Jersey Birdies

Old Bridge, New Jersey | Film Feature

Comedy, Drama

Matthew Ruf

1 Campaigns | New Jersey, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $25,119 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

290 supporters | followers

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"Jersey Birdies" is a New Jersey-homegrown, female-led comedy with heart that explores themes of grief, anxiety, family, love and friendship. A story about people coming together feels just right for a world digging out of a pandemic.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

Written by Michelle Bergamo and produced by RufCut Pictures, "Jersey Birdies" is a story about New Jersey, with a NJ-based production be filmed in NJ! Our goal is to make a low-budget, female-forward, relatable indie that makes people laugh and also feel.

The Story

When the Jersey Birdies women's softball team faces elimination from the league, Maria must find a way to balance her own life-struggles to save the group founded by her late sister. 

Maria Romanelli is back in her parents’ home, helping care for her niece and nephews, who recently lost their parents in a tragic accident.

She juggles panic attacks while working at the family’s Italian restaurant, dating Joey and serving as an honorary member of the JERSEY BIRDIES – the women’s softball team founded by her late sister. 

When the Birdies learn they are being kicked out of the league (while Staten Island gets to stay?!), Maria vows to save the team from extinction. And she may have some help from her ex, Brandon, a retired NY Yankee, who has just returned to town…

At its heart, Jersey Birdies is a story about grief.

We're living in a time of individual and collective grief. Three years into a global pandemic means many of us are dealing with loss, anxiety and the desire for human connection. Many are rethinking their past choices and contemplating what's really important in life.

Isloation showed many of us how much we need other people. This is also a major theme in our film, especially in how the Birdies rally around Maria.  

Plus, after the past few years, we could all use a few good laughs! We've got them. 

AND, it's always a great time to showcase a female-led story of strength and friendship written by a woman and featuring a diverse cast.

Jersey Birdies is smart with heart...It's witty, racy banter between friends (think Orange is the New Black), mixed with softball hijinks (think A League of Their Own) and wrapped in sweet moments of family and love...with a side of marinara (think an Italian-family version of Little Miss Sunshine).

A Note from Fritz:

Working with long time collaborator, Matthew Ruf, I believe we have a lot of untapped talent to display with this project. I want to add a slice of life and realism to this compassionate story about an all-female softball team looking to prove to themselves they can commit to greatness and achieve something higher than themselves.

The stories I've written deal with mental health and overcoming blocks in struggle; depicting harsh realities, and I think there's something in this story that'll allow me to portray my signature.

 Behind the scenes of he110 

We plan to shoot over 16 days in the summer of 2023. 

Raising $25,000 now will allow us to move forward with the production (secure locations and equipment, begin casting). 

Here's a nifty PIE chart outling where the funds raised in this campaign will go:

Every dollar pledged will go toward production, and the final frames of this film. Every dollar pledged will be seen in the quality of that final picture that you watch. We're working with a low budget and can assure you that no contribution will be wasted...and every pledge is deeply appreciated.  

MAKE A MONETARY PLEDGE OR LEND LOCATION/GOODS Contributors may choose any amount to pledge. Be sure to check out our fun incentives at certain levels! Do you know a restaurant or school that may allow us to shoot on location? Softball gear to loan? These kinds of contributions would be a HUGE benefit to our production. (see Wishlist tab for more) To discuss lending a location or props please email us at [email protected]

SPREAD THE WORD AND FOLLOW/SUPPORT THIS CAMPAIGN Don't have the funds yourself but would love to support us? No Problem! Please follow this campaign. Seed and Spark unlocks certain perks for our production when we reach different tier levels of campaign followers.  Also, please follow us on social media (links at top of page). 

With our heartfelt gratitude,

Michelle, Fritz, Matthew & Rori 


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


Costs $3,000

We're still in search of a restaurant, a charter bus, and a cabin.


Costs $2,000

Uniforms, uniforms, uniforms! For the Birdies and their opponents. We'll re-use where possible.

Cast & Production Crew

Costs $10,000

Director, Cast, Crew

Equipment Rental

Costs $7,000

Cameras, lighting, sound

Production Design

Costs $3,000

Props, graphics, and sets, and scouting of filming locations.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

MICHELLE BERGAMO (WRITER/CREATOR) is a New Jersey-based playwright and screenwriter who enjoys creating contemporary human comedies featuring complex female protagonists. A graduate of Rutgers University (SCILS), Michelle spent 12 years working at the prestigious George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick before leaving to pursue a full-time writing career. She's completed three full-length stage plays (Baby Steps, Turned On, Buying Time), which had staged readings throughout the state. Turned On was selected to be part of Fringe NYC (The NY International Fringe Festival) and had five performances in Manhattan in October 2018. In addition to her solo scripts, Michelle also writes holiday family-friendly feature film scripts with ­partner Michele Giannusa. Their script Miss Christmas Daisy was a finalist in the 2017 PAGE Awards, an Official Selection for the 2016 International Family Film Festival and a Semi-Finalist in Screencraft's 2017 Family-Friendly Screenplay Contest. ­Michelle currently works part-time for Designer Greetings in Edison, NJ where she has written more than 2000 greeting cards. 


FRITZ FRAUENDORF (DIRECTOR) is a graduate of New York Film Academy with a Bachelor’s in Filmmaking. He has written and directed several short films that have made it to film festivals, the most recent being “re:attachment”. Fritz likes to write in his free time and train in martial arts, while keeping his head up and forward for what the future has to bring.




MATTHEW RUF (PRODUCER) is a producer, an actor, and a writer from New Jersey with over 20 years of experience within the world of storytelling—whether it be on stage or in front of camera. With a
director for a father, this is an industry and art form that he knows very well. While many kids were singing their nursery rhymes around school, Matthew was singing tunes from Big River, Jekyll & Hyde, or Sweeney Todd. In high school—like many—he first stepped onto the stage as an actor. However, it wasn’t until his later years, in college, that he began to hone his craft further. He went on to study his undergraduate at Kean University, and then his graduate degree at The New York Film Academy. It was there that Matthew received his MFA in Acting for Film—culminating in a final short-film, “Hello” which he wrote, produced, and in which he performed. “Hello” went on to numerous festivals, receiving awards for its originality and voice. Matthew recently began RufCut Pictures with Rori Beja in April of 2022 and chose Jersey Birdies to be its first feature film production. To find out more information about the company, visit

RORI BEJA (PRODUCER) is a producer and actor with almost 20 years experience on stage, in front of the camera and behind the scenes. She is passionate about the world of beauty and works as a freelance makeup artist serving New Jersey for over 15 years in theater, film and the wedding industry. Her love for the arts came at an early age, while seeing Broadway shows with her family. Although she didn’t start acting until the end of high school, she was a dancer throughout her childhood, leading her to choreograph musicals for various theater groups in New Jersey. Rori is excited about her most recent endeavor starting RufCut Pictures with Matthew Ruf. Jersey Birdies will be their first feature film as a company.

Current Team