The Rushing of the Sea

New York City, New York | Film Short

Drama, Family

Isabella Jane Schiller

2 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $12,031 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

220 supporters | followers

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Anyone who has grieved can tell you it feels like you’re fighting to keep your head above water, but what if that water wasn’t purely metaphorical? This sensory short sweeps us along with two siblings grappling with the recent passing of their mother and, for the younger, a very visceral grief.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

The team behind this film is 100% composed of women and TGNC artists. Our writer/co-producer is trans non-binary, our director is a woman of color, and our co-producer/lead actor is a cis woman. We're building out the rest of our team with a commitment to inclusion.

The Story



I’m Dani Martineck and I approve this mes-


Courtesy of GIPHY


I mean- I wrote this movie. Also I love gifs.


Also I have some exciting news. Check it out:



You all rocked our world by bringing us over 100% in just 8 days! We can now shoot this film and pay and care for our on-set crew. Wow! 


With two weeks left in the campaign, you’ve gifted us the opportunity to aim for stretch goals to make this the best film it can be! 


We’re stretching our little sea star arms out in search of $12,000 to help us pay for post-production expenses like:


COLOR CORRECTION - All our perfect days have a certain tint in memory, and though Younger’s struggling now, today might just end up being another perfect day. Let’s give it all the color it deserves.


POST SOUND - We want to hear the sea rushing (that is the title of the film after all) but we also need to hear the more delicate sounds of the world. Both need the TLC of a fantastic post-production sound editor. 


MUSIC & SCORING - Music gives us an emotional throughline through the world. We want to commission Younger’s Favorite Song to transport you and scoring to lap at your toes as you wade through the film.


FESTIVAL FEES - We want the world to see the film and share this important story with larger audiences, and festivals are our first step.


Can you help expand the reach of our little sea star arms? Read on to learn more about the film and come aboard our team!


So you wrote this movie. What's it about?


Courtesy of GIPHY


The Rushing of the Sea  brings us into the lives of two siblings who have just lost their mother. The older sibling is focused on taking care of the younger one, who has sunk into a grief where anything anyone says to her sounds like the waves on the beach from the last perfect day the three of them had together. When we meet these two, Older has to leave Younger alone for the first time, and Younger is left to process the full weight of their mother's absense. The film takes us on Younger's visceral journey through grief and, eventually, out the other side of it, where she finds her world changed, but still there.


This is a very personal story. At the same time, it’s hardly autobiographical at all.



How the shell does that work?


Sea jokes. I hope you're ready for 'em. 

Even though our film is about grief, people grieve in all kinds of different ways. One of my favorite coping mechanisms is humor, so you'll see a lot of dumb jokes washing up here. 


But this story though.

When I wrote this film I was in DC, away from my family and home (but among friends), while my husband was with his own family after a recent tragedy. States away, my uncle was losing his fight with an aggressive cancer. Death seemed very near.


In the midst of that maelstrom, I stretched out on my friend’s couch and cupped my hands against my ears. The sound of the blood rushing through my hands so close to my ears reminded me of the rushing of the sea. Of conch shells I’d held to my ear as a kid, whose soft windy echoes had transported me to that same place. A place with a sea that gives, that takes, that just is. And the metaphor flowed from there.


Courtesy of GIPHY


Why this film?

This film is a preemptive elegy for my own mother, who is thankfully still with us, but has been living with HIV since before my sister and I were born. We didn’t know about her diagnosis until we were adults, but on some level we always sensed it. Mom did everything she could when we were younger to make sure if things took a turn, we would be okay without her. (She still does.)


Courtesy of GIPHY


So this is for my mom, while she’s still here to see it, to show her that she was right—no matter how choppy the water is at first, we will be okay.


And it’s for my sister, to remind her of how we’re there for each other when the tide is rising.


And it’s for Isabella, who’s already had to swim through that first big gut punch.


But mostly, it’s for you. Because grief is something we all experience differently, but it’s still an experience we all share. We have a fantastic empathetic ability to feel ourselves in the experiences of others, and to understand ourselves and each other through this connection. Grief is a connection that can overwhelm us, but it can also buoy us. More than almost any other experience, shared grief can remind us that we’re not alone. No matter how overwhelmed we are, we can be okay.


We will be okay.


I'm so reassured! What's the plan?

Film is expensive, but we're pretty frugal with our clams while making sure everyone is taken care of.


Courtesy of GIPHY


We're raising $9,500 for production of this five-minute film. This covers 2 days of shooting in NYC and a pre-art day for our fabulous production designer, plus all the associated expenses.


I'm in! When can I see it?

Thank you so much for joining us! We already have plans for a festival run and eventual streaming release, and if you pledge at the $100 level you get a priority-access digital download of the finished film so you can see it even before it gets screened at festivals. And and if you pledge $500, you can see the film with the filmmakers (heyo) before festival screenings. Fancy!


How do I ride this wave?

We're both the cat and the surfer. 


Pledge - Dip your toes into our incentives list and see what moves you! Want to make your own perfect beach day memories with us? Want a guided meditation created especially for you? Just want a silly mad lib style digital thank you (complete with gif, guaranteed)? We're all over that.


Follow - Follow your heart to the blue FOLLOW button up at the top of this page, and click the heart. That's it. That one simple thing can help unlock Seed&Spark filmmaker rewards for us. Some of those rewards include waivers for festival fees and distribution help, and all of them are awesome. We need 250 followers to unlock the biggest and brightest rewards!


Share - Maybe you really love us and think we're great: if so, please tell all your friends about us. 


We're blushing! Thank you so much! Sharing the campaign gets to the heart of what this is really all about, which is connecting with our audience for this film.


Which is you.


Once we've made the film we can't wait to submit it to festivals and get it to an even larger audience. 


Thank you for being here with us. We can't wait to make this movie with you.



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

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Production Design

Costs $700

Help us bring the siblings’ world and our incredible PD’s vision to life!

Production Team!

Costs $4,460

Pay our team of amazing, emerging women & TGNC film artists!


Costs $1,125

It’s very expensive lugging precious cargo (in- and animate) around this great city.

Food & Hospitality

Costs $600

Keep these artists fed; keep them happy!

Production Supplies

Costs $755

Hard drives, batteries, printing, the whole 20,000 leagues.

Equipment Rentals

Costs $1,860

Cameras and lenses and lighting and sound, (*George Takei*) ohhh myyyy.

About This Team

It's Dani again. Welcome to the teaaaammm paaaage.


From the very beginning stages of this project, I knew I was writing for Isabella Jane Schiller. Isabella and I met in an Alexander Technique class in 20shmershmer. She’s this enduringly fascinating mix of grounded and weird that speaks to my soul (like calls to like?), and I knew I could trust her with this incredibly personal little piece of it.


I'm also trusting you with it, so I hope you'll trust me to take you on a little journey through our team. 



For those of you who don't know me, I'm Dani Martineck (they/them): a New York-based non-binary actor and writer from Knoxville, Tennessee. On screen I've been seen (for a few seconds) on Blue Bloods on CBS, on HBO's Succession, and (for many more seconds) in short queer rom com Potion Masters as well as several other short films and series. The first audiobook I ever narrated, We're Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey for Penguin Random House, won an Odyssey Honor. In addition to The Rushing of The Sea, I've written several short stage plays and screenplays and am particularly proud of the episode I wrote for feminist-fairytale-for-young-listeners podcast Girl Tales, "Pan the Pirate."



This is Isabella Jane Schiller (she/her). Isabella is a dedicated actor, a stalwart friend, a raccoon in human shape, and in the last few years I've watched her shore up a ton of experience on the production side of things—general managing two mid-sized plays, assisting behind the scenes on some indie web series, and working as a producing associate for an award-winning documentary film company. She’s also a ridiculous overachiever, so I was overjoyed when she offered to co-produce as well. Without a doubt, Isabella gets it done. Which comes in handy when I get a little too dreamy and ideas-y. 

Next, we needed to secure a director and build a team. Check out our creatives below: 

Director Molly Karna (she/her)

Molly Karna has been making films since high school. After completing her degree in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University and completing a Fulbright Research Scholarship in public health in Mumbai, Molly decided to pursue film full-time. Her first short film Arrangement, which also starred Isabella Jane Schiller, premiered at the New York Indian Film Festival and won Best Debut Short at the Indian Film Festival of Cincinnati. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Film & Television Production at the University of Southern California. 


Director of Photography Austin Lee Smoak (she/her)

A graduate of Florida State University's the Film School, Austin Lee Smoak worked in the camera department in Los Angeles for 12 years before moving to New York. 

As a Cinematographer, Austin has shot everything from independent features and television to documentaries and music videos. Her most recent work includes projects for Vice, PBS, MTV, Comedy Central and Showtime. Her work on the New Media Series, L.A. Macabre has earned her several nominations for Best Cinematography. In addition, Austin has had the opportunity to work as a Cinematographer all over the world including work in Europe, India and Nigeria.

Austin loves working closely with directors to bring their vision to life and help tell their stories.


Production Designer Maya Graffagna (she/her)

Maya Graffagna is a New York based Costume and Graphic Designer. Select credits: Head Seamstress at The Playboy Club; You’ll Never Meet Mac De Marco, and The Pillowman (Rivals of the West, MICA), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Tempest Ladies), and Fabulous!… The Queen of New Musical Comedies (Write Act Repertory). Maya is a founding member of the sketch comedy group Dave's Friends, and is the Graphics, Media & Retail Manager at Parity Productions.  


Assistant Director Emily Miller (she/her)

Emily Miller is a freelance producer with a background in logistics producing, script development, and design. She graduated from NYU in Fall 2020 with a B.F.A. in Film and TV and a minor in Web Applications and Programming. She was a Tisch Scholarship recipient, and she graduated on the Dean's List with honors. At NYU, she produced 6 undergraduate thesis films, 3 independent shorts, 2 music videos, and a web series. She also held a development internship for 3 semesters and worked on campus in Tisch for 3 years in the undergraduate film department. She's since worked part time for NYU, assisting the Associate Chair of Production with COVID-19 production coordination. She's looking for more collabs, so check out her work on her website and reach out!


1st Assistant Camera Aleko Syntelis (he/him)


Gaff/Grip Daniel Hughes (he/him)


Sound Mixer Justin Woo (he/him)


PA Christina Germaine (she/her)


...and other amazing creatives, to be introduced!


...and you, our stunning supporters!


Special thanks to Danielle Benedict, who shot the test footage in our pitch video, and Eli Denby Wood for their beautiful score!

Current Team