That White Horse Will Take Me Away

: Narrative Short
GENRE: Student Film
STATUS: Pre-Production


A young woman may be suffering from a manic episode, a man may have stolen something that did not belong to him, an act of violence may occur, everything is in disorder.


Juliette discovers that a funeral director has stolen something from her brother’s body. After an attempt to expose him her claims are put into doubt due to her history of mental illness. She decides her only recourse for vindication is to confront the man, unphased by the looming threat of violence.


This is my most ambitious project to date, and I am incredibly excited to begin production in late April. This film is being made as an assignment for my Advanced Narrative Workshop course at NYU, taught by Professor Alrick Brown, and will serve as my senior thesis. I am thankful to have a wonderful team supporting me in this endeavor.

The aim of this project is to make a horror film that is devoid of violence. By creating an effective tone and atmosphere early on, and working closely with my composer Jackie Andresen in production, the viewer will anticipate a violent climactic moment between the characters of Juliette and Walter. Instead, the two characters part ways peacefully. The viewer will have to confront their own preconceived notions and/or desire for violence.

While remaining an engaging horror film, this project will also be an exploration of mental illness, and a commentary on the demonization in popular film and media of those who suffer from severe mental illness. Growing up, my older brother Greg was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He would have manic episodes where he became delusional, and as an eight-year-old I found this difficult to process, to differentiate between his tormented thought and my reality. I often found myself wishing that he was right when he spoke about his delusions, because I saw how crushed he was knowing that, what seemed absolutely true to him, was heartbreaking and false to everyone else around him. He took his own life just before his 21st birthday. This film, and all of my work, serves as an ode to him. 

The character of Juliette is an amalgamation of myself and my brother Greg, while the character of Juliette’s Mother, Mary, is a combination of both of my parents. Juliette has a history of mental illness, and when confronted with what seems to be a delusion, wants more than anything to believe that she is right, that she is sane. The heart of the story lies in the relationship between Juliette and Mary, this inability to connect, because of loss, but the yearning for a mutual understanding. I hope that this film will ignite the viewer to confront their own notions pertaining to mental illness, as well as their relationship with mental illness depicted in the media they consume.


Megan Higley - Producer

Megan is a senior at NYU majoring in drama and minoring in producing. She has an extensive amount of experience on student film sets, as well as two features. She has interned for Oscar Isaac's company Mad Gene Media and Kelly Ripa's company Milojo Productions as well as Women Make Movies.

Christian Marchesi - Producer

Christian is a senior at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. He studies business and marketing. He also has extensive experience as an actor.

Clint Pang - Cinematographer

Clint is a senior in the NYU film program. He has worked as the Director of Photography on countless sets, as well as in the camera department on a number of independent feature films.

Chris Martinez - Assistant Director

Chris is a junior in the NYU film program with a focus on writing and directing. He has worked as an AD on a number of films, including Spencer's film Aphasia.

Michael Perrone - Producer

Michael is a filmmaker and producer from Dallas, Texas. He is a senior in the NYU film program. He recently wrapped up shooting his thesis film "Private Lessons". Michael is beginning production this summer on his debut feature film Child of Woe. 

Jackie Andresen - Composer

Jackie is a composer and multi-instrumentalist from Los Angeles, California. Classically trained in violin, she is now in her final year studying Music Theory and Composition with a concentration in Screen Scoring at NYU. 

She has written music for several short films in both NYU’s Tisch School and USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. She completed a mentorship under film composer Michael A. Levine, and later assisted composer Catherine Joy. She has worked as an orchestrator and copyist on projects such as The L Word: The Musical (2022), HBO’s The Edge of the Earth (2022), and The Woman King (2022).

Jackie was a recipient of the NYU Steinhardt Undergraduate Student Research and Creative Project grant to pursue the production of an extended string technique-based sample library. She has been featured on MPATH’s album of Phenomenal Women Composers Vol. 13, and is currently composing music for her first documentary feature Ninety Minutes Later, directed by Cyndy Fujikawa. Jackie was awarded the NYU Orchestra Residency, her piece Derivation will premiere in late April of 2023.

Katie Housley - Cast - "Juliette"

Katie is a Canadian stage and screen actress based in New York City. Her films have premiered at various festivals in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and India. She has performed in theaters throughout Toronto and New York and has toured nationally across the U.S. As a playwright, her work has been produced in both Toronto and New York. She is a graduate of the Toronto performing arts high school, Etobicoke School of the Arts, the University of Toronto, and received her formal training at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting's conservatory program.

Spencer Hillman - Writer/Director

Spencer is a filmmaker and production designer. He is a senior in the Film & Television program at NYU. "That White Horse Will Take Me Away" is his thesis project, and his final film made while at NYU. 

Cleo Blackketter - Production Designer

Cleo is a designer, actor, and director based in New York City. She graduated from NYU Tisch with a BFA in Theatre, having studied at Playwrights Horizons Theatre School, Atlantic Acting School, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. 

Ronit Asheri - Cast - "Mary"

Ronit is an actress and singer with an extensive background in theatre and television. She attended the Beit-Zvi School Of The Performing Arts in Israel. She played Malka Schwarts in the acclaimed Netflix series Unorthodox and will be appearing in the upcoming Netflix series Transatlantic

Gordon Rothman - Cast - "Walter"


Connect With The Filmmakers:

Raised To Date $6,991
Make a Contribution
It's tax deductible!
17 Donors have supported this film


The Gotham Film & Media Institute - Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2024


Help promote my fundraising campaign
Put our donation widget on your website

Get Widget Code



The Gotham Logo


© 2024 The Gotham. All Rights Reserved.
   Design by Andrew Martin

The Gotham Film & Media Institute is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding, developing and celebrating the people and projects that shape the future of story.

Learn more about us or become a member