The Sympathy Card

Boston, Massachusetts | Film Feature

LGBTQ, Romantic Comedy

Sympathy Card

1 Campaigns | Massachusetts, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $34,099 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

336 supporters | followers

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THE SYMPATHY CARD is an unconventional lesbian rom-com about three women wrestling with living in the present, mortality, and bad first dates. It is a hilarious, sexy, heartfelt comedy about the ridiculous lengths humans will go when faced with the unknown.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

THE SYMPATHY CARD is an unconventional lesbian love story in which fully-realized non-cliche women deal with end of life issues in a funny, awkward, and touching way. Our team is committed to intersectionality in front of and behind the camera - our crew is 2/3rds female and 1/3rd queer.

The Story

THE SYMPATHY CARD was born out of a joke.  Before going in for surgery, writer/director Brendan Boogie’s partner turned to him and said “If I die, you have my permission to use the sympathy card to get laid.”  Surgery turned out fine and everyone is completely healthy, but the seed of “what if?” had been planted. As writers are wont to do, Brendan spun the “sympathy card” idea from reality to the ridiculous.  Just like that, the characters of Josie and Emma came to life.


Enter Petey Gibson.  Originally cast as Emma, Petey quickly took on a larger role of producer in order to help fully realize the mission of creating a production that fully reflected and involved the queer community.  As a non-binary queer performer who has appeared on Transparent, Grace & Frankie, and Broad City (just to name a few), Petey saw the potential in a story about lesbians the likes of which that hadn’t been told before.        


Telling stories in the LGBTQ+ community - especially complex, funny, authentic stories - is vitally important. We bring the lesbian community to life in THE SYMPATHY CARD - the nuances, the love and celebration, the humor - with fully realized women. This is not another coming-out story.  We have seen those. We believe the lesbian community deserves a really fresh take on a lesbian love story and we are excited to bring this film to our audience.

In addition, the film tackles cancer and end-of-life issues in a genuine, funny, and non-saccharine way.  While many movies shy away or sentimentalize death, THE SYMPATHY CARD invites the audience to feel love and grief in an authentic way.  Movies like these help people going through difficult situations feel less alone.


We filmed four days of “flashback” scenes in June in the Boston area.  Our cast - led by the extraordinary Nika Ezell Pappas as Josie - was phenomenal.  The crew (two-thirds female, one-third queer) were a well-oiled machine. We filmed all over Somerville, Medford, and Cambridge, including the iconic queer-owned City Girl Cafe.  We plan on continuing to shoot in the locations and involve the people of the Boston queer community to make this film as real as possible.


We are ready to finish strong.  We just need your help.


Every dollar you pledge will go toward food, location fees, equipment rentals, insurance, and - most importantly - paying the dedicated cast and crew who pour their sweat into making this film a reality.  There are plenty of fun, cool rewards to show our appreciation of your support. No matter what you can afford to pledge, we are grateful and happy to have you on THE SYMPATHY CARD team. Thank you in advance for your support!



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


Costs $3,000

We thought about getting all avant garde and filming without a camera, but cooler heads prevailed.


Costs $3,000

Let there be light!

Makeup and Wardrobe

Costs $3,000

If we don't look good, you don't look good. Or something.

Art Direction

Costs $2,000

Good art direction makes everything look a cut above - a real difference maker in a quality film.

Union Fees

Costs $2,000

We are a SAG production so our actors are ensured to be treated as well as they deserve.


Costs $4,000

We like it when you can hear what the actors are saying. We're nitpicky like that.

Crew Salary

Costs $10,000

You can't make the film without people behind the camera! Our top notch crew of pros are ready!

Cast Salary

Costs $10,000

Our cast are as dedicated as they are talented. Help us take care of them!


Costs $3,000

A well-fed crew is a happy crew and much less likely to stage a mutiny!

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Petey Gibson - Producer, Actor - "Emma"

Petey J. Gibson (they, them) is a trans/nonbinary LA-based creator, writer, and Groundlings-trained character performer. Petey’s recent acting credits include Transparent, For The People, and The Comedy Get Down (with George Lopez and DL Hughley). Their recent writing/performing/producing projects include Meals with Mary (a comedic webseries called “complete magic... the best cooking show to ever exist”), as well as the Somerville series, a collection of shorts about a rowdy group of wicked Bostonians. In 2017, Petey wrote and co-produced half-hour pilot presentation Somerville, based off of these shorts, and recently completed their second half hour pilot, THEM, about a collection of loveable and hardworking trans twentysomethings.  


Brendan Boogie - Writer, Director, Producer

Brendan Boogie (he, him) is an award-winning writer/director/producer whose film SUNDOWN- a comedy/drama about a family coping with dementia - won multiple awards at the 2017 Massachusetts Independent, Buffalo International, Long Island, Sanford International, and SNOB Film Festivals and is currently available on Amazon.  THE MAYOR OF ROCK & ROLL, which Brendan wrote and starred in, was an official selection of the 2015 Massachusetts Independent and Buffalo Niagara Film Festivals.  Brendan is also a mainstay of the Boston independent music scene, having shared the stage with Boston’s best  and  recorded over a dozen albums with various bands, including Scamper and Parlour Bells.  


Amanda McGrady - Director of Photography


Amanda got her start working on her high school’s TV station and shooting horror flicks on MiniDV. She attended film school and began working in the industry as soon as possible. She graduated from Emerson College with a B.A. in Visual Media Arts. Her fascination with cameras and equipment grew when she worked in a busy rental house. Even though she came up as a digital kid, she still loves shooting on film when possible and is inspired by good old-fashioned movie magic. Over the years Amanda has shot a variety of projects including feature and short films that screen at festivals around the world. 


Nika Ezell Pappas - Actor - "Josie"

Nika Ezell Pappas is an actor, writer, and birth doula located in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with honors from Columbia University with her Master of Fine Arts. Most recently she wrote a short film based around the experience of sitting in the Planned Parenthood post/abortion recovery room. She can be seen starring in the feature film Nia on Vacation with release to Netflix and beyond in the coming months. She worked on set with Martin Scorsese in HBO’s Vinyl and appeared in various other feature and short films including Adam Bloom, Middleground, and The Poet. On stage she’s performed in such productions as Bad Jews at Roundabout, Midsummer Nights Dream at Classic Stage Company, and Proud to Present at the Guthrie. You may also glimpse her in various regional and national commercials for Verizon, Bank of America, and MLB.


When not on the stage she can be found in a hospital room or home birth setting working towards the advocacy and empowerment of the birthing process. She believes in helping all families through this highly transitional time and continues to work towards birth justice in all its forms.


Phil Healy - Producer


Phil Healy is a Boston based filmmaker, comedian, and all around no-do-gooder. He’s worked in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles on various projects for MTV Networks, Paramount, Sony, and Comedy Central. His feature length documentary 'My Name Is Jonah' has played all around the world and has won numerous awards You can catch on Beta Max TV, BKOD (Brooklyn On Demand), or online. He also has numerous other shorts traveling the film festival circuit. Phil co-presents Boston Open Screen at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, a monthly open mic for filmmakers, and is also a Technical Director for the Boston Underground Film Festival. By day he works in Public Access Television teaching community members about video production and the dangers of unlicensed and predatory docking.


Lauren Neal - Actor "Siobhan"



Lauren Neal is an actor, writer, & producer from Aurora, Colorado, and a recent graduate of Brown University's Department of Theatre Arts & Performance Studies.  At Brown, Lauren received the Weston Award for Excellence in Acting; her two original solo shows garnered several artist's grants; and she participated in over four dozen performances and projects as a dancer, actor, writer, director, producer, designer, and/or technician.

Lauren has had lead roles in several internationally-screened short films, and she has self-produced her one-woman show how to do thangz with wordz for the Hollywood Fringe Festival and other Los Angeles stages. Lauren made her TV pilot debut in FOX's unaired Delirium, starring Emma Roberts.  Independently, Lauren caught the attention of Ebony, Indiewire, and Huffington Post with Spicy Wit, a pilot presentation for which she served as a first-time writer/director/producer.  Lauren made her feature film acting debut in 2017 as the lead in The Lovely Rejects, an indie for which she was nominated for Best Lead Actress at IFF London, and for which she also served as co-producer.

Currently, she is co-executive producing and casting Bad Habits, an independent single-camera comedy series. Lauren has two nonfiction books due for release in 2018 and 2019; she is also writing and developing several feature film projects.  Lauren continues to perform live, write, and record experimental music as her award-winning alter ego Licki Ucroj, a Nicki Minaj-inspired comedienne/rapper with an ever-expanding fan base in underground hip-hop. 2018 will see the release of four separate Licki music projects, in addition to the rebirth of her one woman cabaret/stand-up comedy style solo show. 

Current Team