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Invest in Crohnie Film

A heartfelt feature comedy about identity, family, and Crohn's disease


The script was a finalist in the Sundance Institute’s 2020 Development Lab.
Starring Matt Besser (founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade) and Pam Murphy (actress/comedian).
We have a built-in audience of 45+ million people living with an invisible illness in the U.S. alone
We have support from numerous Crohn's and Colitis organizations to help us reach our audience.
Our relationships with crew and amazing LA talent will make our $300k film feel like a $5M film.
We aim to support LA live comedy by casting local comedic talent and shooting at local theatres.

Our Team


An aspiring comedian is forced to reckon with Crohn’s disease and his parents’ divorce before an opportunity of a lifetime is sabotaged.

It's a heartfelt comedy about identity, family, and the daily struggles of an embarrassing illness.


Email: [email protected]
Instagram/Twitter: @crohniemovie

Schedule a Zoom with us using our Calendly link! We'd love to get to know you and help answer any questions you may have in regards to our project and/or your investment! 

Calendly Scheduler 

Feature Synopsis

Although Crohn’s disease has taken control of Davey’s life, he prefers to treat it as its perceived: invisible. But when he’s selected for his comedy theater’s career-launching showcase, the excitement comes along with the news of his middle-aged parents’ divorce. His symptoms flare as Davey neglects his health to focus on his showcase performance. He pushes away his two best friends/comedy-writing partners, Katie and Tye, and his would-be mentor Susanna, who confidently satirizes her own struggle with Crohn’s (i.e. musical performances about diarrhea). Everything culminates to the night of the showcase when Davey’s health is at its worst. He’s forced to either reckon with his disease or lose everything. For the first time in his life, the truth seems worth embracing.

Tonal Comparisons

Like the films above, Crohnie carefully balances comedy and drama by providing a humorous perspective to difficult subject matters such as divorce and chronic disease.

Cast Attachments (So Far)

Proof-of-Concept Short Film

In 2019, we produced a scene from the feature-length script as a proof-of-concept short film. Because of an overwhelmingly positive response to the short, we decided to pursue the production of the feature.

What is Crohn's?

Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It’s as unglamorous as it sounds.

It's commonly referred to as a "crummy tummy," “poop disease,” or “an excuse to not eat my cooking."

    Source: Children's Hospital Colorado

    Getting A Return On Your Investment

    The filmmakers (Derek & Dan) will not make a penny off of Crohnie until our investors first receive 120% of their principal (early bird investors) or 115% of their principal (regular investors) from the revenue we generate. 

    Once all of our investors have been paid back, any remaining net profits will be split 50/50 between the filmmakers and our investors.

    So, How Do We Make Our Money?

    Our goal is to sell the rights to the film to domestic and international distributors. Here are some ways we aim to do that:

      • U.S. Film Festivals: SXSW, Tribeca, Sundance, Telluride, etc attract streamers, studios and independent distributors, all looking to acquire rights to films.
      • International Film Festivals: Cannes, Toronto, Berlinale attract "Sales Agents" who help sell films to distributors in international territories.
      • Film Markets: American Film Market, European Film Market, etc. are film marketplaces where filmmakers, distributors, and sales agents convene to buy and sell films.
      • Self-Distribution: iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, DVD/Blu-ray.

      Financial Comparisons

      Like the successful indie films above (each made for $250k-$500k), Crohnie boasts a considerably low budget of $300k. 

      What makes our film unique is that we know exactly who our audience is and how to reach them, which is a significant selling point for any distributor.

      Our Audience

      U.S.: 45 million

      International: Exceeds 100 million

      Reaching Our Audience

      We have gathered the support of numerous Crohn's and Colitis organizations to help us reach our core audience when the film is released. 

      Connecting to Cure Crohn's & Colitis, Girls with Guts, Lights Camera Crohn's, Crohn's & Colitis Young Adults Network, IBD Moms, The Great Bowel Movement

      Our Work

      With our shared professional history and experience, we have an amazing network of industry support from top production companies and agencies which will help us secure distribution for the finished film. 


      Our past projects have received several reputable awards from acclaimed festivals, fellowships, and competitions.

      Because of our connections and our proven track record, we are confident that we can make our $300k film feel like it was made for $5M.

      However, if we raise our maximum investment target of $500k, we'll be able to approach recognizable actors for the remaining parts. Having a well-executed film and recognizable talent gives us the best chance of getting into festivals and securing distribution.


      Forward-looking projections cannot be guaranteed.

      Director's Statement

      At 15-years-old, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and eventually Crohn's disease. At that point, I hadn’t even heard of these mysterious illnesses let alone known anyone who had them. Having grown up with comedy such as SNL, Seinfeld, and late-night talk shows, I discovered that comedians had honed a superpower to access, articulate, and process pain in a way that resulted in its antithetical response: laughter. Growing up, I was already trying to utilize this superpower to come to terms with my sexuality, yet my journey toward accepting Crohn’s didn’t begin until adulthood.

      When my health hit its lowest point, I was forced to confront my disease. Tethered to a hospital bed for a week, I began writing a screenplay that revealed an addendum to the comedian’s superpower. Not only did I discover the ability to access, articulate, and process pain, but also the opportunity to heal. I was sick (no pun intended) of feeling like I was the only person at my age who had this invisible struggle, so I dedicated myself to writing the film I needed 10 years ago and continue to need today. I believe this film will not only bring catharsis to those who may feel alone after receiving a mysterious diagnosis, but it will also resonate with wider audiences due to its universal themes about the journey it takes to accept oneself.

      Artistic Approach


      Tax-Deductible Donations Through Our Fiscal Sponsor

      If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation instead of an investment, you can do so through our 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor, From the Heart Productions.

      Please follow the link to donate:

      Extended Team Bios

      Derek Mari is an LA-based writer and director originally from Modesto, CA. After receiving a BA in screenwriting, Derek worked at Bad Robot Productions where he developed relationships with the company’s creative team and their external network of artists. From there, Derek became the Writers’ PA on Season 3 of Westworld for HBO and is now a writer’s assistant to comedy writer/director/producer Andrew Jay Cohen (Neighbors 1 & 2, The House, Funny People).

      All the while, Derek has continued to write and perform comedic material at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in LA. Striving to help improve the representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the live comedy space, Derek was a recipient of UCB’s Diversity Scholarship in2019 and a cast member of UCB’s most popular show, “UCB’s Drag Race.” Derek also regularly writes satire for online publications such as Points in Case and others.

      Derek’s directing portfolio includes short narrative films, sketch comedy, and music videos that have received nation-wide festival recognition. His feature-length and television screenplays have earned him placements as a semi-finalist in the Academy’s NichollsFellowship, a finalist in the Black List Initiative’s Michael Collyer Fellowship, a semi-finalist in the Sundance Institute’s Development Lab, and a semi-finalist in the Austin Film Festival.

      Dan Sima was born in Romania and raised in Southern California by his single mother and grandmother. He grew up with a love for film but started his career in business. After 6 years in financial services, an MBA from USC, and almost 6 years on the finance side of SonyPictures, he brings his unique blend of creative producing and business acumen to independent filmmaking.

      Dan is attached to produce “Life As We Knew It,” a feature adaptation of the NY Times Bestselling sci-fi book series. The project is currently set up with Boo Pictures (“Capernaum,”, “Under the Silver Lake”), where Dan is also helping produce the contained thriller, “Ride.”

      Dan was also Associate Producer on “Death of Nintendo (2020),” which had its international premiere at Berlinale 2020, and served as production coordinator for “Mighty Oak,” distributed by Paramount Pictures to drive-in theaters throughout the country during COVID.

      Dan also co-wrote and produced “Modern Slave” (2018), a narrative short which won numerous social justice awards throughout the country as well as the audience award for best narrative short at Tallgrass Film Festival. “Mirror Gaze” (2020), the latest narrative short Dan produced, screened at several top 25 international genre festivals, including Nightmares Film Fest, and was just acquired by Gunpowder and Sky’s genre platform, ALTER.

      Kayla Hoff is a cinematographer in Los Angeles. Having graduated with a B.A. in film production from Chapman University, she found her greatest joy comes from collaborating with fellow artists to form a collective vision for the screen.

      While Kayla shoots narrative, music video, and commercial work, her passion lies in narrative storytelling. She has shot multiple series for Snapchat and several popular music videos for artists such as Brockhampton, LEON, and Fox Sinclair.

      In order to push boundaries within the industry, Kayla strives to work with filmmakers who create thought-provoking projects that encourage viewers to consider new perspectives. Kayla was the cinematographer on the “Crohnie” short film.

      Christopher Young is an award-winning editor based out of Los Angeles. A graduate of AFI, his thesis films played at over 200 festivals including AFI Fest, Berlin Film Festival, LA Film Fest, Student BAFTAs, and the Academy Awards. Christopher edited the short narrative film, “Esta Es Tu Cuba,” which won the Student Academy Award in 2018.

      Christopher went on to become the assistant editor of the 2020 documentary film “Dissident” by Bryan Fogel, Oscar-winning director of “Icarus.”

      Christopher is currently editing the indie thriller “American Murderer,” by Traveling Picture Show Company and GiGi Films which stars Idina Menzel, Ryan Phillippe, and Jacki Weaver.

      Other Films by Derek Mari