• A Film by Shira Levin


  • Starfish

    The film

    What is Starfish?

    This is a female driven independent film about grief, healing, family, love, and the strong bond between dogs and humans.

    STORY: Lily, a librarian and artist in a small seaside town, is struggling with intense feelings of grief over the recent death of her dog, and of her father three years earlier. Unexpectedly, her estranged sister calls to ask Lily to watch her teenage daughter for a couple of weeks. She won't say why.


    This sets in motion a turn of events, including an unavoidable confrontation between the sisters, the loss of a close friend, a bond between niece and aunt, a hint of love, and the stirring up of many emotions that require Lily to open her heart and re-engage with life.


    With humor and poignancy, this universal story is told against a backdrop of water, plants and animals, which highlights the interconnected aspects of loss, healing and the cycle of life.


    INSPIRATION FOR STORY: An inspiration for this film was my love for my dogs Boo and Tyler (a rescue), and the intense grief I experienced after Tyler's death. The loss of loved ones - humans or animals - is what we all experience at some point in our lives. This story explores the often-ignored emotions related to grief and the process of healing. It also addresses the importance of connection and relationships, the conflicts and joys inherent to both.


    I am personally drawn to stories that reflect the human experience, large or small. In a world that appears to be increasingly hostile, disconnected and fearful, I believe stories that appeal to our innate humanity are essential.

    What do we need?

    This is an ultra, ultra low budget film which we made for bare bones minimum. No added frills. Nothing extra. Now we are in post-production. We need more funds to help complete the film, i.e. for sound mix, color correction, music, editing, public relations etc.

    All money raised goes directly to Starfish Films, Inc. Our contributors and donators are the lifeline of this project. Without your support, the film cannot be completed. Call us crazy or call us passionate, but all of us involved in the production are committed to the project and willing to do it as simply as possible.

    What after? 

    We'll submit the completed film to the most suitable film festivals and focus on getting distribution. It costs money to submit to festivals and to hire the right people to help us.

    Nowadays there are many venues for independent films. Our hope is that this film will be good enough to attract a large audience of enthusiastic indie film lovers and dog/animal lovers.

  • Who We Are

    Meet the team

    Shira Levin

    Writer / Director

    Shira is a native New Yorker. Originally an actress, she segued into

    writing screenplays. Her first script, an adaptation of Anne Tyler’s first novel,

    If Morning Ever Comes,” was later optioned and developed by American Playhouse. Another adaptation, a novella of “Lipstick on the Host,” by Irish author Aidan Mathews, was optioned and put into development by World 2000.


    For six years, Shira was Director of Development for Martin Scorsese's company, Cappa Productions. During that time Shira was Script Consultant and Associate Producer on two feature films: "Brides" (Dir. Pantelis Voulgaris, w/Damian Lewis, Executive Producer Martin Scorsese) and "Deuces Wild" (MGM/UA). Prior to that, Shira worked at Universal Pictures (NY) for two years as assistant to the VP Production and managed the story department.


    In 2012, Shira wrote and directed her first short film, LAST DAY. This turned out to be the first of a trilogy, which includes OLD JUNK (2013) and UPSIDE DOWN (2014). Her other short films are UPROOTED (2014) and WALKIN' (2014).

    STARFISH is her first feature film.

    Caroline Mariko Stucky

    Director of Photography

    Caroline Mariko Stucky is an award winning independent filmmaker

    with a fierce passion for American culture. For Caroline, film, the world of the image,

    is the ultimate language that trumps the whirling kaleidoscope of spoken

    languages of her childhood.


    Her work as a Director of Photography include "Hemingway’s Homage to Switzerland" (2012), "The Perfect Bunny"* (2013), "Old Junk" (2013), "Upside Down" (2014), "Benighted" (2015), "Only a Dream" (2016) and "The Letter" (2016).



    James Kwei

    Producer, Creative Consultant

    BFA in film production from Brooklyn College. Mr. Kwei has extensive experience in film production and post production, including: GOODFELLAS, CASINO, GRACE OF MY HEART, KUNDUN, GANGS OF NEW YORK; HBO Series OZ, CBS' QUEENS SUPREME; independent films: IRON & SILK, COMBINATION PLATTER, PRIME GIG, as well as industrials, commercials and music videos. Producer of Shira Levin's short film trilogy: LAST DAY, OLD JUNK and UPSIDE DOWN.

    Natalie Kyoko Allante

    Production Coordinator


    Natalie graduated with a bachelors of art (Honors) in Film and Literature at the University of Warwick in England. She then went on to study film production at the New York Film Academy. Since living in New York she has involved herself in projects with a social involvement and she is excited to work as a Production Coordinator on Starfish.

    Michael Sui

    Costume Designer

    Originally from Baltimore, Maryland and currently living and designing in New York City, Michael studied at Parsons School of Design in NY earning a degree in Fashion Design. Upon graduation Michael worked with several Seventh Avenue design companies: Anne Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Donna Karan ( DKNY). Recently Michael has transitioned into the world of costume design and loves the challenge of both live theatre and film. His latest film project (The Hard Candy Kid) is now in post production.

    Alia Azamat

    PR Manager/Script Supervisor

    Originally a popular Poet from Russia, Alia came to New York three years ago to start her career in film. She graduated from the Screenwriting Program at the New York Film Academy and currently works as a Writer, Script Doctor and Script Supervisor. Using her vast experience in political and commercial PR, Alia is helping Starfish Films in its fundraising campaign and will be working as a Script Supervisor on the shoot of Starfish.


    Kay Cunningham

    Hair & Makeup Artist

    Originally from Jamaica, where she first studied Art & Fashion, Kay then lived in London for many years. Since 2015, she has been in NYC.

    Kay managed Retail Beauty for 11 years before becoming a freelance artist.

    Kay has worked for such top Luxury brands as Versace, Dolce & Gabanna, Moschino, Guerlain, Prescriptives, Trish McEvoy & more. As a freelance artist,

    Kay worked on long and short films, documentaries, music videos,

    many stills for look books and editorial, Brides, TV host

    and Radio Personalities, Campaigns, Fashion Shows and other events.

    Kay writes for a Caribbean Magazine as Beauty & Fashion Editor (www.l3magine.com). This is Kay’s debut as Key Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist

    in an American Feature Film.

    Ibai Vigil-Escalera

    Gaffer, A.C.


    Ibai Vigil-Escalera, originally from Zarautz, Spain, is a New York based filmmaker. His first film, a short documentary, “Mama Please Forgive Me” (2014), has screened at more than 37 film festivals around the world and won multiple awards between 2014-2016. Since completing that project, Ibai continues to work on independent films.

  • CAST

    Meet the actors



    Margaret plays the lead in STARFISH.



    Sophia plays Lily's niece, Chloe, in STARFISH.



    Christopher plays Lily's close friend, Harry, in STARFISH.



    Linnette plays Lily's sister, Eva, in STARFISH.



    Pascal plays Fig in STARFISH.



    Lois plays Lily's step-mother, Joan, in STARFISH.



    Judith plays Joan's sister, Barb, in STARFISH.



    Lew plays Barb's husband, Bill, in STARFISH.

  • A Video Message

    To our future audience and potential donors

    From the Writer/Director and Director of Photography

  • Donate

    By donating any amount, you can help us complete the film in the best possible way!

    Angel (ANY AMOUNT)
    $10.00 - $1,000.00
    Donate whatever amount you'd like. We know that some people prefer to remain anonymous and don't want any perks. We appreciate and respect that.


    To reach the desired amount, change the OPTION and QUANTITY of the perk. For example, if you want to donate $ 20: choose "10x" perk in Options, change Quantity to 2 and "Add to Cart"; if you want to donate $ 150: choose "50x" perk in Options, change Quantity to 3 and "Add to Cart".
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    Coming soon
  • How to help

    You can help us by donating whatever amount you'd like to the "Starfish" post-production campaign!


    You can go to your PayPal account and send a donation via starfishfilms2016@gmail.com, via Friends & Family option, if you'd like. (That way, all the money goes directly to us without fees.)


    You can also choose to donate with a check to Starfish Films, Inc. to avoid fees being taken out.

    Just contact us and we'll send you more information.


    Please spread the word about the film.