Young Claude

Chicago, Illinois | Film Short

Drama, LGBTQ

Adithi Chandrashekar

1 Campaigns | Illinois, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $31,900 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

141 supporters | followers

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While visiting their hometown grocery store, Claude is catapulted back to a pivotal childhood trip to that same market with their larger-than-life Dad. Memory knits the past to the present as Young Claude discovers that their hero is also human.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

YOUNG CLAUDE explores the simple pleasures of youth, the complex relationship between a father and a queer child, the profound and sensory nature of grief, and our capacity to regain equilibrium after a loss. It's a film about the abiding love between a kid and their imperfect but super-cool Dad.

The Story

Hi! Welcome to the world of YOUNG CLAUDE.

It takes a village to make the film, and we're so happy to welcome you to ours.

Between now and early July 2023, we need to raise $30,000 to make our dream of producing this film a reality. We're asking for your support to raise $22,000 on this platform, with a stretch goal of raising an additional $10,000 by the time we shoot this summer. At least 80% of our goal must be reached to keep the funds raised, but we believe we can do it with your help!

No contribution is too small. Follow our campaign (by clicking the heart icon on the top right) to stay up to date on our progress. Please know how grateful we are for your consideration and support.

We're so glad you're here!

Without further ado, we introduce to you....

YOUNG CLAUDE shifts back and forth between the present day and 1981 within the confines of the same grocery store.

As such, lighting, in-store displays, costumes, hair, and make-up all play a crucial role in conjuring overall tone as Claude plumbs the depths of memory.

Importantly, the roles of Adult Claude and their father, Lee, will both be played by the same non-binary actor, Kelli Simpkins.

In 1981 we meet YOUNG CLAUDE, a spirited, super curious gender-expansive 10-year-old that's thrilled to hit the town (and even the grocery store) with their rad dad, and role model, Lee.

Lee is the coolest guy in his small town, and his kid ain't half bad either. Sure, being a badass isn't easy...but it sure is fun.

When Lee and Young Claude visit their local grocery on a rare afternoon together, both father and child learn so much more about the other than they anticipated...

Grief reveals itself in unsuspecting ways, at unexpected times, turning Claude’s world upside down. From the muted colors and negative space in the present day to the helter-skelter distortion created inside the mind of a child—fear and loss are ever-present and persistent themes in this film.

In the last decade, only two LGBTQIA+ titles have been nominated for an Oscar for Best Live-Action Short. Your support will ensure YOUNG CLAUDE becomes the third. 

Please know that your financial support of YOUNG CLAUDE is so much bigger than making a film itself—you're making an investment in us artists. YOUNG CLAUDE is emblematic of a longer-term vision for writing, directing, and producing narratives about humans across the gender, race, age, sexual, and spiritual spectrums.

As importantly, we hope this work nurtures and employs artists whose identities span the full distance of those spectrums. We simply can't do it alone. No endeavor has ever been more important or meaningful to us.

Your help in making this dream a reality, right from the ground floor up, would mean everything.


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

Craft services for our cast and crew

Costs $250

Your contribution will keep our cast and crew fueled up throughout our three day overnight shoot!

Costumes: 1981 to the present

Costs $750

Your support will cover the cost of costumes for both the present-day and 1981 scenes.

1981 grocery store art design

Costs $1,000

Your support will support the cost of art design to realize a 1981 grocery store.

Production Insurance

Costs $1,200

Your support will cover the costs of insuring our production, cast, and crew.

Camera, lighting, and sound equipment

Costs $5,000

Your support will cover the cost of camera equipment, lighting, and sound equipment rentals.

Salaries for our production and design teams for one day

Costs $10,000

Your support will cover the costs of salaries for our hardworking production and design teams.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Meal Break

Costs $500

Provide one meal for entire cast and crew during filming.

Salaries for our cast

Costs $3,000

Your support will go towards the costs of paying our principal cast for their time on set.

Festival Entry Fees

Costs $300

Your support will go towards the costs of entering YOUNG CLAUDE into film festivals.

About This Team

Adithi Chandrashekar (she/her)

Writer, Co-Director, Producer

ADITHI (she/her) is a Chicago-based actor, writer, and director. Adithi's one-person play Open Season was written and produced as part of The Gift Theatre's inaugural 4802 residency. She is a proud 2015 graduate of the School at Steppenwolf and is represented by Stewart Talent Agency.

Kelli Simpkins (she/they)

Actor & Executive Producer

KELLI (she/they) is a theater, film, and TV artist. They are one of the original creators and performers of The Laramie Project. Kelli’s TV and film credits include American Rust, A League of Their Own, 61st Street, Work in Progress, Rounding, Chicago PD, and more. They are the recipient of the 2013 3ARTS Award, and are represented by Gray Talent Group and 1022m Management.

Jerre Dye (he/him)

Co-Director & Co-Executive Producer

JERRE (he/him) is a director, opera librettist, playwright and actor. He has spent the last three decades focusing on the development of new works for both theatre and opera. Jerre is the recipient of the Award for Dramatic Literature from the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

Jordan Graves (he/him)


Jordan (he/him) loves crafting images and bringing people together to create visual stories. He started out in narrative film, working both in production and cinematography. He is the co-founder and head of production at Talus Films where he oversees all content creation operations. Jordan also independently produces short and feature-length narrative projects.

Current Team