge

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Pay our Crew!

Costs $5,040

Help make this film equitable pay!

Yummy eats!

Costs $800

We'll be working for 4 hard days shooting this film, having fun creating art with each other, to share with you! Please help fuel or energy!

Our Fabulous Director of Photography

Costs $1,000

Help us bring Robert Lodge from Baltimore, MD to help us make this beautiful film a reality!

Heidi Ecklund of Hudson Valley Casting

Costs $1,000

Help us pay Heidi and her interns for all their inspired work bringing our wonderful cast together!

All expenses covered!

Costs $1,080

Expenses add up! Let's make sure we get those funds back to the cast and crew!

A party on the Lake!

Costs $1,080

I wish we could make this happen! But making up the rest of the budget is gonna take the party funds! But it would be nice!

About This Team

Elizabeth Stuelke has been writing and directing for over 10 years. And has recently completed the Sundance Directing Actors Lab. She is a dual member of NYWIFV and WIFV DC, and has worked with executives Steve Douglas-Craig and Grahame Wood (Maclachlan Wood). She was a director and executive producer on the WIVF DC "Making Shorts" contest winner, "Waiting for Galdot," which has garnered numerous festival selections since its premiere in Washington, DC, 2023.

Robert Lodge is a highly skilled and versatile Director of Photography and Cinematographer renowned for his exceptional talent in visual storytelling. With a keen eye for detail, Robert has mastered lighting and camera movement to evoke powerful emotions that resonate with audiences. His work reflects a deep understanding of the nuances of filmmaking, allowing viewers to connect with the narrative on a profound level. Robert was the DP on "Waiting for Galdot."

Heidi Eklund CSA is the owner of Hudson Valley Casting and has served as the casting director for various types of projects including film, commercials, promos, voiceover, and more. Heidi still loves acting and will return to it when she is old and gray. "I always knew my acting career would blossom when I was past the age of 60. "Heidi is so grateful to have cast numerous projects side by side with Amy Hutchings Casting.

Ben Weingartner is a freelance sound recordist, audio engineer, and composer based in Richmond, Virginia. Across numerous short films, features, and a variety of other works, he has enjoyed collaborating creatively with others to help bring great stories to life and is always eager for the next project.

Current Team