Penny Foster

A young girl with OCD slowly realizes her single mother is having a rough day.

Creative team

Writer: America Michele Palacios
Director: Diane Carol Harder
Producer: Sarah Senior

Filmmaker’s statement

During spring 2017, Sarah Senior and I decided that I needed a new short film under my belt as a director (my previous film, e.e., was shot in 2009 while I was still in grad school, so it had been a while). Going a step further, I also decided I wanted to direct something I hadn’t written, so I solicited all my friends for any short film scripts they had lying dormant in their portfolios.

Originally titled Peter Foster and starring a boy in the lead role, the script is actually a scene from a full-length stage play that my friend America Michele Palacios wrote. America’s a very good writer and director herself: she got her MFA at Northwestern University with me, then went on to be a crew member at the Sundance Labs, an Austin Film Festival screenwriting competition finalist, and a quarter finalist in the Nicholl competition, so we immediately liked what we read – we just asked for one change, for the lead to be a girl. We thought it would make it more interesting to have this type of conflict between a young girl and her single mom, instead of a boy (we felt like we’d seen that before).

Since Sarah and I were also tight on cash, we tried to make the film for no money, so we were lucky to find our director of photography, Jordan Kennington, who is not only excellent at his craft, but also owns his own RED Scarlet camera, which meant we were able to shoot in 4K on a shoestring budget and still have it look amazing.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit to my amazing cast, especially our 10-year-old star Elisa Campanella who, although this is her narrative debut, has been acting in commercials since she was an infant and loves doing it more than you can imagine (she’s also auditioned for some very big blockbusters, so it won’t be long before she becomes the huge deal that she deserves to be!)

About Diane Carol Harder

Diane Carol Harder

Diane got her BA in film studies and literature/writing from Columbia University, and her MFA in writing for the screen and stage from Northwestern University.

While at Northwestern, she taught intro to screenwriting to undergraduate students, and spent part of her summer shadowing Richard J. Lewis while he directed an episode of C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation.

She has worked for festivals including Hot Docs and the Toronto International Film Festival, and has worked as a production assistant on TV shows Rookie Blue and Good Witch. She even worked briefly as Darren Lynn Bousman’s director’s assistant while he was in post-production on Saw IV.

She has read scripts for Focus Features, Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures, Little Magic Films, In Cahoots Entertainment, Intruder Films and Coverfly.

She taught screenwriting and directing at Wilfrid Laurier University for the fall 2017 term, and is now working as a franchise assets coordinator for Green Harvest (CBS).

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