If Only

New York City, New York | Film Short


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This campaign raised $10,482 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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'If Only' is a love letter to my mum, who died of cancer in 2012. Writing it has allowed me to explore the goodbye I wish I could've given her and starts a conversation about grief and death - topics that rarely get discussed. Our production team is amazing and I can't wait to make my first film!

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

The entire production team behind 'If Only' is made up of women or members of the LGBT community. We have a female director, a female writer, and a cast that is three-quarters female - with a woman over 40 in a leading role. 'If Only' surpasses the requirements for the Bechdel Test.

The Story

When my mother was diagnosed with cancer I had no idea it was terminal, and although I moved back to London from New York to help her through treatment, our last summer together was fraught with arguments and misunderstandings. In the four and a half years since her death, I have often wondered how different that summer would have been if I had known she was dying - would I have had more patience? Would we have had fewer arguments? What kinds of adventures could we have had as a family? My brother and I reacted very differently to our Mum's diagnosis - I didn't feel capable of dealing with both the emotional and practical side of caring for someone who was sick, so I chose to be practical, almost completely cutting myself off from her emotionally. My brother, on the other hand, was much better at providing Mum with the emotional support she needed; the way that different way siblings cope when facing the same challenging situation is something that I have explored throughout the film. 

I put a lot of work into coping with my grief through grief conselling, art therapy and cognative behavioural therapy, and in some ways 'If Only' feels like one of the final pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. In reality, we never stop grieving, but in writing this film I have been able to explore other ways in which I could have behaved, and create resolutions I never had.

'If Only' is the very first film that I have written - I have been working as an actor for many years, but this story is the first one to spark something in me that felt impossible to ignore as a writer. That's one of the things I have found most interesting about this process - when my mum was alive, she was convinced that I was a writer and kept encouraging me to explore that side of my creativity, but I dismissed the idea and focused on performing. I love the fact that the first film I have written is both dedicated to and inspired by her - it feels fitting - as does the fact that our shoot happens to be taking place over Mother's Day weekend here in the U.S.

Although this film has been inspired by my own experience and the mother has been named after my own, the family in 'If Only' is fictional. Greg, Zoe and Katie each have unique relationships with their mother Vera, and are coping with her imminent death in very different ways. Katie, the youngest of the siblings, is very close to her mother and is great at supporting her and keeping her spirits up. Zoe, the middle child can't cope with the emotions of the situation at all, so she focuses all her energy on making sure all the practical things are taken care of - and although this is done with the best of intentions, it creates a distance between her and the rest of the family. Greg, the oldest of Vera's children, can't cope with the reality of the situation at all and has been burying his head in the sand until now. 'If Only' is set on Vera's last day before she is moved to hospice and follows the children as they unite to give their mother the best last day they can.

Once I had written the script and had decided to make this film, I turned to some of my closest friends and asked them to join me on this journey - I'm incredibly lucky to have such talented people in my life, and feel honoured that they have agreed to collaborate with me on this project that is so close to my heart.

As a feminist and a proud ally, it feels wonderful to have the opportunity to work with a female and LGBTQ heavy production team, a female director and majority female cast - something that is all too rare in this industry. 

This film is extremely precious to me and your support is an integral part in bringing it to life - anything you can contribute will be greatly appreciated, as will helping me spread this story.


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Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $3,000

Director of Photography. Sound Mixer. Assistant Camera. Assistant Director. Make Up Artist.


Costs $600

12 members of cast and crew working extremely hard for two days straight - we've got to keep them fed and watered to keep their energy up!


Costs $1,000

Once we've filmed everything we've got to make it into a movie!

Sound Editing

Costs $1,000

Editing the sound from the shoot for our film.

Necessary Bureaucracy

Costs $1,200

Insurance and union fees.

Festival Fees

Costs $700

We want this film to go places and be seen by people but submitting to festivals doesn't come cheap!


Costs $250

Over the weekend of the shoot we will need to move cast, crew and equipment to various locations across Brooklyn.


Costs $250

Props to make our story come to life.

About This Team

This stellar team is bursting with talent - I am so lucky to be working on this project with some of my closest friends and people that I trust implicitly, both personally and professionally.

I'm Anna Frankl-Duval, I'm the writer and executive producer of 'If Only' and will be playing the role of Zoe. I have spent the last decade or so, working as an actor on both sides of the Atlantic but 'If Only' is the first film that I've written. This film is extremely personal to me and making it feels like the first time in my creative life that I have stopped asking for permission to tell a story. The people I have asked to join this team inspire and support me endlessly and have opinions and artistic visions that I truly value.


Our director, Sarah Wharton, and I, met in the Spring of 2012 - right before my life was turned upside daown. We had been cast in a plaly together and quickly realised that the friendship we had was extremely special. When I returned to London to be by my mother's side during her cancer treatment, Sarah and I decided to write letters to each other every day (via email) and share our most intimate thoughts and secrets. Through this Sarah became my closest confidant during the most difficult time in my life, and continues to be to this day. Our letter writing project developed into an artistic project and established Sarah and I as creative partners. Sarah is an immensely talented actor, writer and producer who inspires me every day with her fearlessness and commitment to art. I could think of no one better to direct this very precious and intimate project.

Lucy Norris, one of our producers, is an extremely experienced producer, business woman, host, and a phenomenal friend. Lucy and I met on set of a film in 2009 and have pretty much been inseperable since - even when divided by an ocean - I don't know what I would've done without her over the last eight years! I am absolutely in awe of Lucy's knowledge, skill and boldness in her her work - she is business-savvy, innovative and one of the hardest working people I have ever met. Lucy is an absolute asset to the team and having her as part of this project is an honour as a professional and as a friend.

Russell Kohlmann is another multi-talented human and is one of the co-producers of 'If Only' and is playing the role of Greg. I love Russell's work, both as an actor and as a producer, his strong choices, opinions and committment are some of my favourite things about him as a creative and as a friend. Russell has years of experience in this industry - I learn from him every day and expect to keep doing so for a long time!

David Mangiamele is a singer-songwriter and another old friend of mine. He is another extremely knowledgeable and creative individual who has worked as a performer, writer, and composer. David's music is charming and ranges from quirky and comedic to heartfelt and thought provoking and is always utterly beautiful - I could listen to him sing all day long (and since he's my roommate, sometimes I get to!) David was actually the first person to read the original draft of 'If Only' and his opinions and notes have been invaluable throughout this creative project - I am super excited to have him on board.

Shannon Hamm is a wonderful actress, producer, and meditation teacher and I am so excited to have her as a member of the cast of 'If Only'! Shannon will be playing the role of Katie, the youngest of the siblings, who bring the warmth and playfulness to the family when they need it the most. I have known Shannon for about a year and have always been drawn to her fun, supportive and kind energy - I am so excited to have her on board and am so looking forward to playing her older sister! 

Christine Verleny will be playing Vera. I met Christine properly for the first time at a show that Russell was performing in, it was just as I had finished my third draft of 'If Only' and had cast all the other roles, but I was having trouble finding the right person to play the matriarch of the family. After that evening I couldn't stop thinking about Christine and I knew I had to ask her to play the role - her warm but kick-ass energy was exactly what I was looking for for the role of Vera who is both strong and loving and I am beyond happy that she said yes!

Current Team