Schmoolie The Deathwatcher


Against the backdrop of Purim in Los Angeles, an Orthodox Jewish teen spends his first night alone guarding a body awaiting burial and ends up fighting for his own life.

Schmoolie the Deathwatcher  takes place against the backdrop of Purim in Los Angeles, other wise known as Jewish Halloween. Since the death of his mother Schmoolie suffers debilitating morbid fantasies. He has only two friends DJ, a Persian boy, born male, who longs to be female, and Mothball an African American Albino. Schmoolie is desperately in love with, Yael who works at the Kosher bakery. To help Schmoolie overcome his fears, a Rabbi prescribes overnight Shomerim duty at a multi-faith funeral home. At the funeral home Schmoolie befriends the hovering spirit of the deceased, Mr. Lee. The two decide to leave the Jewish section to explore, and are drawn into a dark and magical odyssey of survival when they witness henchmen attempting to incinerate the body of a young woman in the crematorium. At the shocking realization that the body is that of Yael, Schmoolie and Mr. Lee find the opportunity to snatch her corpse from the henchmen. The three embark on a dangerous game of cat and mouse in a quest to preserve Yael’s honor.

This film is a dark comedy with elements of magic, where we see greatest fears come to life and witness the super natural powers that reach out to help along the way. This is a story with a Jewish hero that’s not about war or stereo types. It’s a human story with a broad audience with themes of religion, death, sexual identity, race, anxiety and depression.

The Filmmakers 

Theresa Burkhart Gallagher – Writer/Producer
Theresa is a writer, producer, and actress based in Los Angeles. Her scripts are lauded as “rapid-fire Lucy Ricardo routines interpreted by Cheech & Chong” (Backstage West), “acerbically golden” (Entertainment Weekly), “guaranteed to leave you howling!” (Los Angeles Magazine), “dark conceptual delight” (The Blacklist).  Her scripts have earned Second Rounder in the Sundance Producing Lab, been a NYWIFT Writer’s Lab Finalist,  Beverly Hills, Nashville, Big Apple, and ScreenCraft Screenwriting Competition Finalist. Theresa wrote/produced the short film Schmoolie the Deathwatcher, Dir. Michael Ray Escamilla, praised as “a stunning gem” (HuffPost). The film toured the international circuit including Vail Film Festival, Dances with Films, Rome International, and is now streaming on Amazon. Theresa and her team are currently Producing Schmoolie the Deathwatcher the feature film, with Miranda Bailey set to Direct.  Theresa wrote, produced, and starred in short film Honey and Clover: A Recipe for Disaster (with Ray Abruzzo and Dan Lauria). The film has screened at Cannes Short Film Corner Court Metrage , Diversity in Cannes, Bentonville, and Dances with Films. She Produced the feature film Swamp Lion which premiered at Austin Film Festival, written and directed by Torben Bech (2011 Oscars Short List, Sundance Grand Jury Prize Nominee). She also produced the recent Amazon Prime stand-up comedy specials Matt Gallagher: A Stumble in the Woods and Jimmy Shin’s A Wok of Shame. The short film Theresa Produced and stars in,  Nana Dara Is Gay, is currently in post production.

Diana C. Zollicoffer – Producer
Diana C. Zollicoffer was born in Seychelles Island. She is a LA-based independent filmmaker focused on strong dynamic characters and original, emotional stories in a variety of genres. Her award-winning films have been screened at numerous international festivals most-notably “Bridget and Iain” (2018- Short Film Corner, Cannes Court Metrage /Manchester Film Festival), “Honey & Clover” (2021-Short Film Corner, Cannes Court Metrage, Bentonville, Dances With Films Festival), “Dreamer” (2021-Diversity at Cannes Film Festival/Bentonville Film Festival) and “Forgotten Bayou” (New Orleans Film Festival.) Diana was a 2021 Finalist for the Sundance Institute Producer’s Lab. In 2017, she was the first woman of color to direct for the Australian Theater Company in Los Angeles. She produced the well- received and NAACP Theater Award- nominated play “innocentFLESH” about teen- sex trafficking which premiered in Los Angeles before running in New York. She’s a member of Actors Equity Association, (AEA) WOMEN IN FILM (WIF), SAG/AFTRA and FilmINDEPENDENT. Diana is currently producing the feature films “Schmoolie The Deathwatcher” to be directed by Miranda Bailey (Being Frank) and co- writing “Harlem 58” to be directed by Michae D. Olmos (The Mayans MC). In addition to her creative endeavors, Diana’s also a founding member of City of Service Angels a community volunteer group and she served terms on the Board of Directors for Journey Out and The Charlotte Maxwell Clinic of Integrative Cancer Care where she was also Board President.

Josh Bachove – Producer
Josh is founder and president of Pocket 7 Films, a production company focused on guiding independent projects from development through distribution. Every film he has produced has been acquired/distributed by some of the largest studios in the industry: Lionsgate, Netflix, Apple, Universal, Sony, MTV/Viacom, A24. Most recently: The Sky is Everywhere – A24 for Apple TV+, A24 feature Minari, nominated six Academy Awards, 2021 Golden Globe Award Best Foreign Language Film, Grand Jury/ Audience Awards Sundance. The Nowhere Inn – SUNDANCE The Little Hours -SUNDANCE Joshy – SUNDANCE Life After Beth – SUNDANCE The Weekend – TIFF/SXSW Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets and Welcome Home.

The Team

Miranda Bailey – Director
Miranda Bailey is a prolific producer, actor and director, known for producing high quality independent films. Her passion for bringing compelling, well-crafted stories to the screen has been the driving force in her distinguished 15-year filmmaking career. Bailey has produced over 20 films, among them the Oscar- nominated THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, the Spirit Award- winning THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL as well as James Gunn’s SUPER, the Sundance hit SWISS ARMY MAN and the critically acclaimed NORMAN. Bailey’s directorial narrative feature debut BEING FRANK, an offbeat familiar dramedy premiered in the Spotlight Section at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival and 2018 Los Angeles Film Festival. She assembled a decorated cast including Grammy-nominated comedian, actor, writer, producer, and New York Times best- selling author Jim Gaffigan, two-time Emmy winning actress Anna Gunn, SAG- nominated Samantha Mathis and rising star Logan Miller. Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Karen Kehela Sherwood of Imagine Entertainment produced alongside Amanda Marshall of Bailey’s Cold Iron Pictures.

Yaron Scharf – Cinematographer
Born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel. Yaron is a graduate of the Tel Aviv University film school, and of the school of visual arts in New York. In the past twenty years his work in feature films, television series, documentaries and commercials has won high praise and awards. Yaron lensed the Academy Award nominated film Footnote, Award of the Israeli Film Academy nominated film Bethlehem, HBO’s Possessions and Our Boys. His work has screened at Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Tribecca and South by Southwest film festivals. 

Composer – Craig Richey
Hailed by Film Music Magazine for his ‘effortlessly gliding melodies’, Craig is a Sundance Fellow, an alum of the Composers Lab, and has returned as an Advisor at the Sundance Film Music and Sound Design Lab at Skywalker Sound. He has scored over 30 feature films working with notable directors including Miranda Bailey, RJ Cutler, Seth Gordon, Nicole Holofcener, and Jeremy Leven. Craig is the composer of the Apple TV + series ‘Dear…’ and is currently working on Season 2. 

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