Mary Anne & Frank (formerly 'Til Death Do Us Part)

New York City, New York | Film Short

Comedy, Drama

Jingjing Tian

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $18,932 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

153 supporters | followers

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Til Death Do Us Part is about a 77 year old retired factory worker whose husband passes away. The landlord raises her rent, which she cannot afford. Unable to cope with his death and rising economic concerns, she believes that he's still alive until an unlikely stranger helps her to face reality.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

This is an important film about senior citizens, economic pressures, losing a loved one and mental illness. Senior citizens are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. The goal is to bring more resources and attention to this growing population and these topics.

The Story

Greetings from the Rue Morgue

'Til Death Do Us Part is a short film about a 77 year old retired factory worker whose husband passes away. Meanwhile, the landlord raises her rent, which she cannot afford. As his body decays inside of their apartment, she believes that he's still alive until an unlikely stranger helps her to face reality.


Mary Anne wakes up like it’s any other morning. A regular conversation goes awry when she realizes that her husband of forty years, Frank, has passed away in the middle of the night. In a fit of panic, she loses her wits and believes that he’s still alive. When she steps out of her apartment, her landlord tells her that he has raised her rent, which she cannot afford. In the following days, she cooks dinner for him – his favorite meatloaf, kisses him before bed, buys him french fries, and takes him for a jaunt, without ever realizing that he is dead. Or does she? Alone and grasping for connection, she meets a bouncer who lights her appetite to dance. Going out to a nightclub by herself, at the ripe age of 77, she meets a strange child who reminds her a lot of her younger self. 

Director's Statement

I love senior citizens. They're wise, funny, honest, and sometimes, a bit steely. I was raised by my grandparents, so I have always seen the elderly as superheroes. My 60-year-old grandmother was as spritely as any teenager. It wasn't until I grew older that I realized just how vulnerable senior citizens can be. When my grandmother passed away, I was overcome with grief. I felt angry, sad, guilty, and overwhelmed. More than anything, I wished that I could sit next to her again. I didn't know how to honor her memory and move on with my life. This is the genesis of 'Til Death Do Us Part. 


As a filmmaker, I am constantly making films about characters who are on the margins of society. Having grown up in China and Texas, I've felt like a leper for most of my life. It's important to me that senior citizens are taken care of and that there are resources to help them to thrive within our society. As such, I believe that there should be more films and tv shows about senior citizens. In the 80's and 90's, there were progressive tv shows like The Golden Girls and Matlock. But as the baby boomer generation ages, there are less tv shows about them! 'Til Death Do Us Part is my way of increasing representation for a group of people that are not represented in mainstream media. 


The style references and tones for my short film are a mix of the grittiness in Requiem for a Dream, Enter the Void, and Ash is Purest White mixed with the otherworldliness and dreaminess of Twin Peaks topped with the sweetness and heart of the short documentary Edith + Eddie.

A Different Path

I can tell you what it's like to change career paths! I began my career as an aviation engineer working on jet engines at Pratt and Whitney. I moved to NYC to become a writer, and I can tell you for real the up's and down's of pursuing a career without the support of family. I am a Sundance Writer's Lab and Sundance Sloan Foundation semifinalist. My short film, Cowboy Joe, a coming of age story about a Chinese cowboy has been featured in Paper Magazine, AM New York, High Country News, and screened at film festivals across the country such as the Seattle Asian American Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, Bentonville Film Festival, Way Down Film Festival, and more. I love making films about outsiders. 

Why Should You Contribute?

We, as a society, need to learn how to deal with loneliness, loss and how to grieve. Sometimes it's easier to see someone do something extreme in order to accept our own feelings. I want to remove the stigma of mental illness.


The money raised for this film will go to production to shoot the film! This includes rehearsals, cast and crew, 3 to 4 days of shooting, wardrobe, locations, set design, a camera package, external hard drives, catering, transportation, union fees, and so much more.


The short film will be completed by the end of the year for festivals in early 2020.


If you can offer a matching grant, or any in-kind services such as location rentals, equipment, or food, please reach out to us separately at [email protected]!


This is a film made for women by women. More than 50% of the cast and crew will be women. As an Asian American, I am part of a small population that makes less than 2% of directors in the US. 

Help Someone Who is Experiencing Grief

If you know someone who is going through grief, below are some resources for complicated grief or Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder:


*Huge thanks to Evergreen Funeral Home in Brooklyn, where I conducted research for the film and where the pitch video was filmed. A family business run by Leslie and John, they bring grace, love, joy, knowledge, and humor to one of the most difficult moments in our lives. 


Interview with Directed by Women!

Nicola and I sat down for an interview with Directed by Women. Here it is! 


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

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Camera package

Costs $3,500

The story lends itself to the Alexa-mini camera + lenses, memory cards, batteries, and more.


Costs $2,000

We need an outdated apartment, dive bar, corner grocery store, and deli.

Hair, Makeup & Wardrobe

Costs $2,000

Our dead husband has to look dead, so we need great hair, makeup, and wardrobe!


Costs $1,500

A hardworking crew needs healthy nourishment to do their best and stay upright! It's a 4 day shoot!

Set Design and Props

Costs $1,500

Props and set design bring the characters and story to life! We need items like a wheelchair + more!

Transportation & Holding

Costs $1,000

We need transportation & a holding area to store equipment while we film outside gorilla style.

Production Sound

Costs $2,000

We need great production sound so you can hear the actors speak!

Production Supplies and Equipment

Costs $1,500

We need behind the scenes equipment: monitor, tripod, dolly, hard drives, DIT, clapper, tape + more

Production Insurance

Costs $2,000

Production insurance keeps everyone and all the equipment safe and happy!


Costs $2,500

The cast is working hard & discounting their rates. This includes rehearsals, fittings + more


Costs $2,500

The crew is working hard & discounting their rates. This includes prep, scouting, shot lists, etc.

Union fees

Costs $500

Union fees include health insurance, dues, unemployment, federal taxes, social security + more

About This Team

Jingjing Tian - Writer + Director

Jingjing Tian is a Chinese American writer-director. She is a Sundance Writer's Lab semifinalist and a Sundance Sloan Foundation semifinalist. She has held fellowships at the New York Public Library and the Middlebury Script Lab, and won best female director, awards in excellence at AT&T, the Princeton Indpt. Film Festival, and more. Her short film Cowboy Joe, a coming of age story about a Chinese cowboy has screened around the world including the Seattle Asian American Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, Bentonville Film Festival, Museum of the Chinese in America and more. Her work has been profiled in Paper Magazine, AM New York, High Country News, and more. She has worked with director Eliza Hittman and DP Helene Louvart.


She has always been a huge fan of Edgar Allen Poe, Flannery O'Connor, and William Faulkner, who write about dark subjects in odd ways. Raised in China and Texas, she has a fondness for the strange, the prophetic, the dreamlike, and the heartfelt in supersize proportions. Her goal is to create more joy, empathy, and opportunities in the world. @mydarlingjingjing

Nicola Quinn - Producer

Nicola Quinn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the South African School of Motion Picture Media, where she graduated top of her class.  She was lucky enough to win the green card lottery and moved to New York City where she has furthered her training with Meisner, Method, Anthony Abeson, and UCB Improv. Nicola recently performed in the theatre premiere of Clouds Like Waves and played the leading roles in, The Back Up Singer, Incipient, and No Thinking in the Shower, she is currently filming a web series. Nicola is a Jill of all trades with a "get it done" attitude and team spirit.  She is passionate about storytelling and believes deeply in their power. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, working as an actress, producer, and writer. @nicolaqnyc

Troy Dobbertin - DP

Troy Dobbertin is an up and coming director of photography living and working in Brooklyn, New York. He focuses on finding and capturing the moments of natural beauty through his cinematography. @ttdobbertin









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Current Team