A fantasy takes place in a city frozen in time.

For all of you who have an estranged family member that you don't know how to talk to.

Three Seasons - Temple University MFA Thesis A Project of Shorts

Freya comes to Cloudville in search of her estranged cousin, only to discover that she is the only person awake in a town that is frozen in time.


Freya comes to Cloudville in search of her estranged cousin Elliot, only to discover that she is the only one awake in a town that is frozen in time. The rule of time and season is different in Cloudville. In the current season, her cousin succumbs to random bouts of narcolepsy.

To Freya, Elliot feels not much different from a stranger except their partially shared ancestry, a piece of knowledge that was passed down from parents and testified by an old photograph .

When Elliot manages to fight off the seasonal slumber, he and Freya struggle to connect, while Freya hides a family secret regarding Elliot's mom who disappeared from Cloudville in disgrace.

Inspired by ancient Chinese story of Confucius and the "three season man", Three Seasons is set in a fantasy world where different cities have different rules of seasons and time. Depending on where they are from, people in this world experience time and the flow of a year differently. This physical boundary sometimes increases difficulties for cross time-zone communication, yet also could become a strong force that creates collective recognition of selves among individuals.

Freya and Elliot, the two protagonists of the film, struggle in search of an unfamiliar sense of kinship in the strange flow of time. Will they be able to restore the ill maintained cousinhood despite their physical and cultural differences?

The issues the film addresses are important, as urban environment, growing technologies and our enhanced mobility have created new forms of relationships where the biological and the emotional are often separated from one another. Three Seasons invites viewers to look inwardly at their own relationship with families.

The Old Photograph

Elliot visited Piyan one time when he's extremely young. Laura took him. That's when this picture was taken. They played together. Freya stuck a carrot into Elliot's nostril. He screamed and scratched Freya's face. The adults were horrified. Dad was mad. Later they were bathing together, looks like nothing just happened. In fact, neither Freya nor Elliot remember any of this.

Cloudville, Elliot's House and the Look of the Film

As the center stage of the story, Cloudville is a fantasy town where a year only has one rain season and one cloud season. Paralleled with our world, Cloudville has a historical but timeless look.

We are going to construct the Cloudville exterior you will be seeing on screen in Center City Philadelphia, suburb Philadelphia and "Switzerland of America" Jim Thorpe, PA. For the interior, we found a beautiful 187-year-old historical home in Philly currently in the process of renovation. The home owner is extremely kind to us and willing to let us borrow his place to temporarily turn it into Elliot's house through rigorous set dressing.

We will also be designing and manufacturing our own costumes for Freya, Elliot and all the towns people, to make sure that we bring you the most "authentic" experience.

Your Donation

The fund we can raise will determine the scope of the world we can create. We have an ambitious blue print, but will need your help to turn it into reality.

Most of your donation will go to the art department: set dressing, props, fixing holes on the floor (yes, the 187-year-old house has 4 holes on the floor and we have to fix them before going into production), buying fabric and sewing materials, make-ups -- we are building up a fantasy world on a blank canvas so could use all the help we can find.

Your donation will also help feeding the cast and crew. Everyone so far has agreed to work on this project for free, and we would like to at least be able to provide them healthy and nutritious food. Your donation will also help with transportation of people and equipment, from Philly to Jim Thorpe. It will also help with paying for accommodations.

We have to empty some streets and turn off street lamps (in Center City Philadelphia? Maybe!), and your donation will help us getting those permits (they are expensive!).

The post production cost for Three Seasons includes color correcting, CGI and SFX. We have secured a wonderful musician who is willing to compose for the film for free, but it still costs to get the final sound track properly mixed and mastered.

Tax Deduction

Our short film has 501(c)3 status thanks to our fiscal sponsorship through From The Heart Productions (Oxnard, California). Any dollar amount that you donate can be used as a 1:1, 100% tax deductible dollar donation. Although From the Heart will take a 7% service charge, the rest of the dollar amount will reach our production. From the Heart will provide a receipt which you can then use under the itemized deductions in the donations portion of your taxes. You can then use the 100% tax deductible amount to adjust your gross income.


We appreciate your contribution at any amount. Everyone who donates will receive:

1) special thanks at the film's end
2) social media shout out
3) a link to finished film
4) monthly email newsletters and production stills
5) links to behind the scenes footage
6) tax deduction

Besides that:

$30 or more: A digital copy of the film; a postcard with special thank you notes, signed by the director and the actors, mailed to you via USPS, postmarked from Philadelphia or Jim Thorpe PA.

$55 or more: A digital copy of the film, a silicone wrist band with the director's hand drawing design.

$90 or more: A digital copy of the film, a wrist band and a canvas tote bag with the director's hand drawing design.

$150 or more: A digital copy of the film, a wrist band and a canvas tote bag with the director's hand drawing design, filled with a hardcopy of script signed by the director and producers plus a refrigerator magnet.

$250 or more: A digital copy of the film, a wrist band, a canvas tote bag, a script, a magnet plus an invitation to visit our film set at the 187-year-old historical house (once it was a drug store) in center city Philadelphia.

$450 or more (limit to the first 10 people): A digital copy of the film, a wrist band, a tote bag, plus a caped, long canvas black raincoat costume that is designed and made for the film. In the film, it is used as Cloudville resident's spiritual dress. We can sew your initials on one sleeve and make it specially yours after we finished all the shooting. It will be fun to wear out on the street, especially on Halloween Day! You also have the option to be one of our extras, to act as a Cloudville resident in the film (no lines).

$750 or more: A digital copy of the film, a wrist band, a tote bag, a script, an Executive producer credit, a secret prop (antique object from the production design team) from the film, an invitation to our wrap party and a sourdough bread homemade by the director.

$900 or more (limited to 3): A digital copy of the film, a tote bag, a script, an Executive producer credit, a secret prop from the film, an invitation to our wrap party, plus one of Freya's costume (handmade, hand dyed with embroidery by our talented costume designer.

Who We Are?

Mengxi Rao "Althea"

Mengxi (Althea) is a Chinese media artist and filmmaker. Her works explores different innovative ways of expressions: cross media, cross platform cross culture, cross genre … but the themes always point back at some of the most human emotions, and the forms are always interactive. She was one of the six Flaherty Film Seminar Fellows of Philadelphia in 2016. Her interactive performance Touch: the Dance debuted at the Fleisher Art Memorial last year and was invited to participate in Prague Dance Hackathon. Her most recent media sculpture Blindfold is exhibited at Abington Art Center. Her films has screened at festivals in the US, Germany and Spain as well as local Philadelphia theaters. She is also the lead vocal of experimental music band "Prayer Circles" and has played shows in Beijing.

Jonathan Marlow
Advisory Producer

Jonathan Marlow is a curator, composer, producer and occasional cinematographer with a handful of award-winning films to his credit. In the two decades prior to his role at Fandor, Marlow was affiliated with numerous film festivals and non-profit film institutions. His background with technology-centric film distribution companies (notably Amazon, VUDU and others) has made him a frequent guest at events around the world to discuss issues relevant to a rapidly changing industry. Marlow is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Flaherty Film Seminar in New York and the Board of Directors of Northwest Film Forum in Seattle. In addition to his articles and interviews for Keyframe and other publications, he is known to host infrequent screenings throughout the world showcasing remarkable films that are generally unavailable elsewhere.

Shane Daniel Scott

Shane Daniel Scott is an independent filmmaker without a home. While he hails from Denver, Colorado he feels equally at peace on a Hong Kong ferry or anywhere else his body allows him to rest. In this exact order, he is interested in directing, screenwriting, cinematography, and editing. His work, while art-house by nature, is informed as much by contemplative cinema as it is by genre film. Shane hopes to make a career of this film business or instead open a food truck.

Eve Siconolfi
Line Producer

Eve Siconolfi is a Philadelphia-based photographer, filmmaker, and fine artist. She is currently studying at Temple University to earn a B.A. in Film and Media Arts. She aspires to a career in documentary film, with a focus in raising awareness on social injustice. Eve comes from a fine art background, and her work reflects formal study of the masters, composition, and color theory. Her work combines an editorial with the effects of light to comment on the nature of perpetuity, the structure of time, and the concept of mundaneness.

Adam Diller
Director of Photography

Adam Diller's work explores the aesthetics of human and non-human environments through a practice informed by phonography, sensory ethnography, landscape film, and experimental narrative film. He has exhibited and performed in venues throughout the U.S. and abroad and in festivals such as Montreal Underground Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, Light Industries, Sonar (Barcelona), Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Seattle Improvised Music Festival, Earshot Jazz Festival, and NW New Works. He has received grants from the City of Seattle, Jack Straw Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Meet the Composer, 4Culture, Washington Composers' Forum, and residencies from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Saltonstall Foundation.

Enrica Ferrero
Production Designer

Enrica Ferrero is currently completing an MFA in Fiber & Material Studies at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She is the recipient of a Temple University Fellowship, and has a BA in Fine Art and Art History from Barnard College, Columbia University. Her work focuses on the intersection between labor and value. She often works with discarded materials, and then transforms them into sites of production for social critique. Prior to attending Tyler, Enrica worked as a set designer for the New Orleans Contemporary Art Center's production of "The Fantastic Mister Fox." She worked in the Art Department for the feature length film "To Whom it May Concern," as the on-set dresser for the feature length film "Addiction: A 60s Love Story," and as a wardrobe assistant on the short "Snowy Day."

$2,719 Raised
27% towards $9,900 Goal

Supported by 16 Donations:

  • Rui W.
  • Stephanie R.
    I Gave $55
    Saw you all filming in the 187 year old house. So cool! Googled your project and now I'm intrigued. Good luck!
  • Zigang C.
    I Gave $1,000
  • Gary E.
    Happy to help my niece Samantha.
  • Sarah D.
    I Gave $30
    I am eagerly looking forward to the realization of this project! Bravo to Mengxi, Sam and the cast and crew!
  • Yicheng  X.
    I Gave $30
    梦溪,祝你离梦想越来越近!KNE Yicheng Xue
  • Zhong Z.
    I Gave $50
  • Enbo Z.
    I Gave $55
  • Martha L.
    I Gave $55
    Can't wait to see it!
  • Ping F.
    I Gave $45
    Carry on, will be there!
  • Silhouette
    I Gave $54
    This number symbolizes good luck! :)
    I Gave $90
  • Dan  S.
    I Gave $10