It's okay to not be okay.

Project type: Narrative Short
Project status: Production
Co-Director: Brandi Nicole Payne
Co-Director: Jen West
Producer: Megan Messmer
Director of Photography: Barbie Leung
Production Designer: Dani Bea
Website: https://tinyurl.com/spinshortfilm
Help independent filmmakers tell their stories.
Make a donation to Spin today.

Film Independent’s Fiscal Sponsorship program opens the door to nonprofit funding for independent filmmakers and media artists. Donate today and help bring Spin to life.


While working at a birthday party, a cotton candy spinner’s mind starts playing tricks on her after an unexpected run-in.


Custom cotton candy cart owner Joy is a ray of sunshine as she works the birthday party of 5-year-old Delilah. A new business owner, she’s discovered spinning sugar sets her squarely in her element, bringing happiness to kids and adults alike, and this party is no different. Joy hits it off with both the birthday girl and her mom and as the party gets underway she’s feeling optimistic about this new business venture and the possibilities it holds.


As guests are led in a round of “Happy Birthday,” Joy locks eyes with someone she’d hoped she’d never see again, sending her mind into a tailspin. In the throes of a panic attack she’s forced to relive a deeply traumatic memory and has to navigate how to handle this run-in amidst the celebration.

Make a donation to Spin.

Meet the Filmmakers

Brandi Nicole Payne — Co-Director

The daughter of a juvenile detention officer mom and 2nd strike convicted felon dad led Brandi to writing characters that explore duality. While she started off as an actor, she fell in love with the storytelling process after writing & producing Muted, a short film about media discrepancy when a child of color goes missing, that was acquired by HBO, selected for the Ryan Murphy Half Initiative Program and to date has just under 150k views on YouTube via Issa Rae’s #ShortFilmSundays.

Brandi followed that up by writing & directing Aloha, a short film about a new mom dealing with an unexpected pregnancy complication. And she can’t wait to tackle her next short Spin, a psychological drama that explores the mindf*ck of the aftermath of rape.

Brandi is an HBO Writers Program alum, an Emergence Filmmaker Grant recipient and a proud member of RAINN’S Speakers Bureau. Her goal as a writer, filmmaker and actor is to use story to bring together community and facilitate healing.

Jen West — Co-Director

When Jen West isn’t traveling the country in her converted school bus, she’s immersed in creating films based on bold female characters, oftentimes from the Deep South. She is known for writing and directing short indie films like Piece of Cake, Crush, Bubble, Little Cabbage, and the St. Paul and the Broken Bones’ music video Call Me (over 1 million views). West also produced The New Orleans Sazerac and Bottomless, which were official selections of the 2016 Emerging Filmmaker Showcase in the American Pavilion as part of the Cannes Film Festival. She is the first filmmaker to have two projects accepted in the same year to the program. West was a Stowe Story Labs 2017 fellow with her feature screenplay Electric Bleau, of which was named a Finalist for the 2018 Park City Table Read My Screenplay competition. She directed the Cucalorus Film Festival’s annual commissioned Blue Velvet performance installation Bus to Lumberton in November of 2019. West was a Cucalorus creative resident in 2016.

Megan Messmer — Producer

Meg Messmer is an actress and producer drawn to mission based projects that raise awareness. Her first project as a producer was a NYC play written by Beau Willimon (House of Cards), Elizabeth Meriwether (New Girl), Pulitzer-prize winner Annie Baker, Sam Forman (Claws) and Billy Eichner (Difficult People). Megan teamed up with the Youth AIDS Foundation and all proceeds were donated. Megan has worked with Mandeville Films and Paramount Pictures before landing as a production manager for FremantleMedia where she oversaw 26 different shows simultaneously. She attended UCLA’s Producers Program and worked in management at Untitled Entertainment. Her most recent feature, Imprisoned, starring Laurence Fishburne was produced with Equitas Entertainment, a company focused on social justice and closing the gender pay gap. Megan worked closely with the director and cast, teaching acting workshops for prison inmates as a tool of anti-recidivism. Megan has also produced Lamb, a short film inspired by a side of the #MeToo movement that she personally experienced. Working with Life Out Loud Films, she was able to secure an all-female crew supporting women in front and behind the camera. Megan is based in Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Barbie Leung — Director of Photography

Barbie Leung is a New York based cinematographer focused on narrative film and a participant of AFI Conservatory’s 2019 CIW Workshop, a selective intensive for emerging cinematographers.

She recently completed principal photography on American Morning co-starring Emmy Award Winner Richard Schiff (The West Wing, Clemency). Other notable narrative shorts include Tell-By-Date (Outfest, Newfest 2019), and Slamdance Best Short Screenplay winner Crybaby, a one-take psychological horror that screened at Fantasia Film Festival 2017.

Although mainly interested in narrative work, Leung’s feature documentary Battlefield is a collaboration with Director Cynthia Lowen, whom she previously filmed with on the feature Netizens (Tribeca 2018).

Before moving into the role of cinematographer Leung worked as a grip & electrician and AC before joining the SOC (Society of Camera Operators) as an associate member in early 2019. Camera operating for DP Chayse Irvin (BlacKkKlansman, Lemonade), DP Zoë White (Westworld, The Handmaid’s Tale), and DP Alice Brooks (In The Heights, Tik Tik Boom) have been invaluable experiences, as was operating for Yamit Shimonovitz on the 2018 Sundance feature Half The Picture, which also played SXSW that same year.

Leung has DP’d content for Vice, Condé Nast, Quibi and various creative agencies in LA, NY, and ATL.

Dani Bea — Production Designer

Dani Bea is a logophile and gadfly who is a jill-of-all-trades and master of one: bringing a creative mind and fresh perspective to any project she undertakes. A graduate of UNC Charlotte with a degree in Africana Studies, her varied talents and wealth of experience in event production has led to her working in art and production design on multiple independent films. When Dani’s not busy making the world more beautiful one pixel at a time, she’s probably somewhere dancing.

Make a donation to Spin.


For inquiries, please contact fiscalsponsorship@filmindependent.org.