The Place in Between

Austin, Texas | Film Feature

Comedy, Drama

Laura Perez

2 Campaigns | Texas, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $7,610 for pre-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

64 supporters | followers

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We're a team of superheroes disguised as moms, have big hearts for social and cultural underdogs, and mostly just want to change the world one movie at a time.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

We are team led by working moms that aim to tell authentic stories from both sides of the lens, however our real depth comes from the diversity of cultures and backgrounds of our entire cast and crew. Our goal is to ensure that underrepresented voices are seen and heard in all realms of cinema.

The Story


Since the moment Valerie and I met in Los Angeles over a decade ago, we became like sisters. Our desire and passion to make films about raw human experiences was one of the main components that fused our friendship.  However, when we both moved to Austin and became mothers, we discovered another dimension of our friendship that made us even closer. Becoming moms has been a pivotal component of our lives; we have laughed, cried, and grown together in our new mommy roles, however through it all, our love for making movies has remained.  Since becoming moms, we have wanted to not only work together, but make a movie that highlighted all of the beautiful, challenging, and surprising elements of motherhood.  The concept for “The Place in Between” was born from our desire to explore and illustrate the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship in a unique situation.



A child’s incredible and innate ability to forgive has always intrigued and astounded me and I find it profoundly beautiful.  I see it everyday in my own precious child, and the children I teach in middle school.  Some children experience the unforgivable, yet they are still able to say at the end of the day “I love (so and so) because they are my (mom, dad etc.).”  I have always wondered what the world would be like if we all could maintain that childlike ability to forgive.  What a world that would be.



A little seed of an idea came to me that I shared with Valerie about having a mom and daughter, who have never met, go on a road trip.  Little by little, we dissected that idea and turned it into what it is now.  Valerie came up with the perfect title “The Place in Between” which demonstrates the reality of each character in the film that finds themselves in an “in between” place, and boy don’t we all know what that feels like. We knew we wanted to make a movie that took a look at a human experience in a real and raw way and diving into a mother-daughter relationship and their first meeting seemed to be a perfect way to do that.  In “The Place in Between,” Cassie (mother) is forced to go home and meet her daughter (Lyra) whom she hasn’t seen since birth, when Lyra’s father dies unexpectedly.  A series of unexpected twists and turns ensue as Cassie is forced to drive Lyra across Texas to fulfill a promise that Lyra made to her father.  Although the background context of the film may seem dark, audiences will watch the story unfold through an often comedic lens. I have learned that laughter is not only the best medicine, but the guise by which we hide behind during painful situations, and can sometimes be the catalyst that leads us to unimaginable forgiveness. 


When we decided to make this film, we were committed to only work with people we love.  Somehow, in less than a month, we have been blessed to assemble an incredibly talented team; each making a valuable contribution to our film, and each committed to making the best film possible.  We are all excited about this journey and have already shared so many belly aching moments of laughter that ultimately resulted in brilliant work that we are already so proud of.  In the colorful life I have lived, I have learned one thing that stands above all else:  love is the only thing that really matters.  As you join us in our journey, I think that is what you will see; our amazing team loving working together, loving the adventure of filmmaking, and creating a story that will hopefully spark the building of a bridge to forgiveness for someone out there - that will eventually lead to love.  


Come along for the ride.  It's going to be fun!


- The Place in Between Cast and Crew



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

Nikon D5 Rental

Costs $2,250

One of the most affordable and recommended digital cameras that shoots 24 frames per second.

Production Insurance

Costs $2,000

To insure our production.

Craft Services

Costs $800

Help us fuel our team during our long pre-production days!

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $0

Know someone who owns a coffee shop that is willing to donate some coffee?


Costs $650

Help us drive across TX to scout our locations.


Costs $750

Make sure we can sleep in a comfy bed versus our cars as we travel through Texas scouting locations.


Costs $0

Know someone who can donate hats? We will need them in the TX heat.

Bottled Water

Costs $0

Know someone in the Austin area who can donate bottled water? We will pick it up.

Casting Space

Costs $480

Help us reserve a space to hold auditions!


Costs $570

Help us print out each new incarnation of our script as we continue to develop our screenplay!

About This Team

Laura Perez  |  Director, Producer, Writer

Laura has worked on a diverse range of feature films, music videos, educational videos and documentaries.  She co-wrote, co-produced, and was the lead actress in one of the first nationally distributed bi-lingual features “Harvest of Redemption” which won the Best Foreign Feature award at the International Family Film Festival in Hollywood.  She considers “Harvest” her film school, because it taught her the nuts and bolts of filmmaking while utilizing a modest $25k production budget.   Laura has a Juris Doctor from St. Mary’s University School of Law, a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Communications, and an Associate’s Degree in Theatre.  Along with “The Place in Between,” Laura is currently producing and directing a feature documentary entitled “American Orange,” which explores a cancer-ridden citrus producing community that housed an Agent Orange producing plant during the Vietnam War.  Laura has been a screenplay judge for Final Draft’s Big Break Script Competition, The American Screenwriter’s Association International Screenplay Competition, and Scenarios USA’s “What’s The Real Deal” Screenplay Competition.  When she is not making indie films, Laura loves her full-time job teaching computer science and technology at an Austin area middle school.

Valerie Villarreal Michelson  |  Producer, Writer, Actor

Valerie has been a SAG/AFTRA actress in both Los Angeles and Austin for over ten years.  Studying under acting coaches like Connie Cooper, Brian Reise and Anthony Meindl, she has showcased her skills in various television pilots and films.  Some of her credits include films such as Welcome to Hollywood…Florida, Blanco Boys, Birds of a Feather, Blood Shot, Let Me Eat Cake, Sixufus, The Lucky 7, and The Meat Market, as well as theatre productions including Agnes of God, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Extremities. Valerie’s performances in The Lucky Seven and The Fantastic Escape garnered her a best supporting actress nomination and best ensemble cast award respectively. While in Los Angeles, Valerie opened up her own talent agency and represented high caliber actors, several of which gained roles on Shameless, Chuck, Criminal Minds, Ugly Betty, and Modern Family, to name a few.  Valerie has a BA from The University of Notre Dame and a masters degree in Education.

Sarah Grace Villarreal  |  Producer

Sarah Grace Villarreal earned her bachelors and masters degrees in Communication Arts from St. Mary’s University and the University of the Incarnate Word with focuses on film and video production. She has worked as a PA on a number of national television series including American Idol, and interned in the story development department of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios. She has worked as a faculty associate for National High School Institute's Film and Video Program in Chicago for three consecutive summers.  She currently works as the office manager for an indie co-working space in San Antonio, TX, and edits videos in her spare time.

Melinda Marroquin  |  First Assistant Director

Melinda started her film career as a runner and production assistant in the indie film scene in Austin, TX.  Her communication and organizational skills quickly positioned her as a First AD after working as a Location Manager and Production Office Coordinator. Melinda garnered the majority of her AD experience while working with veteran First AD’s including Stewart Young on the indie film The Secret at Arrow Lake and Lifetime’s Network Web series Inspector Mom.  Her AD credits include two of Robert Rodriguez’s films including Planet Terror and Shorts and the action packed Dolph Lundgren directed feature Missionary Man working side-by-side with David Eric Chapman (her mentor).  She has worked in the film industry for over 15 years and is DGA West Coast eligible for Third Area Second Assistant Directors.

Chris Hoover  |  Arial & Drone Photographer


Chris Hoover is the founder and owner of Critical Concoctions, a media company focused on drone, interactive VR, and high risk media productions and works as a technical consultant for high-tech media companies.  After serving in the military for 8 years as a naval officer, Chris taught engineering, leadership, and naval operations at The University of Texas in Austin.  Chris holds a BS in computer science from the United States Naval Academy, and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.  

Tyler Groft  |  Conductor  |  Composer  |  Pianist

Tyler began touring internationally at age 15.  While serving as a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, he performed with the Marine Corps Band, and thereafter graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duquesne University's prestigious Mary Pappert School of Music. He has performed in and served as the music director for many Austin musicals including Oliver, Once Upon a Mattress, Grease, Chicago, Assassins, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Hairspray, Shrek, and The Fantasticks, to name a few.  Tyler currently directs an award-winning choir at Pflugerville I.S.D., where he also teaches guitar, piano, and musical theatre.  

Veronica Marquez  |  Marketing Strategist


Veronica Marquez is a senior partner at Moroch, a hyper-local advertising Agency and a marketing professional with 21 years experience specializing in the US Hispanic and Urban markets. She began her career with Leo Burnett and WPP’s The Bravo Group and was instrumental in leading the onboarding of the Buena Vista and Miramax Studios business at Starcom USA.  There she worked on marketing initiatives for films including Gangs of New York, Chicago, Kill Bill Vol. 1, Toy Story and Return to Neverland.   Veronica’s strategic planning and creative passion has contributed to her sharing in the coveted Gold Effie Award.  She graduated Cum Laude from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in Sociology and an M.A. in Organizational Psychology and Change Leadership from Columbia University.

Donald Pierce  |  Marketing Strategist


Donald is a marketing professional with 25 years of marketing experience.  He has worked with several well-known brands including Nabisco, Stop & Shop, Polaroid, Target, CVS, Walgreens and McDonald’s. Donald is currently a Partner at Moroch Partners with a focus on McDonald’s in Philadelphia and New York Metro.  He graduated from Bryant University with a B.S. in Marketing and Computer Information Systems and a M.B.A with a concentration in Marketing and has also earned certification in Brand Mastery from Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management.


Current Team