New York City, New York | Series

Drama, Comedy

Elyssa Nicole Trust

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

12 days :04 hrs :46 mins

Until Deadline

171 supporters | followers

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Goal: $50,000 for production

A hard-partying secular Jew faces expulsion from her university after the loss of her sister. A new school offers a fresh start under the condition that she joins her Aunt's Orthodox cohort. Despite initial resistance, Gabby finds meaning and healing in Judaism, becoming a Ba'alat Teshuvah.

About The Project

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Mission Statement

Observance is the story of a Ba’alat Teshuvah, a secular Jew who embarks on a transformative journey and becomes religious. Our mission is to create a pilot that sheds a positive light on the Jewish experience and humanizes Jews from all backgrounds. This story is more important now than ever.

The Story

Observance illustrates a nuanced portrayal of the Jewish experience, and humanizes Jews from all backgrounds. It's a story that takes an empathetic approach to both observant and secular Judaism, and shows the vital role women play in the Jewish religion. The script is uniquely sympathetic towards observant Jews in a time when religious Jews are often depicted negatively in film and literature. There are significantly more stories about people looking to leave the religious community than those looking to join it, and we frequently see heartbreaking stories about intolerable behavior in these communities, specifically towards women. Observance, on the other hand, is a favorable portrayal of Judaism in all forms, and illustrates the reasons why a woman would find meaning and joy in becoming more observant.

It is a poignant story that also handles grief, love, growth, and friendship.

The pilot is meant to resonate with audiences today and for generations to come.

We hope to sell our pilot to a major streaming platform like Netflix or HBO.

We plan to sweep the film festival circuit and reach Oscar-Qualifying festivals. 

The pilot is adapted from Trust’s play of the same name that had award-winning run and earned rave reviews at FringeNYC and Planet Connections Theatre Festival in 2018. The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting in Pittsburgh occurred exactly one week after our last performance at Fringe. Since that time, antisemitism in our country has skyrocketed. This past year alone, antisemitic incidents have risen 400%. We believe that the time for this story is now.

Elyssa Nicole Trust (Writer) is an actor, screenwriter, voiceover artist, playwright, and children’s book author. As a theatre actor, she's worked off-broadway and regionally, and is active in the indie-film circuit. As a playwright and screenwriter, her work centers on themes of Judaism, women's issues, and sustainability. Her plays have been produced in New York and across the country, with Theatre Ariel and Divine Riot set to present her work later this year. She is an alum of The Workshop Theatre Writers Group and the Alliance for Jewish Theatre’s Macher PlayLab. Trust is also a writer for an upcoming children's narrative series on the Growth Podcast Network. Her children's book, "Daisy Moves to America," was a 2021 Indies Today Semi-Finalist. She's a proud member of Actors Equity Association, The Dramatists Guild of America, The Authors Guild, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. In addition to her work on the stage and screen, she is a co-host of Positive Creativity Podcast. @elyssanicoletrust

Emily Lerer (Director) Directors Guild of Canada award-nominated director, and award-winning writer raised in the midwest by an empathetic special education teacher and charismatic rabbi. Her work explores the messiness of humanity and seeks to elevate under-represented characters. She is a two time audience award winner for "T-Minus", her trans-abortion-road-trip film (Out On Film, Newfest). Her films have screened at Fantasia, AMC, and Laemmle. Emily’s TV work includes: "Shameless" (Showtime), "Twenties" (BET), and "Pretty Little Liars-Original Sin" (HBO). She is a proud alumna of the Sundance Directing TV Intensive, AWD Directing the Actors Lab, and AFI Directing course. She is a member of Array Crew, The Television Academy and the Producers Guild of America. @emilyjlerer

Carrie Morgan (Director of Photography): Carrie Morgan currently lives in Los Angeles where she has shot more than two dozen narrative projects screened in Oscar-qualifying and Canadian Screen Award-qualifying festivals. She is a proud member of the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 (ICG), International Collective of Female Cinematographers (ICFC), and Society of Camera Operators (SOC). Her highlights include Fantastic Fest, Cleveland, and Palm Springs (“Ding Dong”), Hollyshorts, Fantasia (“Punch Drunk”), and the LA International Short Film Festival (“The Fix”). Commercial work includes : L’Oreal, Intel, Pinterest, Honda, Old Navy and Petsmart. Her debut feature, “Resisting Roots,” premiered on Passionflix. She’s the winner of the Best Cinematography Award at the Hatay Independent Film Festival for “Pointless Hello”, and has been nominated for Best Cinematography at the San Diego Film Awards and the New Jersey Film Awards. Additionally, she’s a two-time nominee at the Idyllwild International Film Festival.

Leah Gottfried (Creative Producer) is an award winning writer, director, producer and actor who draws on her life in the Orthodox Jewish community to tell authentic stories about her world. She is the creator of the hit web series SOON BY YOU which centers on Orthodox Jews dating in NYC. Leah studied film at Yeshiva University and NYU and has been running her own production company, Dignity Entertainment, for the last ten years. She was selected for the inaugural Jewish Writer’s Initiative led by Crystal City Entertainment, a year-long screenwriting fellowship.

Maeve Forti (Producer): Maeve Forti is an actor, writer, and producer based in New York City. Growing up in Boston, Massachusetts, she had a lifelong dream of becoming an actor. Maeve received her B.A. from Yale University in Sociology & Journalism, and has since trained at UCB and Anthony Meindl’s Actor Workshop. After moving to New York City, she made her television debut in 2022 on NBC’s Law & Order. She spends her free time writing and walking her Golden Retriever Daisy.

Please help us make this series a reality!

Do you ever wish that there was a more positive representation of Jews from all background on tv/film?

Do you want to see more Jewish people creating stories about Jewish people?

Do you love to watch content that make you laugh AND cry?

Do you want to support work created by women? (Our producers, director, writer, and DP are all women!!!)


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

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $20,000

Camera and other equipment for the week long shoot.

Production Insurance

Costs $4,500

Production insurance.

Food and Craft Services

Costs $2,800

Food and craft services for everyone working on set.

Production Staff

Costs $6,050

Crew to help film the pilot.


Costs $6,000

Paying talent and contributing to the SAG-AFTRA health and pension fund.

Hair and Makeup

Costs $2,450

Hair and makeup for actors working on set.


Costs $8,200

Editor, Assistant Editor, Colorist, Sound Editor, Composer, Post-Production sound kit, etc.

About This Team



Elyssa Nicole Trust


Emily Lerer

Creative Producer:

Leah Gottfried

Director of Photography:

Carrie Morgan


Maeve Forti


Samantha Daniels

Associate Producers:

Hershel Blatt, Elana Gantman, Jenna Harwood, Tyler Herman, Liz Samuel, Izzy Salant, Lauren Schaffel, Ariana Starkman

Current Team