On a warm summer weekend in 1987, Orson and Geneva Murphy head to the Uinta mountains with their three children to help oldest son McKay earn merit badges en route to becoming a World Explorer Scout, just like his father. Trouble is, McKay would rather be at home playing video games than doing anything in nature.
Middle child Arlo is up for the challenge, however, and is eager to prove to his father that he can be a World Explorer Scout, too. Youngest child Clara, with her doll Susan B. in tow, is just trying to figure out how she is related to these people.
As the weekend unfolds, so do everyone’s true intentions, as well as challenges. Geneva wants to pursue a new passion. McKay doesn’t want to be anything like this father. Arlo wants to be seen for who he really is. Clara (and Susan B.) want the family to read a book every now and then. And Orson just wishes things didn’t have to change. As Orson leans into the lessons of nature, he grows to see not only who his family is, but who they also want to become. Having been the voice for his family for so long, Orson will finally embrace the unique voices of those he loves most.
Our short film works to expose the limiting beliefs that the world can place upon us, shake free the stagnant thoughts of tradition and what was acceptable in the past, and move toward a future where we embrace difference, let people’s lights shine, and help them become the fullest, truest, best version of themselves. This family is going to learn that their son is unique, his star should be allowed to shine, and by extension the mother will stop forfeiting her dreams for a way of life that diminishes her place.
Plus, we throw a Mormon family in the woods for a few days on a scouting trip where they must talk to each other while earning badges. Have you ever spoken to a family member? It’s the worst.
Skye is an award-winning screenwriter who was most recently named to ISA's Top 25 Screenwriters to Watch list. Skye was selected to participate in the Sundance Screenwriters Intensive, and she received the Alfred P. Sloan Screenwriting Fellowship at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019. Skye is the grand prize winner of ISA’s Emerging Screenwriters Competition and the recipient of the UCLA Carl David Memorial Screenwriting Fellowship for positive portrayals of the LGBTQ community. She received her MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television.
Matt received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is co-writing the graphic novel adaptation series of the video game Terraria, one of the best-selling games of all time. He has been a quarterfinalist and a semifinalist in the Nicholl Fellowship.
Amy's career in the creative arts spans over three decades as a director, producer, and actor in film, television, music videos and theatre. Her most recent directorial feature film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2022.
Her on-camera credits include Runners, Hate Crime, Sunshine Cleaning, First Person Singular, and The Understudy, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Dellaventura, and Wonderland, among others.
Jasmine has been in the entertainment industry for twenty-six years. First, as a child actress and dancer touring in theatrical productions, then as a manager, public relations specialist, producer, and writer. In her experience as a manager and PR specialist she has worked with such talents as Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire, Giancarlo Esposito, Ming Na Wen, Mary McDonnell, Lucy Lawless, Adore Delano, and Trixie and Katya. This will be Rochelle's second time producing a micro-budget film. When she isn't on set or on tour with her clients, she spends her time doctoring scripts, and writing screenplays and biographic content as a ghostwriter and journalist.
Amanda (they/them) is a queer filmmaker, artist, educator and community organizer whose work explores evolutions of intimacy, identity, body, and connection. Everything they create seeks to queer both the process and the content and to initiate spells, space, and connection for queer community. They have worked as an editor, director, and creator of documentary, narrative, and experimental projects for the past 15 years and their work has been exhibited internationally and won multiple awards and nominations. They are currently the Education Director at the youth media organization, Spy Hop Productions. They are also the founder and host of IowaHouseSLC, a queer and trans community building project in Salt Lake City. Find them at amandacmadden.com
As a strategic advisor, Annie has produced hundreds of commercial and branded events ranging from television productions to food and wine festivals.
Most recently, she has overseen the design and development of the screenwriting software, Scriip, which provides a user-friendly UI and innovative technology for the screenwriting community. Her products and solutions are created to streamline operations and increase stability and growth for her partners and clients.
Growing up in Utah, Skye Emerson was witness to the conservative family model that was expected of those in her community - father, mother, children, and church. When a child or parent stepped outside that carefully crafted mold, prices were paid. Families were often shattered. Sometimes, lives were lost.
While on the girl’s high school basketball team, Skye became close friends with one such child who confided in her that she did not believe that she should have been born a girl - but rather, inside, she felt like a boy. When this friend mustered enough courage to share this truth with their family, they were not only rejected, but they were also cast out and abandoned. This friend was soon removed from their basketball team, their school, and their community. It was the late 90s - Kevin Sorbo was Hercules, that alone created such a state of general bewilderment that no one had a clue what the hell was going on!
Skye often wondered how the outcome would have gone for her friend, had their family had a reference point for what they were experiencing; had they seen an example of how this moment didn't need to be a tragedy, but could instead become a moment of hope.
With Little Genes, Skye and her writing partner Matt Clingempeel bring forward a version of what “could have been,” to this story, versus what happened, to give a new perspective to audiences who might be struggling with how to embrace their trans child. Skye, a lesbian in conservative, patriarchal Utah, and Matt, a father of three unique children who are finding their voices (often loudly) in Virginia, are thrilled to give voice to a family trans story that we are rarely privy to - one filled with humor, heart, and most importantly... hope.
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