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Pruning: A Short Film

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About the Project

"Pruning" is a short film co-created by Anto Astudillo and Kelley Van Dilla. As we deepen our friendship, we've discovered wonderful synchronicities in our lived experiences as trans and queer filmmakers, and we decided we wanted to create something together!

The film follows Polo in their day-to-day life while they navigate medically transitioning, looking for work, and living alone in a lonely city. Though they find caring for plants easier than caring for themselves, an elder wise woman, Tia Silvia, constantly checks in on them and helps them on their journey.

Every night Polo has the same dream: that they're slowly turning into a being made of plants.

About the Cast & Crew

Anto Astudillo - they/them (writer / director / producer / "Polo")

Anto is a nonbinary filmmaker, curator and performance artist. Anto works with 16mm film and video to create visual portraits of personal and intimate themes. Their work navigates the in-between, hybridity and the undefined exploring internal reflexive dialogs, anthropological observations and the psychophysical. "To identify as a queer, trans, dyke artist gives me a polyphonic political voice through which I break traditions and conventions to create a hybrid cinema. My art is tightly connected to the spiritual realm, and I follow paganism as a fluid non-patriarchal belief system that spreads through the patterns of my worldview"

Anto's Website, find them on Instagram: @antopoiesis

Kelley Van Dilla - she/they (writer / director / producer / "Anais")

Kelley Van Dilla is a NYC-based non-binary trans theatre and film director and writer who is passionate about self-expressive and reflective work, often centered around their gender identity, sexuality, and experience with a mother who has bipolar disorder. They recently explored the collision of their identities with the world premiere of their autobiographical hybrid feature film/play, LET GO OF ME, at Live Arts Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia (March 2021) and is currently in pre-production on their next feature film, CLIO: a positive transgender romance. Their autobiographical short films, B3d 0f R0s3s and LET GO, MOTHER, premiered at Cucalorus film festival. Other projects include AMERICAN RUST with Showtime, HIGH MAINTENANCE with HBO, and she is a frequent collaborator with Chekhov at Lake Lucille. She loves painting, photography, and travel; she has walked the 1,200km O'Henro Buddhist Pilgrimage to 88 Temples on the island, Shikoku, in Japan. Kelley uses they/them/their and she/her/hers pronouns.

Silvia Fernández-Stein - she/her (guest Artist to play herself in the film)

Silvia Fernández-Stein (Santiago, Chile, 1951). In 1962 Silvia was one of thirty students to receive a scholarship to study art at the Experimental School of Art in Santiago.
In 1970 she began formal art studies at the School of Fine Arts, University of Chile. She participated in the student movement, “Art for Everyone”, which produced murals and art exhibitions for neighborhood groups and labor unions. Ms. Fernández- Stein specialized in public ornamentation because she believed that public art should portray the life of the common people and not solely the achievements of the elite.

In June 1995 she received the “Hispanic Community Awards of Fairfield County” given by “Our Lady of Monserrat Church.” In 1998, Ms. Fernández-Stein received the Stamford Public Schools Multi-Cultural Council Award. She also received an award in 1998, from Liberation Programs for her community work.
Silvia’s Arpillera (weaving) art is currently a part of the Museo de la Memoria (Memory Museum of Chile) permanent collection.

Annie Temmink - she/her (production designer / plant queen)

Annie is a unique explorer of unimagined worlds, inspired by ancient textiles, dance, and performance.
She is a recipient of the prestigious Watson Fellowship, where she was fortunate to study traditional textile fabrication and dying. During this time, she worked and developed her skills with Master Craftspeople in Indonesia, Japan, India, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, and Turkey.

In 2017, Annie was awarded the Best New Entrant Award at the World of Wearable Art in Wellington, New Zealand. In addition, Her work was featured at the Innovative Costumes of the 21st Century: The Next Generation exhibit at A.A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum in Moscow, Russia.
Her costumes, headwear, and constructed accessories have been featured on stage at the Crucible in Oakland, California and on the cover of Whurk magazine based in Richmond, Virginia.

Annie is currently the Associate Technical Director at Live Arts Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is dedicated to her craft, as she followed her fascination with structure, scaffold, and pattern through a BA in sculpture and math from Davidson College. Find her on Instagram @annietemmink

Claudia Carrasco - she/her (Producer)

Claudia Carrasco (Cuba, 1991) is a Chilean-Cuban independent producer. She studied Social Communication with a minor in Marketing at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and completed a diploma in Film and TV at Yellowbrick, NYU.

Claudia intends to use her knowledge in advertising and marketing to promote the work of women and the LGTBQ+ community in the audiovisual industry since at present, it is necessary to encourage the telling of stories with a vision other than the patriarchal one.

Claudia has worked as a producer in numerous independent productions both in Chile and in the United States.

Ned C. Gaynor - they/them (Camera / DP)

Ned C. Gaynor (they/them) is a multidisciplinary artist predominantly working in film and theatre. They received their BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design before relocating to New York City. Their work aims to uphold and amplify marginalized identities, specifically within the queer community. Previous credits include: Way Down (Dir. Ellie Gravitte), Remember the Ribbon (BC/EFA), ANTfest (Ars Nova), Montag (Soho Repertory), Curtain Up (Playbill), Glimmer of Light (Playbill), and KATE (Connelly Theatre).

Guadalupe (Lupe) Campos - they/he (pre-production and storyboarding)

Guadalupe Campos is a non-binary trans multidisciplinary visual artist from Chicago currently based in Boston.
They predominantly work with drawing, hair as sculpture, and video. Their practice seeks to represent queer and trans experiences outside of the act of defining and identifying and instead through the community’s relationships with one another. Through defining queerness and transness we bind this fluid community to the rules and judgments of heteronormativity and colonialism.

"Pruning" Production Crew:

  • Directors-Writers: Kelley Van Dilla (she/they) and Anto Astudillo (they/them)
  • Costume sculptor & Special effects artist: Annie Temmink (she/her)
  • Production Coordinator / Producer: Claudia Carrasco (she/her)
  • Camera-DP: Ned Gaynor (they/them)
  • 2nd Camera and AC: Ashika Kuruvilla (they/them)
  • Make-up Artist: Julia Morgan Fox (she/her)
  • Sound & Boom Op: Iman "King" Carter (they/them)
  • Lighting & grip: Vander (he/him)
  • Pre-production coordinator and storyboard: Lupe Campos (they/them)
  • PA & BTS: Ari Smith (they/them)
  • PA & Kraft Services: Kendall Burger (she/her)

“Pruning” Cast:
  • Anto Astudillo (they/them)
  • Silvia Fernandez-Stein (she/her)
  • Kelley Van Dilla (she/they)
  • Mecha (she/her)

About the Budget

$12,000 Budget

This represents the minimum we need to make this film happen!

Total Raised So Far:

$4,677 - raised as of May 29th, 2023

This was used for the production of Pruning, which was filmed over 5 days in September and October, 2022. Because of donations from 59 incredible individuals, we were able to fairly compensate our crew, rent equipment, feed our crew, and pay for travel!

Amount We Need to Raise: $7,323

This is the minimum we need to complete post production and share the film! The amounts listed below are how we will use the funds.

Please know that this is the minimum, each of our artistic collaborators deserves to be paid much more. It’s deeply important to us that everyone who works on this film is compensated in one way or another, and it’s our dream to pay everyone a living wage if possible!

We’d LOVE to raise even more to be able to pay our fellow artists what they truly deserve!

$5,000 - Post Production
  • $1,000 - Editor
  • $1,000 - Colorist
  • $1,000 - Composer
  • $1,000 - Sound Mixer
  • $1,000 - Distribution (digital mastering, DCP, festival submissions)

Additionally, as the creators of this project (writing, directing, producing), we haven’t paid ourselves. We also need money to pay rent, eat, etc.!

This amount will help sustain us as artists. It’s a minimal stipend given how many hours we’ve each put into this, but after all, this is our passion project!

$1,000 - Anto
$1,000 - Kelley

During production, we did go a little out of pocket, and would like to reimburse ourselves:

Thank you so much for considering supporting our project.

Anto Astudillo and Kelley Van Dilla



  • Louisa Bennitt
    • $100 
    • 6 mos
  • Kesler Roberts
    • $50 
    • 6 mos
  • yen sen
    • $15 
    • 7 mos
  • Cyrille Phipps
    • $70 
    • 11 mos
  • Shavon Lindley
    • $100 
    • 11 mos


Kelley Van Dilla
Brooklyn, NY

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