The Valley

San Jose, California | Film Short

Drama, Teen

Emerson Morley

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $15,100 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

32 supporters | followers

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This project is based off of the lead actors' experiences in a Silicon Valley high school, and aims to authentically show how a high-achieving academic environment effects two girls; one struggling with learning disabilities and the other with mental health.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

After growing up in the special education system and with mental health diagnoses, creators Emerson and Tina, both current high school students, want to share the stories close to their authentic selves and shed light on the flaws in the public education system.

The Story


Emerson, a current high school student and actor, developed this film to tell her story, and help other high school students realize they are not alone in their struggles. 

Emerson Morley (Elsie)

Emerson is a 16 year old high school student based out of the Silicon Valley, California, and is an avid writer and reader as well as an actor working in film and TV in Los Angeles. Much like her character Elsie, she can admit she is "trash" at math, and is currently trudging her way through Geometry at a "snail's pace".

Emerson has been a member of the public school special education system since she was in fourth grade, and aims to tell her story through the film. "I've had plenty of time to observe my academic experience," she made sure to note. As a young-adult author and 2020 TED speaker, she's no stranger to sharing her authentic self openly with audiences. When asked about what inspired her to write the screenplay she said, "when we went into this quarantine, my world stopped revolving around school, and I could analyze my expereinces from an outside point of view. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, I could regonize the toll a high-achieving academic expectations had taken on my mental health and the flaws in our American school system were emphasized even more." Emerson is excited to be taking both an acting and producing job on "The Valley". "Silicon Valley values outward appearences, so we're going to turn that around and cancel it out with the truth." She said. "We're going to tell the truth."

Unni Rav (Director/Cinematographer)


Unnikrishnan Raveendranathen (Unni Rav) is a cinematographer based in the Bay Area, California. Unni has worked on several different productions, including independent features, narrative shorts, documentaries, commercials, and corporate films. In 2019, he won the Oniros Film Award for Best Cinematography for Independent Feature Film and the European Independent Film Platinum Award for Best Cinematographer for his recent independent feature film, “DNA." His short film “Kevin” won the best short film award in 2016 at the Philadelphia International Film Festival while his short film “Status Change” received the best mini short film mention at the Miami Independent Film Festival in 2015.

The Authentic Portrayal of Elsie's Learning Disabilties:

Accurately depicting atypical characters is incredibly important in this film. Due to the fact that Emerson has lived with Visual Processing Disorder and working memory issues for the entire tenure of her academic life, she feels like she has an understanding of presenting that struggle to audiences. She noted, "It's not about making people understand every little part of what goes into neurodivergency, it's about making people understand how having that struggle effects your mental health and academic success. Empathetic understanding is half the battle." She wants to make sure her performance does not dramatize learning disabilities, but rather authetically demonstrates the emotional aspect to that adversity.

The Authentic Portrayal of Gemma's Depression:

While discussions of mental health have gradually been seeping into media and helping reduce the stigma surrounding it, we still have a lot of work to do. Tina wants to bring insight into how depression is often covered up in young adults, and ignored in the name of pressing on for academic prowess. She knows many students pride themselves on academic achievement (especially in Silicon Valley), and has a deep grasp on how it feels when those successes are risked. "Sometimes it feels like we live for school. It's why we get up and we work hard at it. And when things start to pile up and you start to slip, things can get really dark, really fast." Tina looks forward to emphasizing the idea that worth and productivity are not the same thing. "I'm just trying to bring that honesty to this film. That's always the goal. Honesty."  


COVID-19 Precautions 

Staying COVID-19 safe is our primary goal for every individual who is participating in this project. A large portion of our funding will be going directly to supporting COVID-19 precautions in the form of a trained COVID-compliance team, frequent tests, and sanitization measures. For the creatives that will be joining us on set in person, we want to be sure they are compensated for their dedication and efforts. The amazing, talented, selfless individuals that are a part of this project are the ones that are going to make this film amazing, we want to be sure they know how much we appreciate them.

Imperfect Together

We're flipping quiet culture. No more shoving struggles under the rug and ignoring valid issues, all so our college applications look perfect. By ignoring the struggles we have as students, neurodivergent or not, we contribute to the cycle of secrecy and concealment all for the goal of mainting the perfect exterior Silicon Valley (and other areas) love. Just as Elsie and Gemma learn, imperfection brings us together, and the understanding we're all just struggling in our own way, is endlessly comforting. Being imperfect together, is the closest to perfection we'll get, and we'll have company along the way. 




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

Our Director

Costs $2,500

We're looking to support an amazing Director of Photography for this project!

Our MUA team

Costs $1,000

We want to make sure our talented MUA's are compensated for their talent

Our Actors

Costs $3,000

Actors bring our story to life, and we want our cast to feel like the valued members they are

Covid-19 Safety

Costs $1,000

Keeping our cast and crew safe during these trying times is our main priority

Our Sound

Costs $500

You know what they say, audio makes or breaks a film, and we want our audio to reflect our story

Craft Services

Costs $1,000

We want to make sure our cast and crew are fed and sustained so they can do their best work

Picture Editing

Costs $800

Putting the film together may just be the most vital part of the film making process.

Union Fees

Costs $500

In order for our set to be a safe one, we want to be following the best guidelines provided by SAG

Post Production Sound

Costs $800

Our sound editor is a valued member of our crew! (they have to listen to us talk all day of course)

Our Cew

Costs $1,500

It's our crew and PA's that make everything run smoothly!

Festival Submissions

Costs $500

We want our story to be shared as far as possible. Festivals help us get there!

Set Operations

Costs $1,000

An safe and efficient set is the goal of any production, and we're hoping for that too!


Costs $500

Location, Location, Location! It's true in real estate and in film! We want ours to tell a story

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

We're a small but mighty crew, and we find that's the best way to share our artistic vision.

Current Team