A drolly slice-of-life story about growing up and Italian motherhood.

Project type: Fiction Short
Project status: Post Production
Writer/Director/Producer: Maky Rupert
Producer: Kaela Francesca
Producer: Emmett Kowalski
Producer: Dominique Grund
Director of Photography: Lucia Rinaldi
Casting Director: Emily Rucker
Actor: Cristina Spina
Actor: Lexie Marie Foley
Composer: Will Paquin
Instagram: @makyrupert
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A coming-of-age dramedy set in 2003, following a young girl and her Italian mother living in Pleasantville, New York, a year after the death of their father and husband.


Susan lives a mundane, lonely life in suburban New York with her mother, grandmother and younger sister. It’s been over a year since her father died, and she’s been unable to cope. Her mother, Mary, isn’t much help at all. In fact they never really talk, unless it’s a lecture about the importance of finishing your peas (gross).

She spends her listless days going to school, dancing to her dad’s old rock and roll band and trying to connect with her mother in any way she can – who seems to do everything in her power to not let that happen. This cycle seems endless and uncontrollable… until things suddenly change when Mary brings a new man over to the house for the first time. Susan’s reaction is rash and explosive and utterly immature… but as the emotional dust settles, one thing becomes totally clear: if Susan ever wants to move on, the only person she can count on to make that happen is herself.

Meet the Filmmakers

Maky Rupert – Writer/Director/Producer
Originally from New Jersey, Maky first picked up a camera on a ski mountain in southern Vermont. He was not as good as his friends, so he decided to film them instead.

He went on to earn a dual degree in Economics and Film from the University of Michigan, where he wishes he spent more time making films and less time studying supply and demand.

After graduating, Maky migrated farther west to Los Angeles, first working as an assistant in the talent department at ICM Partners and then for Emmy-nominated producer Gavin Polone (Zombieland, Curb Your Enthusiasm). He currently works in development at Echo Lake Entertainment (The Great).

In 2021, Maky co-founded Monday Night Media, a full-service production company making branded and narrative films, music videos and commercials. His first short film, Talk to Me and I’ll Talk Back, played at multiple film festivals in the U.S, including the Mammoth Film Festival. It also picked up a nomination for best male performance at the Bridgeport Film Festival.

He wrote Peas as an ode to the Italian women in his family – his mother (who truly did hate peas), grandmother and great grandmother.

Kaela Francesca – Producer
Kaela Francesca (she/her) is a producer and performing artist from New York City. She is executive producer at Authorized Dealer Films, an independent film production company in Brooklyn. She actively freelances on films, commercials, new media, documentaries and music videos as producer, line producer, production manager or choreographer. In 2022 she produced six narrative short films that are set to premiere at festivals nationwide. She earned her bachelor’s of arts in Performing Arts for Social Justice at the University of San Francisco. Her professional background also includes over eight years of non-profit program direction and facilitation with a focus on the transformative power of art with young people and currently incarcerated community members. She is a classically trained dancer and actor who has performed on stages across the world.

Emmett Kowalski – Producer
Emmett Kowalski is a writer, director and producer.
In spring of 2020, production on Emmett’s first short film was canceled due to COVID-19. He graduated from University of Michigan with a double major in Political Science and Film, TV and Media. He was unemployed.

Four months later, he drove out to Los Angeles without much of a plan.

Since then, he has worked as a production assistant at Superprime Films, on multiple short film and commercial sets, and as an assistant at Creative Artists Agency. After leaving CAA, he began working as a director’s assistant for Anthony Mandler.

Emmett also co-founded the small independent production house MONDAY NIGHT MEDIA. There, he has written, directed and produced a variety of projects.

His debut feature, Call Time, is currently in development.

He enjoys Cormac McCarthy, road trips, and spicy food.

Dominique Grund – Producer
Dominique graduated from Chapman University where she studied Theatre and Broadcast Journalism. She worked for Joanne Roberts Wiles at ICM Partners for three years in both the literary and talent departments. She recently joined Black Bear in the management division.

Lucia Rinaldi – Director of Photography
Lucia (Lu chee a) is a Cinematographer based in LA and EU. She grew up in a small city in Italy where she studied still photography and film restoration. Her back-ground led her to motion-picture, where she found her footing in the camera department. She is an American Film Institute cinematography alumna (class 2019). She has been selected by BAFTA for their renown Newcomers program, as well as being a member of the Society of Camera Operators (SOC) and International Collective of Female Cinematographers (ICFC).

Lucia’s work is a combination of technical prowess, sensitivity and identity.

Emily Rucker – Casting Director
Emily Rucker is a casting professional based out of Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University and while in school she began her casting career by interning with casting directors Judy Henderson and Mark Saks as well as CBS Network. Currently she works as a Casting Assistant most often with Casting Directors Douglas Aibel and Stephanie Holbrook. Some of her recent credits include Season 3 of Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens, the Apple series Hello Tomorrow! starring Billy Crudup, Season 1 of Outer Range starring Josh Brolin, Ray Romano’s directorial debut Somewhere in Queens, The Sinner, So Cold the River as well as the upcoming HBO Max project B-Loved starring Peyton List and Michael Cimino. Some of her Casting Director credits include the short films Ana Wa Enti (Athena Film Festival, New Faces New Voices Film Festival, Toronto Arab Film Festival), It Might As Well Be Spring, My PTSD Will Never Win Best Picture, Daughter of Wands, Confetti, To Bright To See, FLOSS, I Have Love in Me, If I Die In America, and Backwash.

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