A female driven feature film showcasing inclusivity and acceptance in a traditional RomCom storyline
Shani Hadjian and Elise Murphy are two women who decided to write a story that shows our lives and many other women’s lives: happy, career driven, romance filled, exciting, and sometimes rocky, yet always surrounded by accepting people of all different backgrounds, orientations, and creeds. Because why should we continue to see our lives on screen represented as anything but that?
They want to use mass media (i.e. this film!) to change perceptions, particularly on social issues, without audiences even noticing. In this traditional Romantic Comedy storyline, Isabella and Lucy despise each other at their NYC office, but accidentally fall in love anonymously through online dating. Isabella and Lucy each have their own issues that they must overcome, all while trying to keep this new, mysterious relationship afloat in case something could come of it.
A passionate group of people fully dedicated to making this wonderful film
Shani Hadjian (creator, writer, director, “Isabella” in Up or Out) is best known for her stage career; she was last seen in the national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz where she starred as The Wicked Witch of the West. Prior to that, favorite credits include the national tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Off Broadway’s Fancy Nancy, The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot, Rose Stopnick in Caroline, or change, and Touchstone in As You Like it.
Her screen credits include Stricken, Second Thoughts, and Plastic, Twisted. In addition to acting, Shani owns her own photography business, Shani Hadjian Photography, where she focuses on actors headshots and portraiture. She started her business in 2011 and has built it to a well known staple among the acting community.
Elise Murphy (creator, “Lucy”) is originally from Massachusetts, but made the move to New York City after college. Here in NYC she has performed in promotional material for “Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,” the Broadway show featuring Josh Groban, as well as backup vocals for multiple theme parks around the country . She has worked as a performer/dance instructor all over the world with Holland American Cruise Lines, and performed across the country in Sesame Street Live. She has recently started writing her own music and has enjoyed taking the leap from theatre into film, writing, and recording.
Other cast members involved in the teaser:
Lea Nardi (Rachel), Scott Caron (Sam), Soph Menas (Chris), Courtney Rada (Tara), Ellen Williams (Jane), Chengusoyane Kargbo (Breanna), Steve Bauder (Matt)
In the creator’s own words: Elise Murphy and I, long time friends, met for lunch in summer 2015. One of the things we discussed was how we felt under-represented in media, sometimes falsely represented, and how there were very few movies being made that we felt good about supporting. We realized that what we were seeing on the big screen were LGBTQ+ movies that lacked romance, overly-sexualized the lead characters, had no representation of gender queer/ non binary characters, were often written by straight women or men. Most of all: we couldn’t think of more than [maybe] two movies where the conflict wasn’t about coming out, being closeted, or not being accepted.
Our goals with Up or Out, is to normalize diversity in sexuality. Our conflict has nothing to do with being gay or coming out, it instead seeks to illuminate the comical and sometimes emotional realities of being human.
Shani Hadjian has started a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of raising $15,000. The fund raised will be used for the following expenses: Location costs, post production, equipment, catering, transportation, cast, and crew.
Have a look at the Indiegogo link for more information: