A Stray Ember

Lancaster, Pennsylvania | Film Feature

Drama, Thriller

Jake Stetler

1 Campaigns | Pennsylvania, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $12,957 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

81 supporters | followers

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A STRAY EMBER focuses on a character that must overcome her debilitating anxiety and live a life of self-reliance. It will combine the quirky indie spirit of a road movie with the genre elements of a tense thriller as it explores the diverse subcultures represented by off grid communities.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

The protagonist is a strong independent woman who must overcome trauma & conquer her fear through action. She interacts with people of diverse backgrounds & lifestyles during her travels. Gender, race, & sexual orientation are well represented. The crew aspires to be as diverse as its characters.

The Story

We live in an age of anxiety, depleted resources, and mass consumerism.


I conceived A STRAY EMBER, because I was motivated to tell a story about characters who choose to pursue lives of self-reliance and authenticity. Ember Pike, the protagonist of the film, struggles with the memories of a traumatic event. She is paralyzed by anxiety and agoraphobia. She learns to overcome her fears by having the courage to take action. The faith to allow herself to trust and to find love.


The project will combine the quirky indie spirit of a road movie with the genre elements of an adrenaline-infused thriller. It will feature backroad Americana and the natural beauty of the Pennsylvania State Parks. It is also an opportunity to explore many unique and relevant subcultures. Ember interacts with a diverse community of people who live off the grid lifestyles; The Tiny House Movement. Homesteading. Sustainability. Van Dwelling. RV Life. Prepper Communities. Native American Culture. And Post Modern Hippies.


Our dedicated & professional crew is ready to collaborate with a passionate & energetic fan base to make this vision a reality.


With Humble Appreciation --



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Costs $2,000

Proper gear for our Sound Person to create the best soundscape. Zoom F8 Multi-Track Field Recorder

Food & Drink

Costs $2,400

A film crew needs to stay fed & hydrated. Restaurants could provide a lunch for small cast & crew


Costs $500

Let there be... light!

Art Direction & Props

Costs $1,000

Production design!


Costs $150

Gaffer tape and the like...

Production Insurance

Costs $400

Boring, but important detail.

Office Supplies

Costs $50

Production office stuff.

Location Rentals & Fees

Costs $2,000

Studio rental. Locations fees. (4) Days in a Studio, Bar Location, Off the Grid Dwellings.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Hard Drive

Costs $500

To capture and backup footage on the set.

Motor Home

Costs $1,000

The primary location. [Rental & fuel budget.] Looking to find a smaller Class C Motor Home.

Crew Stipends

Costs $2,000

Daily stipend for our hard working crew.

Cast Stipends

Costs $2,000

Daily stipend for our talented actors.


Costs $2,000

The proper tool for our DP to tell the story. Blackmagic Camera rental.

About This Team

Jake Stetler -- Writer & Director

Storyteller. Filmmaker. Screenwriter. Warrior-Monk of DIY. Former paratrooper. Devoted husband and father of four. Wrote and directed the feature film, No Sanctuary (2013). Graduated with a Certificate in Feature Film Writing from UCLA. Works at Harrisburg Area Community College as a Media Specialist.



Colette Stetler -- Production Manager

Graduated with a degree in English and Journalism from Eastern Mennonite University. Was a production assistant on one of the last seasons of Mister Roger's Neighborhood. Involved in the production of several of her husband's short films and the feature, No Sanctuary. In her "free time" she is a wife, mother of four, and works full time at a relief organization, Mennonite Central Committee, where she provides logistics and travel arrangements for overseas service workers.


George Winchell -- Director of Photography

George Winchell is currently the owner of WM Productions and a freelance DP and Gaffer. WM Productions was founded in 1985 by George & Albert Winchell to be a full-service video and film production company. George studied photography at Rhode Island School of Photography and has continued his film & video education through various workshops and events.

As a company, WM Productions produces regional and local commercials, industrial & training video, and many events and promotional projects. Some of the highlights have been the MTV Basement Tapes award winning video for the band “The Sharks”, A nationally recognized video for the Neighborhood Watch, and a statewide training video for on the recognition and awareness of child abuse. George has worked with both local and national clients on a variety of projects; including Gaffer for many independent features, including “Shades of Black”. Director of Photography on “Objects” and “Your Money or Your Life”. And 2nd Unit Camera on “Thomas and the Magic Railroad”.

From the early days of photography, through the advent of digital cinema, George has always felt that regardless of the medium or the technology, light and composition is what will always define the creation of images, whether moving or still.




Photo Credit: © Kendall Whitehouse

Kelly Stettenbauer -- Producer

Grew up with a love for the theater. Has an extensive background in acting, hair, and makeup. Devoted to her husband, her faith, and her three children. Owner and operator of the Discovering You Salon in Millersville, PA.

Produced the film, No Sanctuary with Jake Stetler. (Who considers her a perfect blend of MacGyver and Faceman from the A-Team. "There wasn't anything she couldn't improvise or commandeer for filming.") Her salon became the production office for that film and her extensive network of clients contributed to the success of the production.


Photo Credit: © Kendall Whitehouse

Jay Kirssin -- Production Sound & Music

Long time East Coast music and production veteran, 40 years in the trenches or riding a scope with major touring acts; behind the console with acts from start-ups to stars; running a music and audio design/build/repair facility; mentoring private students in sound reinforcement, recording, bass, music theory and musicianship; and more recently (only 21 years) molding minds and honing production skills for hundreds of students , young and older, as a professor in the Audio Technology portion of the Music Business program and the Theater program at Harrisburg Area Community College, as well as delivering on site production training in numerous performing arts venues, educational institutions and houses of worship. Following an 18 year run with prominent regional band Rosey and the Naturals, he is a frequent performer on bass with Switch FU, the [SUM] and the Bare Bones Theater Ensemble. Most recently, the knowledge distribution has been extended to Harrisburg University and the Immersed in Music Academy.


Master Fred Waters Jr. -- Fight Choreographer & Producer

My instructor Professor Walter Ziegler inspired my dream of doing movies and commercials. He used to always talk about being on the big screen and how I was going to watch him. Well, it ended up the other way around! Prior to the WKA World Tournament, Professor Ziegler told me that if I placed 1st 2nd or 3rd he would give me $500.00. He didn’t think I could do it. The competition was tough. After I won the World Championship in Ocean City, Maryland, Professor Ziegler paid for me to go action stunt school.
From there I began to get small parts in commercials. I auditioned a lot. I eventually got the call from Jake Stetler to play Bartimaeus, a lead role in the film, No Sanctuary. Due to my commitment to the project, I was also offered the position of Fight Choreographer and Associate Producer. I still receive parts in the movie industry. My expertise has led to a television gig and several movie opportunities this year. It will be fun to work with solid professionals, who also happen to be good friends, on A Stray Ember.


Hand-to-hand Combat Instructor
Specializing in Disarming Weapons
Women's Self Defense
Tractor-trailer Theft Prevention
Carjacking Prevention
Action Stunt Fighting (With or Without Weapons)

Current Team