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About A Donkey (2017)
About a Donkey is about growing up & growing old, and finding laughter along the way. The film follows the Owens family: Ann & Tim, their 3 adult children, Cecilia, Burgh, and Annie (and her husband Paul), and matriarch Farrah. When Tim brings home a donkey in a mixture of wanting to rescue both it and himself, all of the characters' lives are shaken up and pushed forward.
We've made a feature film with a lot of wit, a lot of heart, and a little donkey. At its core, it's a story that anyone can relate to but has a specific focus on underrepresented voices both in front of and behind the camera. Like it on Facebook. Follow on Twitter.
The film was completely crowdfunded and community supported. Shot in Spring 2017, over 12 production days predominately on Long Island but with some scenes in Queens, NY, as well. About a Donkey on our blog, for news & updates.
"The film is about family and the individual struggles we each deal with. Through performances that are committed, especially the daughters, there’s a poignant tether that makes it a joy to start and heartwarming to finish. The movie provides a lens to our own vulnerabilities and capitalizes on the notion that happiness in any capacity should be sought. Even if that means getting a donkey." Kristy Strouse, Film Inquiry
“Donkey aside this is a great filmmaking and great story telling. Director Christina Raia has made a wonderful film that is highly recommended. She has also put herself on my directors to watch list.” - Steve Kopian, Unseen Films
“So while Raia and Rauber have crafted a film to entertain on its own merits, About a Donkey also possesses the potential to open your eyes and recognize you can overcome whatever roadblocks are in your way too. Love, family, and even strange pets have the ability to make you whole if you’re willing to be vulnerable enough to let them.” - Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage
Screenings & Awards
2019 Capital City Film Festival
2019 Queens World Film Festival
2019 Flathead Lake International Cinemafest (Top 5 Finalist: Audience Choice Award, Nominated for Best Picture and Best Female Actor)
2019 Cambria Film Festival
2018 Buffalo International Film Festival
2018 North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
2018 Austin Revolution Film Festival (Winner: Best Produced Screenplay, Nominated for Best Comedy Feature, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best LGBTQ Film)
2018 Adirondack Film Festival
2018 Georgia Film Festival
The screenplay for About a Donkey was originally written after a visit with screenwriter Kelsey Rauber’s dad resulted in him casually mentioning that he would like to own a donkey. That passing comment sparked the quirky and heartfelt idea that led to the film. The screenplay won the Grand Prize in the Comedy Division of the 2012 New York Screenplay Contest and was a Semi-Finalist of the 2013 LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival. The 2016 Blue Cat Screenplay Contest shared these comments about the final draft, "The themes of growing older, mid-life depression, and generally figuring out one's adult life were poignant and relatable. The idea of using a donkey bought on a whim is a novel, whimsical and interesting one, and adds to the dark comedic tone of the piece. The concept is unique and speaks to the various struggles of finding one's identity and purpose." I was attracted to the screenplay due to how it effortlessly tackled weighty issues through a comedic lens filled with characters that feel real and show growth as the story progresses. As I got in involved, I became excited by the prospect of getting to enhance more of the dramatic subtext under the story and establish an inclusive world that surrounds this family.
About a Donkey at its core is about compassion and growing towards acceptance. I hope this ensemble piece will bring audiences in and cause them to identify with characters who they may not otherwise. The film was largely shot with a look that balances reality and an inviting-warmth. Our mission is to show that love is love, people's lives and desires are relevant no matter their age, and struggling with depression is acceptable and normal. And sometimes just taking an action, even one as random as buying a donkey, is exactly what's needed to get your life going again.
We did not have any industry-known actors attached to our film, but did feature a cast of diverse and talented up-and-comers who are actively working in the independent film scene. Over half of our crew and two-thirds of our cast is made up of women. Over one-third of our cast & crew includes people of color; notably I, the director, am an ethnic minority. And one-third of our cast & crew includes LGBTQ identifying individuals; notably our writer is a lesbian. It’s important to us that people who truly reflect the diversity of this country be represented onscreen, and that those who identify in real life as that representation have a voice and agency in their portrayal. Through our storytelling and filmmaking, we aim to contribute to a more equitable, varied and nuanced portrayal of those often excluded or erased. -Christina Raia