Happy Birthday Charlie

We will save each other.

Project type: Fiction Feature
Project status: Development
Director/Producer/Writer: Nina Martinek
Writer/Producer: Boris Frumin
Composer: Daniel Schnyder
Email: martineknz@gmail.com
Website: www.happybirthdaycharlie.com
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A road trip drama about a mom who tries to do right by her daughter, but winds up doing everything wrong…


June and her teenage daughter Charlie live in a trailer in a small town in New Mexico. June works as a nurse at the local aged care facility. She deals with a gambling boyfriend, an unreliable car, and a growing dependence on opiates. Charlie has fallen for a local boy, José, who gives her driving lessons and teaches her how to shoot a handgun.

When June is caught stealing medication from her patients, she must escape town. There is hope of a safe haven in Talusa, Texas. June and a reluctant Charlie pack up their belongings and hit the road. The stakes are raised – the car keeps breaking down and June’s desperation for drugs propels them into dangerous situations.

June is a religious woman. Her inability to resist drugs and transactional sex fuel her sense of shame and guilt. She pulls Charlie into her vortex of self-destruction. But Charlie remains loyal to her mother. As the drug addiction spirals out of control, June begins to perceive her daughter as a hindrance. She ditches Charlie on the side of a road in the middle of the desert. Her maligned logic says that she left her to “God’s mercy”.

Charlie hitchhikes into Texas. After a series of experiences, she finds June in a family-run brothel filled with shady characters. It is then and there that June realizes the perilous situation into which she has drawn her daughter. June sees that Charlie could become just like her.

In a desperate attempt to save her daughter, June commits her last crime.

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Meet the Filmmakers

Nina Martinek — Director/Producer/Writer

Nina Martinek is a filmmaker, originally from Australia. Nina is an alumna of the MFA writer/director program NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She has worked in extensively Africa as a video journalist and videographer for UNICEF and later for Reuters and the New York Times. Her short films The Dock and Pulpville have been screened at festivals around the world, including Sundance, Edinburgh, Mannheim/Heidelberg and Brooklyn International.

Boris Frumin – Writer/Producer

Boris Frumin – is an acclaimed writer/director/producer. He directed many noteworthy feature films, including the The Errors of Youth (“Oshibki Yunosti”) which was part of Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Festival in 1989. Frumin taught film directing at the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts of NYU. His students include world-renowned directors – Debra Garnik, Levan Koguashvili, Gianfranko Rosi, Cary Fukunaga, Bennet Miller, Kirill Mikhanovski, Vince Gilligan, Eli Roth, Joel Hopkins, Teona Mitevska, Gaston Solnicki. Boris works as a screenwriter and consultant.

Daniel Schnyder – Composer

Daniel Schnyder is a Swiss/American composer born in Zurich, Switzerland and living in New York City. Among his credits as a composer are commissions to write new works for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New York, the Tonkuenstler Orchestra in Vienna, the Radio Symphony Orchestra in Berlin, The Norrlands Operan in Sweden, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Vienna Art Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Opera of Bern, the NDR Orchestra in Hannover, the NDR Big Band in Germany, the New York based new music group “Absolute Ensemble” and the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic,

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