NYWIFT Member Screening: Darcy and Keep Your Head Up, Sweet Pea!


Join us for this month’s virtual NYWIFT Member Screening of two coming-of-age stories: the narrative short Keep Your Head Up, Sweet Pea! and dramatic feature Darcy, followed by a Q&A with mother-daughter filmmaking duo Heidi Philipsen Meissner and Sophie Meissner. 

Watch the films: Any time Thursday, August 12 at 3 PM through Monday, August 16 at 11:59 PM

Join the Q&A: Monday, August 16, at 5 PM ET

Cost to attend: FREE for NYWIFT members; $2 for non-members

Please register in advance in order to receive the links.

The NYWIFT Member Screening Series provides members with the opportunity to show their work in a theatrical setting (or in this case, a virtual theatrical setting). We hope you will join us in celebrating the work of our talented NYWIFT members!


Please note: if you would like to “bring” a guest, the guest must be registered separately with a separate email address – links to view the films are individually crafted for each registered email.


About the Films

Keep Your Head Up, Sweet Pea!
Sophie Meissner (Director, Actor)
Heidi Philipsen-Meissner (NYWIFT member, Producer, Actor)
Isabella Olaguera (NYWIFT Member, Co-Producer)
Jody Prusan (NYWIFT member, Acting Coach) 
Dramedy Short
2020, 6 min 33 sec

Naddie is in a new school. In a different country. And everything feels foreign – even her self. Her classmates could care less about her. Her teacher treats her as if she’s stupid. And she can’t even walk home without grown men harassing her. For a 14-year-old girl, stuck between so many worlds, it all seems like too much. But Once Upon a Time, not so long ago, Naddie loved to dance and wasn’t afraid of anything… at least that’s what her mother tells her. But how can she take on all the challenges before her and still face the world with conviction now? Is happiness something you lose when you grow up, or do you learn how to adjust with the times and still keep your head held high?


Heidi Philipsen-Meissner (NYWIFT member, Co-Director, Producer, Actor)
Jon Russell Cring (Co-Director)
Jody Prusan (NYWIFT member, Manager)
2020, 96 min

It’s summer break, and 15-year-old Darcy is working in her family’s motel, a run-down resort on the edge of town. Times are tough, and to make ends meet, Darcy’s parents have resorted to taking in “monthers” (long-term renters) recently incarcerated—an arrangement made with the local Department of Corrections for a price. Spending her days cleaning up after society’s trash, eager to have just one day off to enjoy her sixteenth birthday, but unable to get any sympathy from her cautious mother, Darcy nearly gives up all hope to experience even one day in the life of a normal teenager. But when the more worldly and handsome Luke checks into the motel and encourages her to stand up for herself, Darcy can’t help but see his presence as a sign.

Coming-of-age, surrounded by an ensemble of cast-offs that society would rather forget, excited about an alluring stranger whose arrival sparks all of the possibilities that life has to offer, Darcy is presented with a decision to make: Stay close to the mundane life she knows and loathes, or take the advice of this kind stranger and venture off into the uncertain but undeniably tempting world outside of her parent’s motel’s doors.


Heidi Philipsen-Meissner is a producer, writer, actress, and director with 25 years of professional experience in international film, theater, television and communications. A classically trained actress, she has transitioned easily from stage to film and has commercial work, features, and voice-over work under her thespian belt. Her ability to know and communicate with fellow actors with ease has led to a career in directing—short films, regional commercials and, of late, feature films. Heidi has just finished the film festival circuit for her company, Personae Entertainment Pictures’ first feature film, Darcy, which she co-directed, produced and acted in (now streaming on Herflix.) When not working on shorts or features, this longtime NYWIFT member, NYWIFT Communications Committee volunteer and UPWIFT Founder/President Emeritus, is pursuing her MBA in Management at Eastern Michigan University and enjoying motherhood in the fast lane with two teens. Keep Your Head Up, Sweet Pea! is her daughter Sophie’s first short.

Sophie Meissner (age 16) has been around sets and filmmaking ever since she can remember – her mother, filmmaker Heidi Philipsen) went to film school when Sophie was nine months old. As a child, Sophie loved both theater and film. She performed 37 professional theater performances as “The Balloon Girl” in the Equity Theater Capital Rep in Albany, New York, when she was just nine years old, and auditioned and got roles in music videos (“Sacriledge” by the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs), web series (eScape), industrials (“Simple Three Video”) and films (Her Telling Heart, Thirsty, Cold in July, Asher, Growing Up Smith and, most recently, Darcy). But it wasn’t until her family moved abroad to Hamburg, Germany, where Sophie felt out of place and struggled to find her voice in a foreign language at a foreign school – that she found her creative voice… in chemistry class (of all things). When she brought her first short script home, her mother read it and said, “Sophie – you have a talent! Let’s turn this into a film.” And Keep Your Head Up, Sweet Pea was born. Sophie is grateful to WIFT Germany in Hamburg for their support and all of the film professionals who came on board to mentor her along the way. And she dedicates this film to all those teens who, like her, have known what it feels like to not fit in, question your place in this world, and wonder how to stay grounded when everything is constantly changing and new.

Katie Chambers (moderator) is the Community Engagement Director at NYWIFT, where she manages Communications and Membership. She received regional recognition for her work at NYWIFT from the New York Society of Association Executives with their “Rising Star” award at the Synergy Awards in 2020, and will receive national recognition when she is named one of Association Trends’ top “Young and Aspiring Executives” at their Salute to Excellence in Washington, DC, in 2021. Prior to joining the NYWIFT team, Katie was a talent agent in the Youth & Young Adult Theatrical division at Abrams Agency in New York City. She has served on the Next Generation Committee of the NY Television Festival, produced a critically-acclaimed play at the NY Fringe Festival, and has worked for Buchwald, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Scott Rudin Productions. Her writing has appeared in Huff Post, Honeysuckle Magazine and several printed essay collections. Katie graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Drew University with a double major in English and Theatre Arts.


The NYWIFT Member Screening Series is produced by Katie Chambers


Special thanks to Carlina Rivera and the New York City 2nd Council District
for discretionary funding for the NYWIFT Member Screening Series.

August 16 @ 5:00pm
5:00 pm — 6:00 pm (1h)

Virtual Member Screening
Watch the film on Vimeo and Q&A on Zoom.
Please register to receive links.



Join the conversation on social media:
#nywift | @nywift

NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.