Indie Shorts Awards Cannes

We make offbeat comedies with a heart. We tell stories that explore the gloomy side of the human experience through an optimistic lens. Finding the funny in the dark is what we are all about. We create films that center women and non-binary protagonists through a queer lens and we feel strongly about our cast and crew representing those voices behind the screen too. We want to ask big questions about the systems in place in our society and explore the effect of patriarchy and capitalism. We want our audience to feel challenged in their thinking but pleasure in their experience.

Haley Erickson and Taylor Washington

Haley Alea Erickson is a queer award-winning writer, director, and comedy performer. She is
currently living in Melbourne, Australia where she is a filmmaker and screenwriting teacher at
the Victorian College of Arts. Haley was named a “rising star” in Voyage Magazine in 2023.
Haley was the co-host of the iconic, long-running comedy show “Good Fight” at Fallout
Theater in Austin, TX, performed at the “OOB 2019 Just For Laughs” showcase, and is a
current member of “The Remix” at the Improv Conspiracy in Melbourne. She acted in
MUSTANG ISLAND with Macon Blair, and received a Drive-In Academy Award from Joe Bob
Briggs for her performance in SCARE PACKAGE. Her film, “It’s Compligayted” won “best
comedy narrative” at the Moment Invite Film Festival in 2021. Haley was a writer for the beloved podcast, HUMANS GROWING STUFF, nominated for a Webby, a Shorty, and winner at iHeart Radio’s Podcast Awards.. She has been a finalist in the FinalDraft Big Break competition, the Creative Screenwriting Unique Voices competition, the ScreenCraft film fund, and the Sundance Development track. Her feature film "Call Me Mommy" was trending on the Black List last year.
Taylor Washington is an award-winning director and cinematographer based in Brooklyn, New
York. Hailing from Austin, TX, Taylor comes from a music video background where he has
directed 50+ videos across the United States for artists like Marian Hill, Cautious Clay and Of
Montreal. In the commercial world, he's directed for clients ranging from Canon, Chase and
Southwest Airlines to Netflix, Amazon and Apple TV. His ‘Where is Jimmy’ spot for the
Irishman was selected for SHOOT’s New Director Showcase in 2020 and an Official Selection
for the Shiny Awards in 2023. Taylor's appetite for travel has always directly influenced his work - currently he’s directing a feature documentary, Modern Tlingit Warriors, following Alaska Native Veterans and how they used their culture to heal through their shared trauma from war. Taylor is a co-founder of Pan
Up Productions, a full-service content production company based in New York. Most recently
they created campaigns for The Met Museum Canon and Broadway plays ‘A Doll’s House’ and
‘Tina Turner the Musical.’
The director duo met 7 years ago while filming interviews of drunk people at a SZA concert
for money. Since that fateful day, they have gone on to make 3 short films, commercials, and
a pilot. They specialize in genre-blending offbeat comedy with a heart. Their short film "Call
Me Mommy" premiered at SXSW 2023 where it was nominated for a grand jury award and went on to win “Best Comedy” at Academy Award Qualifying Hollyshorts, “Best Comedy Short” at Cannes Indie Shorts Awards and garner awards for “Best Screenplay” and “Best Production Design” at Mirada Corta Film Festival in Mexico City.

What inspired you to make a short film about a pedantic mother-to-be who hires a stranger to play her unborn daughter?
We have always been drawn to ideas that look at the anxiety that comes with being a person..and the funny ways we try to make sense of it. “Call Me Mommy” came to me at a time when I was beginning to question the idea of having kids myself. When I was young it seemed like having children was obvious. Evolutionary. Something that would just happen and I would be great at it. Like walking or eating. My teeth would grow in and I would naturally know how to chew. The older I get the more I panic. Don’t you need a licence to do this? A degree? How can you avoid “messing things up”? It is an exploration of the optimization of motherhood. Which, as you can see in the movie, is a ridiculous notion.
I really liked the fact that you chose to portray the different stages of the girl's life through key, significant moments in each of these periods, which by the way, are very well chosen! Do you have a funny anecdote from the shoot to share with us?
Thank you! We had so much fun traversing the different stages of childhood through the variety of vignettes. One of our favorite moments was the choreographed social media dance routine. Our amazing costume designer, Stephanie Messina, had a few different pairs of hip and trendy sunglasses around on a table in our dressing room area. Before we went down to shoot the dance sequence – Lee Eddy (who plays the Mother) picked up the pair you see in the movie, put them on, and turned to us to say “I feel like she would wear these for this”. And we are so happy she did – that is a small example of all of the ways Lee brought specificity to that character and really evolved what was on the page into the incredible performance you see today. She’s the best.
Were there any particular scenes or technical challenges encountered during production, especially scenes involving the role-playing concept, that stood out?
Likely our biggest hurdle was time. We had to film the entire short in two 10-hour days due to budget and scheduling conflicts. As far as scenes, shooting in the bathtub was so much fun but brought some additional challenges. We needed to keep the bubbles at the same level throughout – which proved to be difficult as time went on. We were in great hands though, our art team led by Production Designer, Vanessa Pla (who has won an award for her work on our film) kept those bubbles bubblin’ !