The initial idea for “Sara and the Animals” came about after Writer-Director Joel Austin and star Ronnie Toone reconnected following a film they’d both worked on in mid-2018. After bouncing some ideas back and forth, Joel set about writing the script with one goal in mind: Tell a surreal, strange, emotional story that a small team could actually make with little to no funding or support.

Joel was and is fascinated by the Wyrd tales of old – stories that weave in and out of literal, symbolic, and mythic language to take a character from a state of unawareness to terrible, irreconcilable recognition. He set about writing a contemporary interpretation of a Wyrd story, one that would rest equally in drama, comedy, and horror. Seven drafts later, the script was complete.

Ronnie Toone then helped to assemble a team of alums from their alma mater (Hofstra in New York) to help out on the shoot. Among these were Executive Producer Andrew Grell, Director of Photography Daniel Wolff, and more.

The cast was entirely comprised of either people Joel had worked with during his time as  New York City performer or Ronnie’s family. Both Ronnie’s mother and father appeared in the film. Her father played Sara’s father in the short and her mother played Dorothy Caldwell, the copy store employee who assists Sara during her job hunt.

About three months elapsed from the time script writing officially began to the time shooting started.


December 29, 2020


Sara and the Animals Production Information