When Skies Are Gray

New York City, New York | Film Short

Drama, Experimental

Julie Balefsky

2 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $10,737 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

59 supporters | followers

Enter the amount you would like to pledge


Ivan, an aging recluse, needs to rent out a room in his house after his social security begins to dwindle. Avery, an emotionally-stunted free spirit replies to his craigslist ad. By sharing the same space, they begin to open each other’s worlds in unexpected ways.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

Our team is led by women and genderqueer artists aiming to redefine how stories of poverty and loneliness are told. The director is a genderqueer, transmasculine Puerto Rican, and the majority of the crew is female identifying, queer, or persons of color from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds.

The Story


I believe in wonder. I believe in awe. And I believe in the importance of cultivating those senses - of not losing them. Now, with smartphones everywhere and people constantly immersed in their digital worlds, I fear we are losing, as a culture, our personal connection with each other and the natural world - what it truly means to be here, now, against all odds - we are alive.


I wrote When Skies Are Gray right after a year of studying clown for the first time - and that training revitalized my own sense of wonder. I began to relearn how to engage with the world as if I was seeing everything for the first time. This story is about two struggling, beaten-down souls - Ivan and Avery - who are brought together by happenstance, and inadvertently help each other rediscover their sense of play while surrounded by a deteriorating, decrepit world. It is a story of fate, of first impressions, of exploration, curiosity, whimsy, and play.


This film has also been my way of coping with what is going on in our world right now. We are ungrounded. We are shaky. We are divided, along so many lines. When Skies are Gray is a story about people who are ungrounded, scared, beaten down - and how they help each other rediscover the simplest moments of peaceful completeness.



Thank you for letting us share this story with you. 


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

Experienced Crew Members

Costs $3,300

Compensating our crew is an essential part of creating a positive and motivating experience on set!

Craft Services

Costs $1,000

Everyone knows you can't work on an empty stomach. We believe a well-fed crew makes a happy crew.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Lighting Package

Costs $1,000

Lighting will be particularly important in setting the tone for When Skies Are Gray.

Camera Package and Insurance

Costs $2,500

We will be shooting on an Alexa Mini.

Location Rentals

Costs $1,400

In order to shoot upstate, we'll be renting a cabin to shoot in as well as lodging for cast/crew.


Costs $2,000

Our footage will be nothing without the work of a brilliant editor, colorist, and sound design.

Festival Submissions

Costs $800

We're dreaming big! We plan to submit WSAG to prestigious festivals across the country and abroad.

About This Team

WRITER / Amy Stringer

Amy is an actor, writer, and comedian based in New York City. Currently, she is playing Lizzy Bennet in Pendragon Theatre's production of Kate Hamill's Pride and Prejudice. She can also be seen in Elite Daily’s viral parody series Millennials of New York, and at various comedy open mics around the city. She is a graduate of Barnard College and The Studio / New York. As a Centennial Scholar at Barnard, Amy was given a grant to pursue an independent project of her choosing. With the grant she completed a three-week silent meditation retreat in Dharamsala, India, and subsequently wrote and directed a staged reading of her first one-act play, Wild Love. This is her first film. 



DIRECTOR / Lio Mehiel (fka Isabella Mehiel) 

Lio is a gender-queer, transmasculine filmmaker, actor, and artist now based in Queens, NY. Lio was born and raised in Puerto Rico until they began their acting career in New York City. As a child actor, Lio performed on Broadway in Marianne Elliot’s The Miracle Worker and Anthony Page’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Currently, they can be seen on the new ABC show, Deception.


Lio graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Theater, a minor in Performance Art and a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications. 


In 2017, Lio completed their first short film, Disforia which premiered at the Newport Beach Film Festival, won BEST THRILLER at the Manhattan Film Festival and is headed to Outfest LGBT Festival in Los Angeles in July, 2018!



PRODUCER / Julie Balefsky

Julie is a New York based producer + actress. Most recently, she co-produced Chandler, a short film written and directed by Julia Kennelly, which premiered at the Atlanta Film Festival. Other producing credits: Garbage (short), Period Piece (web series). Upcoming: You Are Going To Explode (short). Currently, Julie serves as the showrunner’s assistant on Showtime’s Ray Donovan. She is a graduate of NYU/Tisch School of the Arts.


PRODUCER / Tara Pacheco

Tara is a New York based actor, director, and producer. She has appeared on TV in NBC’s Shades of Blue and will be making her feature film debut in The Goldfinch directed by John Crowley. On stage, she has received critical acclaim for her performance as Sally in the world premiere of Thomas Bradshaw’s Thomas and Sally. She is a graduate of Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Columbia University, and the British American Drama Academy.



Current Team