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A film about how we find ourselves in the midst of trauma.

Ataraxia is a film about 32-year-old female-bodied, queer identified photographer, Mickey, who, due to experiences with trauma and rape as a teenager, has built her adult life around making “safe” choices and hiding behind the lens of her camera. Until she meets Olivia, a 30 year old “straight” woman who pushes Mickey’s understanding on what it means to actually live and not just to survive.

**This film was awarded grant funding by Berkeley Film Foundation.

Our Review:

Ataraxia, without saying much, speaks volumes for the queer community, the female gender and for unrequited love. Mickey’s performance beautifully conveys resistance, dismay and hope for love without judgment. Short film platform offers space and voice for narratives from daily lives that are underrated. Ataraxia offers a capacity to enkindle a love story, let alone a queer related one. Story telling is the positive & powerful tool to convey ones dismay & frustration against the law, the society, and the majority that squeezes the opportunity for those who are different. The quality, thoughtfulness and execution of the film illustrate the reality even in the present day where the freedom is constantly challenged.

Director Biography - Haley Seppa Haley Seppa is a filmmaker, photographer, and digital artist with a degree in Film Studies from UC Berkeley and is currently pursuing her MFA in Cinema at San Francisco State University. She is a first time Director, Producer, and Writer. As an artist, she has a passion for representing the intimate and candid moments of relationships, whether they are friends, family, or anything else along the spectrum. Many of her projects incorporate traditional narrative storytelling and framing, with the less represented discourse of queer relationships, thus allowing a space to subvert traditional representations and create new forms of critical inquiry in familiar visual language. Her previous work includes Production Coordinator for the award winning Sundance feature film "Connected "and Production Assistant for "The Future Starts Here" AOL series and the "Let it Ripple: Mobile Films for Global Change" series by Tiffany Shlain. As a human being, she loves cheeky humor, her grandmother’s minestrone, and fun swear words.

Director Statement The last decade has been particularly hellish for a lot of womxn. From the election of a "pussy grabber," to the #metoo movement, and so much more, many of our issues have been front and center. But let's be real, these have been issues for ages for so many womxn. So much so, that sometimes we interact with them as second nature. Some of these issues, like the notion of having to be aware of who we are when we inhabit space, particularly at night, have become so ingrained in our every day that they don't even seem unusual anymore. With the resurgence of bigotry, racism, and sexism in this country, the social gains from civil rights movements, feminist movements, queer movements, and many others, we cannot take the status quo for granted and we need to be constantly telling these stories. This film confronts the reality of being different, internally and externally, even in a world/environment that most would call “safe.” It is a completely character driven film. It is also an attempt to queer the rules of the process, the crew*, the filming, and the expectations of a “traditional” narrative. *This film crew was 90% womxn or non-binary and 50% LGBTQIAA identifying. Working with this incredible family of artists was one of the most amazing times of my life.


  • Haley Seppa Director

  • Haley Seppa Writer

  • Haley Seppa Producer

  • Sam Smith Co-Producer

  • Stephanie DeMott Key Cast "Mickey"

  • Emily Hu Key Cast "Olivia"

  • Evander Johnson Key Cast "Milo (the boyfriend)"

  • Michael Alan Thomas Key Cast "Richard (the neighbor)"

  • Sepideh Khosrowjah Key Cast "Sheri (the nurse)"

  • Favienne Howsepian Director of Photography

  • Sarah Jaffe First Assistant Camera

  • Jen Bail Second Assistant Camera

  • Deidre Charlene Locklear Gaffer

  • Diana Rodriguez Key Grip

  • Gabe Martinez Production Sound Recording/Mixing

  • Jude Allard FIrst Assistant Director

  • Tess Denham Second Assistant Director

  • Celia Fogel Script Supervisor

  • Alexander Zane Irwin Art Director

  • Natalie Tommasino Production Assistant

  • Jen Bail Editor

  • Favienne Howsepian Colorist

  • Dave Nelson Re-recording Mixer & Sound Design

  • Miik Dinko Dialogue Editor

  • Karl Force Foley

  • Greer McGettrick Composer


  • Project Type: Short, Student

  • Genres: Drama, Romance

  • Runtime: 14 minutes 59 seconds

  • Completion Date: January 24, 2022

  • Production Budget: 11,000 USD

  • Country of Origin: United States

  • Country of Filming: United States

  • Language: English

  • Shooting Format: Digital

  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9

  • Film Color: Color

  • First-time Filmmaker: Yes

  • Student Project: Yes - San Francisco State University

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