Perfect Love

New York City, New York | Film Short

Drama, LGBTQ

01 day :01 hr :25 mins

Until Deadline

115 supporters | followers

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Goal: $12,500 for production

Perfect Love demonstrates the power of the female gaze in the face of an internalized male gaze, seen through the eyes of our protagonist—Evelyn. With a nuanced and non-performative view of sexuality and queer women in Perfect Love, our intimate short aims to be a gamechanger for the industry.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

Our intention with this film is to give all people, and especially women and queer people, an opportunity to see themselves in Evelyn and to validate their experiences. Watching Perfect Love, audiences will feel less alone and less likely to feel shame for whatever it is that they like!

The Story

Winner, Keep or Destroy - New York New Stories Screenplay Contest 2023

Finalist, Outstanding Screenplays Shorts Competition 2023

Quarterfinalist, Slamdance Screenplay Competition 2022

Quarterfinalist, Vail Film Festival Screenplay Competition 2023

Quarterfinalist, HollyShorts Screenwriting Competition 2022

Top 3% of projects on Coverfly

Official Competition Feedback from ​Academy Award® Winner Chris Overton, director of The Silent Child, which won the Oscar for Live Action Short Film at the 90th Academy Awards.

In the 1972 BBC series Ways of Seeing, John Berger commented: “The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus, she turns herself into an object — and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.” This really struck me, and caused me to write the article on Medium The Males Gaze and the Women See.

One night with a very large pot of coffee, I sat down and wrote Perfect Love almost in its entirety. It poured out of my brain as a complete thought: wanting to explore internalized male gaze and feminine gaze, and use film specifically as the medium to do that. Cinematically, film could uniquely show audiences how intrusive thoughts and the male/female gaze dichotomy make it extremely difficult to know and love yourself.

I’ve realized that while most people intellectually understand what internalized male gaze is, because it’s the norm it’s actually almost impossible to know where our own impulses truly come from. And to second guess what you like, your identity, and your sexuality is actually a universal experience. That kind of doubt and shame is so pervasive, it takes a really radical shift in your worldview to live fully and as yourself.

Despite terms like “internalized male gaze,” this is not an intellectual film - in the end it’s a simple and beautiful story of self-love.

I’m sure 90% of Seed and Spark project outlines claim to be “deeply personal projects,” but I’ve truly never felt as vulnerable as I do putting this script out there. And, especially with the really intimate sequences we’re filming, I want to make this carefully and with the right group of people. That comes from being fully funded and attracting the most talented group of people. With whatever you can help make Perfect Love a reality.

Evelyn, a woman whose body feels “like a cage,” people watches at Coney Island. She is overwhelmed by the lurid sensuality of the boardwalk and retreats when things become too much.

Over the course of two weekends, she has two encounters with women, Liora and Phoebe, and it's these chance interactions that make Evelyn feel as though she has the potential to open herself up—and maybe even be romantically flirted with. 

After a particularly challenging interaction, Evelyn is again surprised by Liora, who approaches with a gift— a red bikini. When Evelyn asks "how do I know if I like it," Liora suggests that enough self-love will dispel any worry about that.

This triggers a memory sequence in which we see 11-year-old Evelyn with her mother, lovingly demonstrating how to apply lipstick. The mother insists that Evelyn will know if she likes the lipstick "when boys start to notice how cute [she is]."

Liora's words about self-love inspire Evelyn to follow a long-dampened impulse—to think of the women she watches, and to explore her body for the first time. She rides a rollercoaster at Coney Island––if you catch our drift. Riding the roller coaster is a magical realism moment, and allows the audience to feel the exhilaration that the character feels while feeling alive and loved.

The conclusion of the film brings Evelyn back to the boardwalk. This time, Coney Island appears more objectively. No longer through a male-gaze lens, Evelyn finds beauty in everything. She makes eye-contact with a similarly curious woman on the boardwalk, and Evelyn is able to truly connect.

Evelyn is a loner, repressed, and angry for reasons she does not understand. She still lives at home with her mother, shares a car with her mother, and finds herself stagnant in every way. Evelyn works from home, in a job that has allowed her to further retreat into her internal life. She longs to change her life, but doesn’t have the social tools or self-love to do that. She is queer, although not aware of it. Evelyn’s background and upbringing were average, leading her to believe she has no right to her own unnameable sadness. 

Liora is a bikini-clad stalwart of Coney Island. She is confident, self-assured, and laughs easily. She’s not worried about societal expectations anymore. She symbolizes, to Evelyn, someone who is very much at ease with her body and sexuality. Liora sees herself as an “empath” who recognizes that Evelyn needs a little push to “love herself.” Liora is not “magical,” nor is she a “dream girl” trope—she is an equally sad person who has done a tremendous amount of work to get to a place of confidence and self-love. Liora is not queer, but she connects with Evelyn. Penny Lane from Almost Famous meets Héloïse from Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

Phoebe is a tourist at Coney Island who Evelyn meets in the parking lot behind the Cyclone roller coaster. Guidebook in hand, Phoebe rattles off all the ways people have died while riding the coaster. She is intellectual, neurotic, singular, and aesthetically different from the other characters at Coney Island. Phoebe has a morbid sense of humor and enjoys thinking about the ways in which pleasurable activities can bring you closer to death. Phoebe is also queer, and enjoys talking to Evelyn, with whom she shares dark thoughts about death and “pressing on bruises.” Margot from The Royal Tenenbaums meets the Principal Mullins in School of Rock.

Young Evelyn is a wide-eyed pre-teen, starting to take an interest in her gender and sexual identity. Young Evelyn and her Mother appear in a brief memory sequence.

My background directing for theatre, training as an intimacy coordinator, and work as a DP are converging to make this project shine.

I want viewers to deeply connect with this vulnerable and personal short film, and for people to feel understood and emboldened to love themselves without self-editing. That being said, the tone is not sentimental. It is real and honest, with unexpected challenges and moments of levity.

The self-doubt that our protagonist, Evelyn, feels is both insidious and universal. People of all backgrounds are relating to Evelyn—people with sexual trauma, people with a fundamental religious upbringing, those in the LGBTQ+ community, anyone who has ever felt out of their body, and even those who are just victims of social messaging around how you should present yourself and who you should be attracted to. Different and specific parts of her journey are resonating soundly with a large audience.

In this film, the audience’s perspective is Evelyn’s. As she grows in confidence and learns to love herself and her body, the visual language of the film becomes both less objectifying and less isolating. Sound design is also an important element that shows how the sounds of Coney Island (often exaggerated) echo in her mind. Technically, we’re using design choices directly influenced by the negative impact of the male gaze, the nature of the internalized male gaze, and the power and objectivity of the female gaze.

We are filming with a small but extremely experienced and talented cast and crew over 3 days in Brooklyn. Our shoot dates are set for June 21-23.

Paying people what they’re worth is very important to me. Considering the intimate nature of the film, we're doing our best to crew all women and nb people. In addition to the usual crew positions, we are also making sure we have an intimacy coordinator on set. Alice Camarota is an IC I’ve worked with before, and we have a fantastic collaborative relationship. This sets a tone on set for psychological safety that allows everyone to do their absolute best and sharpest creative work.

All of the money we raise will go towards the following:

Production Our goal is to make this film as efficiently and safely as possible. Production costs will allow us to pay and feed our cast and crew, who are extremely valuable and talented. Our production costs are also a little larger than most, due to our rollercoaster location and feeding our many extras. There's also the cost of our bedroom location, set design, rentals, legal fees, insurance. . .  you get the idea. This is a scrappy production, but we still need these basics.

Post Production This includes things you don't think about, like mixing and color grading. Also festival submission fees, so as many people as possible can see the film.

Reach Goals If we surpass our initial funding goal, we want to invest in marketing and festival submission fees so that we can share this film with as many people as possible!

Help us hit these milestones:

$3,000 Set food and crafty

$8,000 Crew wages

$1,500 — Location scouting, rentals, and permit

$12,500 Total. Beyond this, we have our stretch goals for production and post-production

  1. Pledge to this campaign!
  2. Follow our official instagram page @perfectlovefilm and support us there
  3. Share our campaign via your social media, email, word-of-mouth, however you want! Here’s an example of what you could share (ready to copy/paste):
  4. Support the short film PERFECT LOVE! Perfect Love is about Evelyn, a young woman struggling to connect with the world around her, who meets two vibrant and unique personalities on the boardwalk of Coney Island. Will Evelyn shed years of shame and self-doubt, or further recede into herself? Support writer/director @kellyraemac on @seedandspark by going to this link:
  5. We also have an online list of supplies we’re looking for, and available featured extra roles. Please DM us on Instagram to see how you can help!
  6. Follow this campaign on Seed & Spark. Let's get to 250 followers on this platform!

Thank you! We're very grateful for your support!

If for some reason, you're more comfortable pledging to our campaign not on the Seed&Spark platform, please email Kelly at [email protected]


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

Crew Wages

Costs $8,000

People need to be paid their worth! Help us make sure our team feels valued and supported.

Set Food and Crafty

Costs $3,000

Always more than you realize, food is how we fuel our crew and cast for long shoot days.

Location Scouting, Rentals, & Permit

Costs $1,500

Location scouts aren't free, and neither are permits (including the application fee), or the rental itself for Evelyn's bedroom location.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Kelly McCready (she/they). Writer/Director. A queer Australian/Brit/American writer, director, actor, and cinematographer. Co-founder and producer of BURNING HOUSE Productions where she also runs a mentorship program for young women who want to be professional writers. Directing: Antistrophe (The Tank), She Said She Said (The Chain), Cherry Jam (IRT), She Is A Shipwreck (PVD Fringe Festival & OOTB Theatricals), Does This Woman Have A Name? (Greenhouse Ensemble), Hedda Gabler (Ophelia Theatre Group), Chaika (original adaptation of The Seagull). Graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Moscow Art Theatre. Kelly has also appeared in a number of regional and off-broadway plays as an actor, and is also a member of Actors’ Equity Association. Link to Reel & Website

Mélisa Breiner-Sanders (she/her). Producer, Boxwood Films. A producer and actor based in Brooklyn, NY. Alum of Georgetown University (BA) and DePaul University (MFA Acting). Producer - Feature films: Seven Lovers (distributed on Amazon, AppleTV) and Greetings From Arizona. Short Films: Norma (Nicole Byer), Beyond The Fog (Paige Davis), Unsaid (Caitlin McGee), Cupids (TriBeCa, Cannes, BET+), Being Here and many more. Mélisa has worked on award-winning features, shorts, webseries, and music videos that have screened at festivals across the country and internationally. Part of the Sundance Co//ab Producing cohort in 2020, advised by Karin Chien, and a board member and treasurer for Aisle & Lens (501c3). Link to Website.

David De Almo (he/him). Producer, BURNING HOUSE COMPANY. David De Almo is a Brooklyn-based producer. With Bull Journey Productions (now Mike and Carlee Productions), he worked as a Co-Producer on a number of acclaimed solo shows and standup specials, including the Lucille Lortel-nominated Chris Gethard: Career Suicide and Mike Birbiglia: Thank God for Jokes. Other credits include Neal Brennan: 3 Mics, Oh, Hello (with John Mulaney and Nick Kroll), and both The New York Story and Red State, Blue State by Colin Quinn. He worked as a researcher on Netflix’s Patriot Act, and has produced events featuring Ira Glass, Ethan Slater, Alex Brightman, Larisa Oleynik, Mara Wilson, and Julio Torres, among others.

Alice Camarota (she/her). Intimacy Coordinator. NYC Based Director/Writer/Intimacy Coordinator. Alice and Kelly McCready have previously collaborated on Cherry Jam and She Said, She Said. Alice was recently featured on a podcast, discussing the importance and process of an Intimacy Coordinator.

Hillary Carrigan (she/her). Editor. Hillary Carrigan is a Regional-Emmy award winning Producer/Editor known for her contributions to Film/TV (You Hurt My Feelings, Marriage Story, Hillbilly Elegy) and political campaigns (Biden for President, Hillary for America). She values projects that foster creativity, storytelling, diversity, and change. She jumps at opportunities to lift non-profits, social movement organizations, the arts, education, and equality… especially in film and television. Her digital work alone has been viewed online over 50 million times across platforms and her creative work has been officially selected for film festivals including THE MASTER OF ART Film Festival, Mediawave Film Festival, SPLIT VideoArt Fest, and seen across the world in festivals from Chicago to The Netherlands. Hillary is a recipient of 2022-2023 Inwood Art Works Filmmaker Fund and a grantee from the Creative Heights Society for a short film she wrote and directed titled, “NANA”. She is a member of The Motion Picture Editors Guild, I.A.T.S.E. Local 700 (New York). Link to Website.

Idil Eryurekli (she/her). Cinematographer. Idil Eryurekli is a Turkish-born cinematographer based in Brooklyn, New York.

Idil recently DPed Francesca Scorcese’s short Fish out of Water. Her narrative work has premiered at Tribeca, Cannes, SXSW, Telluride, Outfest, NFFTY, and Aspen ShortsFest among others. Her commercial clients include Vogue, Victoria’s Secret, Condé Nast, Triarchy, Zeynep Arcay, and Lexus. Being a queer immigrant herself, Idil has a soft spot for marginalized characters and multi-national stories. Link to Website.

Isabella Evans (she/her). Production Designer. Isabella Evans is a Texas born and raised production designer and art coordinator based in Brooklyn, NY. After studying Design for Stage and Film at NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts, Isabella has gone on to work on films such as Our Son (Dir. Bill Oliver) premiered at Tribeca Film Festival 2023, As Your Are (Dir. Daisy Friedman) at Nffty 2023, and If I Die in America (Dir. Ward Kamel), a short film that will have its world premiere at SXSW in 2024. In addition to her scripted work, Isabella has also worked on an array of branded projects. Her clients include Parade, Ganni, Farfetch, and Behind the Blinds magazine. Link to Website.

Additional support from Keep or Destroy films, and One & Other.


Evelyn Devlin Stark

Liora Tatiana Wechsler

Young Evelyn/Evie — currently casting

Current Team