An unapologetic morality tale about the choices we make and the circumstances resulting from those choices.


Inspired by true events, Thirst is a modern fable chronicling the ruinous decline of Billy, an urban nomad wrestling with the consequences of his choices.  When he finds temporary work at a skid-row joint in downtown Los Angeles, he is forced to confront a terrifying future in the faces and apparent fates of the bars’ life-battered habitués.  


Alcoholism has ravished my family over the years and taken the lives of my grandfather and two uncles.

Where I have always maintained a reverence for alcohol, I do not live in fear of it.

Instead, I am constantly aware of how it destroys lives from the inside out. How do these souls find relief from the draw of this insidious disease?  I’ve often been caught in the tension between compassion and judgment. This tension was the impetus behind Thirst.  The film is based on a true story, real circumstances and real people; people afflicted by brokenness and their own demons.  At its core, it is a subversive story about the power of mercy. 

And our story’s anti-hero finds a method to deliver this mercy in a shocking and unorthodox way.  Where the denouement of the story is fictionalized, it only exists because it was once seriously considered, something that has haunted me for years.


Our cast includes Christopher Denham who was most recently seen in Ben Affleck’s Academy Award-winning Argo and Gale Harold who is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking role in Queer as Folk.

Director:          Rachel McDonald

A passionate, visual storyteller, Rachel began her film career in Shreveport, Louisiana under Frank Darabont’s mentorship. Gleaning her experience working on high profile Hollywood features including It’s ComplicatedI Love You Man and J Edgar, McDonald broke away to focus on directing.  Rachel has since translated this long-form experience into her work as a director, infusing commercials, social action campaigns, music videos and short films with emotional depth, visual rhythm and style. Among her projects; an online fashion campaign for bespoke designers Westbrook Maker; a PSA for Special Olympics featuring Maria Shriver; a visibility campaign for Movember; and an award-winning documentary Uganda Friends of the Gorilla.  Her gravitation to beauty and pastoral imagery is deeply connected to her childhood in the South.  Rachel’s current project, Thirst, is a short-film exploration of the extremes of the human condition.  Concurrently, Rachel is developing her first feature film, McCleskey, which chronicles a Georgia death row inmate’s life-changing influence on a young boy. Rachel resides in Venice, California.

Producer:         Katie Knab

Most recently, Katie produced the critically acclaimed observational documentary Flutter which premiered at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival.  Katie is a recent Film Independent Producer’s Lab Fellow for the feature project Resonance.  She is currently producing her first feature, Black Sun, which chronicles a rebellious playboy’s success and the conditions that caused his demise amongst the Lost Generation in 1920’s Paris.  Katie lives in New York City.

Editor:             Mike Fay

Mike most recently assistant edited on the Academy Award-winning Life of Pi.  His career began in New York City as an apprentice sound editor and then as an assistant picture editor.  He has assistant edited both television and film including You Can Count on Me and Rachel Getting Married for Jonathan Demme.  His television credits include the acclaimed Baltimore crime drama The Wire and Emmy award-winning Boardwalk Empire, both for HBO.  As an editor, Mike has worked with Anne McCabe on the feature film Margaret and the short film Lorimer, written and directed by Michael Lannan.  Mike recently relocated to Los Angeles and dove right in by editing the above teaser.  He is thrilled to join the Thirst team. 

Writer:             Michael Albanese

Theatrically, Michael has worked with Tony award-winning actor Richard Easton and Logan Marshall-Green on his play, Turning Night in the Dying House. His death-row drama, Red Herring was produced in New York with Thomas Jefferson Byrd & Shane McRae and won "Most Outstanding Play of the Summer". Currently, Michael is in development with his script, McCleskey, which chronicles the life and death of Warren McCleskey, a history-making death-row inmate wrongfully accused of murder. The script was a semi-finalist in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences prestigious Nicholl Fellowship. Michael also is a co-founder of Element Lifestyle and is a contributing writer for Bespoke & Montage magazines. Michael lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.


With your generosity and shared passion for telling stories, we intend:

  • to preserve the integrity of our story while making the very best short film possible
  • for every dollar of donor support raised to show up on the screen
  • to shoot in 35mm
  • to pay our talented cast and crew
  • for Thirst to enjoy a prestigious festival premiere and then to secure distribution 


In order to raise the remaining funds required to make this short film, the creative team produced and filmed the above trailer which is narrated by our very own Christopher Denham.

Funding film is a rewarding opportunity to not only invest in the art of telling stories through film, but to invest in the careers of its storytellers.

Directors, writers, producers, actors, cinematographers, editors and designers cannot tell these stories without capital. 

If you love film, are passionate about telling challenging stories and if you are committed to helping cultivate the next generation of film artists, funding Thirst is a great way to help. 

The suggested donation amounts are only suggestions.  You can donate any amount you desire.  No donation is too small. 

Each donation, no matter the amount, literally makes this film a reality. 

For us, this is the ultimate collaboration and a testament to inspired community, one we are grateful you are a part of.


Help is intangible, yet powerful. 

Whether you contribute your hard-earned funds or not, there are other ways you can help us make this film:

  • Spread the word to your network and your network’s network
  • Like our Facebook page
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Thank you for your time, commitment and support!

The Thirst Team


Team on This Campaign: