Jessie's Theory

Budapest, Hungary | Film Short

Comedy, Drama

Ella Anderson

1 Campaigns | Washington, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $3,910 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

41 supporters | followers

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Jessie's Theory takes a comedic look at what self-doubt does to ambitious people full of potential. In a foreign land and cut off from family and friends, Jessie, a brilliant scientist secretly full of insecurity, ultimately must come to her own rescue from her biggest critic – herself.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
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  • The Team
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The Story


After winning a scholarship to study at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Jessie is desperate to succeed, but everything seems to be falling apart… One day, Jessie has a chance encounter with world-renowned physicist, Dr. Hammerstein. Their conversations about life, love, and quantum mechanics become more and more absurd, until one day along the Danube, Jessie is forced to save herself from the destructiveness of her own self-doubt.  


Director's Statement

I was living in Budapest and taking flute lessons, at the height of my dedication to music, when I received a devastating email from the teacher I had been taking lessons from since moving to Hungary. The overall message was, “I don’t believe in you, just stop trying, thanks for playing,” and it brought forth the self-doubt that every musician struggles to keep buried deep down. So the gauntlet was thrown. And I found a better teacher.


The climactic moment of this film is centered on my theoretical response to that email. I wanted to take a good hard look at what self-doubt does to ambitious people full of potential, and to create a comedy in which the heroine would have to come to her own rescue from her biggest critic – herself.


Enter Jessie and her fatalistic meeting with Dr. Hammerstein. Jessie’s Theory is a comedy that laughs away the demons in our head, the devil in the mirror. Although Jessie studies quantum physics instead of music, I have found that these sorts of (unfounded) insecurities are universal – and the concept of entanglement in quantum physics was too good of a metaphor to pass up.


The humor of this film comes from the awkward, “too-close-to-home” moments that you can’t help but laugh at when you recognize yourself in the characters.

The heart of this film is the humanity of Jessie: her flaws and victories. When people watch Jessie’s Theory, I want them to see a version of themselves in our heroine. We see that she has flaws that may not get resolved, but nevertheless add to her richness as a character.


This story stems from both my own personal experiences, and my belief that good old-fashioned catharsis comes from the ability to laugh at oneself.


I hope you enjoy laughing with us too!




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

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Original Soundtrack

Costs $1,000

An original soundtrack will define the tone of the film, providing comic relief and moments of melodrama. Help us pay our talented composer!

Editing - Picture and Sound

Costs $2,150

Editing includes finalizing the cuts, sound mixing, color correction, and making the film ready to screen.


Costs $500

This will allow us to screen the film about five times around the Northwest, and to have a screening in Budapest as well.

Rewards and Fees

Costs $350

To cover the cost of rewards and Seed & Spark fees.

About This Team

Who are we, to make a film?


Ella Anderson: Writer, Director, Executive Producer, “Jessie”

Ella is a writer, director, and actress currently based in Seattle, Washington. She wrote and directed her first staged performance, entitled “House of Postcards: a performance memoir” for her thesis at the University of Oregon, where she studied Music and French. After graduation in 2013, she moved to Budapest, Hungary, where she studied acting with Peter Schueller. It was time to admit she was not only a flute nerd, but a drama queen as well.

Jessie’s Theory is her debut as a film director.



Lee Cross: Producer, “Dr. Hammerstein”

Lee is a happy husband who has spent the last several years raising a couple of boys in a far off land he never dreamed he would call home.  However, life in Budapest has afforded a lot of laughs, many tears, and at times a chance to pursue his passion for acting. Although he has never acted professionally he has taken part in community plays, promotional videos, and an occasional commercial.  His role as Dr. Hammerstein in Jessie's Theory is his first performance as a lead character in a film short.



Camila Barberis: Assistant Director, Producer, “Camila”

Camila was born in Quito, Ecuador, and moved to the US when she was 1. She has been traveling ever since. She has had a passion for film and dance since she was young. Her passion for film drove her to earn a B.A. in Cinema and Video. During her studies she was able to work as an intern in the mini-series World Without End, in Budapest, Hungary. She moved to Budapest in 2013 to try her luck in the film industry. Before working on Jessie’s Theory, she participated in local theater and was a crew member on the movie SPY.



Benjamin Ausmith: Editor

Ben is a filmmaker, editor, and animator living in Seattle, which is on Planet Earth. He's very excited to be editing Jessie's Theory. He has worked on such web series as The Stand-Ins and Crave, and he recently shot and edited the feature film Semi-Secret, in Seattle. Check out more weird stuff he makes at


Thomas J. Peters: Composer

We’re thrilled to bring Thomas J. Peters on board as our composer! Tom is an L.A.-based film composer who graduated from the University of Oregon in 2011, where Ella first collaborated with him as a flutist. Check out some of his other work, which includes a previous short film and the music for the game Twell: Sword of Light.


Current Team