Visiting Birdie

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Drama, Family

Hadley Dion

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $21,039 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

203 supporters | followers

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Visiting Birdie is a short film about a teenager and her new friend spending the day with her complicated grandmother. It is an intimate portrayal of the thorny love between female family members as well as the blossoming tender love between queer teenagers.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

This is a film about intergenerational trauma and the ways women hurt from it, perpetuate it, and miraculously find ways to heal from it. As a mother/daughter directing team, we want to tell vulnerable stories that center the experiences of women of all ages.

The Story

AS OF March 23, WE ARE AT 100% OF OUR GOAL! Now that we have hit our initial goal, we are setting a stretch goal of 25,000! This additional money will guarantee we can:

  • Compensate all of our crew fairly
  • Have an incredible original score
  • Hire an excellent colorist
  • Cover all of our film festival submissions
  • Promote the film with amazing art and marketing materials

Thank you all for your support! Let’s see how far we can go now!


Visiting Birdie is a short film that follow Sam, a sensitive teenager, during a rare visit with her Grandma Rita, who she calls Birdie. Knowing that Birdie can be difficult and passive aggressive, Sam brings her new friend, Lola, along to act as a buffer. Unfortunately, Birdie turns this against her and gives Lola the maternal affection she withholds from Sam. 

As the day unfolds, Sam’s OCD and true feelings about Rita’s hurtful nature become harder to contain. Lola and Sam's bond becomes deeper and their relationship starts to grow in unexpected ways.

The Characters 

Rita/ Birdie

An emotional artist, Rita married young to escape her abusive parents but once she was thrust into motherhood, she panicked and ran away to Paris. As a young and eccentric artist, she traveled and looked for love in all the wrong places (and with several different husbands). She cherishes having Sam still in her life but never learned how to love. She instead tests her granddaughter's loyalty by taking out her hurt on Sam. Rita is full of regret, resentments, and self hatred but has never sought help or healing. Instead she is stuck in a toxic cycle of her own making.


An old soul who wants a relationship with Rita, even at the expense of her own well-being. She wants to mend the tear in her maternal lineage but has been beaten down by Birdie and does not know how to fix her family. She has a light that Lola is drawn to but that Birdie seeks to dim when it gets in the way of her own ego. She is a peacekeeper but never puts herself first, which leads to inner turmoil and furthers her struggle with her OCD. She sees that Rita is damaged and always arrives optimistic that things will be different with her but it always devolves into the same patterns.


Sam’s new friend from school, they have only known each other a couple months but have a tender intimacy that is rare. She is a true artist that is enamored by Birdie’s artistic endeavors and home at first but as Birdie shows her true colors, Lola’s perspective of the home and Birdie’s art begins to shift. Lola comes from a single mother household and while her mother does love her, she is too busy trying to provide for her than to give her the attention she needs. She finds Birdie’s interest in her appealing because of this, but not at the sake of hurting her dearest friend.


As a mother/daughter directing team, we are interested in exploring our own matriarchal history and the ways women in our lives have carried on.

 Rita/Birdie represents the loneliness we are born from and the hurt we carry in our DNA.

 While her daughter has decided to break free from this cycle of pain, Rita’s granddaughter Sam tries to maintain a relationship with her Grandma, though the toxicity is wearing her down. Lola offers an outsider perspective, but she can easily get swept up into these established patterns or bring Sam into the light of a new way of thinking and healing. 

We feel a kinship with all of these characters. At our best, we are the girls bonding and finding love as a means of survival. At our worst, we are Rita, punishing those we love most to protect our vulnerable self-loathing from being truly, rawly seen.

Visiting Birdie is an examination of the ways blood family has formed us for better or worse and the ways we can evolve beyond past generations to become our own people. 

This film explores topics like mental health, family dynamics, female friendship, and queer romance. All matters that have personal significance to us and we are excited to explore on screen with nuance and care. 



1. Follow this campaign and stay up to date with any news and goals we may share! You can also follow us on Instagram @visitingbirdie ! 

2. Contribute and pledge. Seed and Spark requires at least 80% of our goal in 30 days to receive any of the funds we raise. We have a number of incentives for all budgets. Even a couple dollars will make an impact. Your support is greatly appreciated. 

3. Spread the word. Even if you can’t donate, sharing our campaign is a wonderful way to champion female filmmakers. Please share via social media, email, word of mouth, or however you want! 


With your generous support, we will be able to secure our location, rent equipment, and reach our goal of filming this May! We aim to focus on post this summer and begin submitting to festivals in the fall. We can't wait to share the film with all of our supporters!  

Due to the everchanging COVID Pandemic, we will be monitoring the situation closely and will follow the latest SAG guidelines as we get closer to the shoot date. The safety of our cast and crew is of the utmost importance to us. 





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Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $3,000

Your pledge will go towards a location that will be our home for 3 days of shooting.


Costs $1,500

Your pledge go towards feeding our cast and crew.

Post Production

Costs $3,000

Your pledge will go towards editing, sound design, music, etc.


Costs $3,000

Your pledge will go towards film festivals so as many people as possible can see this film

Camera Equipment

Costs $4,500

Your pledge will go towards renting some stellar camera equipment to make this beautiful short

About This Team

Deborah Maxwell Dion (Co-Director)

Deborah has worked in casting for the past 27 years. Having worked on over 125 titles, she has had the honor of working with many notable directors such as Tim Burton, Wes Anderson, M. Night Shyamalan, Ramin Bahrani, James Gray, and Noah Baumbach among others. Passionate about directing actors in audition situations, she has always wanted to move into directing actors in film.  Having collaborated in casting, producing, and teaching with Hadley Dion over the years, she is thrilled that they are finally co-directing a beautiful film written by Hadley.


Hadley Dion (Writer, Co-Director

Hadley is a writer, producer, and filmmaker from Los Angeles. She earned her BFA in Film Production, with a concentration in sound design, at Chapman University. After graduating, she worked on The Mortified Podcast (produced in partnership with Radiotopia and PRX) for five years as an audio editor and producer. She also co-created, co-wrote, and co-directed the award winning web series “I Would Have Kissed You,” now on Twisted Mirror TV. These days, Hadley has turned her attention towards teaching and writing. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Anti-Heroin Chic, Exist Otherwise, and Scapegoat Review, among others.


Jenny Gulley (Producer

Jenny is an actor/producer and lives in Los Angeles, CA. She is known for her roles in Happiest Season, Accidental Love, The Originals, and more. She is passionate about creating change through storytelling both in front of and behind the camera. 


Olivia Kimmel (Director of Photography)

Olivia is a Los Angeles and New York-based Cinematographer. She chased adventure all over the world as a local 600 camera assistant before transitioning to cinematography and graduating from the AFI Cinematography Program. Olivia brings to her work a strong technical and emotional skillset, a nuanced aesthetic style, and an ever-important twinkle in her eye. She believes that with determination, skill, and excitement for the bedlam of filmmaking, we can make magic.


Emma Dobiash (Editor

Emma is a Colorado-raised, LA-based editor. She edits scripted and unscripted projects, music videos, and everything in between. She currently works as a finishing editor on TV shows such as The Good Doctor and Mayfair Witches. When she isn’t locking herself in a dark editing room, she likes hiking and stopping to photograph every single plant along the way. She will talk to you about hard drives - whether you’re listening or not. 

Current Team