Private Project


Desperate to escape the trappings of her small coastal farming town, 16-year-old Abby falls for the lead singer of a touring rock band and must decide whether or not to leave her family and friends behind. With live music performances and an exciting ensemble cast, COAST is about female friendships, finding your truth and letting the music take you home.

  • Jessica Hester
    Illusion, Long Walk To Forever, Pride, The Dress
  • Derek Schweickart
    Picked Up, Dreaming Don't Make it So
  • Cindy Kitagawa
  • Wendy Guerrero
    A Country Called Home, Northern Borders
  • Dani Faith Leanord
    The Light of The Moon, Red, White and Wasted, Lez Bomb,
  • Alex Cirillo
    One Cambodian Family Please for my pleasure( Lead producer), Light of The Moon, Red White and Wasted, Lez Bomb, How to Tell You're a Douchbag
  • Sonya Lunsford
    The Help, The Big Splash, Audrey
  • Fatima Ptacek
    Key Cast
    Curfew, Dora The Explorer
  • Melissa Leo
    Key Cast
    The Fighter, The Equalizer, Snowden
  • Mia Frampton
    Key Cast
  • Mia Xitali
    Key Cast
    Confessional, Max
  • Cristela Alonzo
    Key Cast
    His Dark Materials, Cars 3, Cristela
  • Ciara Bravo
    Key Cast
    Wayne, The Long Dumb Road, Big Time Rush
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Music, Comedy, Family
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 36 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 1, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    250,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Alexa 65
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Santa Barbara International Film Festival
    Santa Barbara
    United States
    April 9, 2021
    North American Premiere
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Jessica Hester, Derek Schweickart

Jessica Hester started her career in theater. She is an alumni of The Actor's Center Conservatory in NYC, and has directed and produced numerous off broadway plays. Her first short film, “The Dress” won best ensemble at The LA Comedy Festival. She then directed "Illusion" for Come What May Productions, winning (Best Cinematography) at BHFF 2013, LA Fear and Fantasy (Honorable Mention-Best Fantasy), Maui Film Festival, and Visionfest, where Jessica earned the DVFS Visionary Award. Other film credits include; producing Delicious Ambiguity, and Dreaming Don’t Make It So, wrote and acted in short film "Picked Up", created first sitcom Pilot titled “Served” with the help of “30 Rock” producer Don Scardino. Most recent directing projects include "Pride", created with real teenage girls to explore their feelings around menstruation and Kurt Vonnegut’s short story, “Long Walk to Forever,” produced in association with the Vonnegut trust, and shared at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Museum.

After attending UCSD, Derek quickly became an expert in digital cinema technology and post-production working with such filmmakers as David Fincher, James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, and Ang Lee. Derek spent 6 years working with Vince Pace and James Cameron at the Cameron-Pace Group, in a leadership position on over a dozen 3D feature films, inlcuding Oscar Winning "Hugo" and "Life of Pi". In 2016, Derek managed the post production lab for Ang Lee's groundbreaking 3D high frame rate film, "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk." In 2013, Derek wrote and directed the short film “Picked Up,” and in 2014, “The 4th.” In 2015 he filmed a spec pilot for an original musical mini-series, called “Maxxed at Intermission,” produced by Jessica Hester.

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Director Statement

It took us over 5 years to make this film, and it nearly killed us. We made COAST at an ultra low budget. An impossibility, filming 13 pages a day, for 18 days. But the obstacles were very small in comparison to the many reasons this story had to be told.

COAST is a portrayal of a world where not everyone drives an expensive car, lives in an upscale neighborhood or wears expensive clothes. Our film is relatable in ways that young people rarely get to see in film and television today.

Abby, our protagonist, represents so many of us, our best friends, our parents, our inner artists, our younger selves on a quest to be loved. She is so many of us who feel like an outsider in the place we grew up, looking to relate to the world outside and find our own self worth in the process.

We shot Coast in a way where the viewer is viscerally connected to Abby, inviting the audience into her love of music, her innate sense of awe and wonder for the world, as well as the frustration and angst that comes with this young girl's desire to live a full life, in a world she doesn’t easily see herself in.

We were incredibly excited to get to explore not only this young girl’s heart, but also the many stories of the people of Santa Maria, California, that are such a relevant part of our country’s history. The unheard immigration stories, the internment of Japanese Americans, the Mexican Repatriation Act, and the indigenous tribes of California, though not the main focus, play a part in shaping Abby, and her friends' lives. The effect is not terribly obvious, which makes it even more important to explore, because it is not always obvious in life why we are who we are. It takes time to uncover it.

COAST is an adventure story, in the sense that being 16 years old, is the adventure. It’s the moment when you start to understand your personal power, or lack of power, to your surroundings. Your first crush. Your first kiss. The first time you express radical thoughts out loud. The first time you are seen as something more than a child. You begin to understand that your parents are human beings, and you experience the effects of your own causation. Home becomes a question, and every day feels like the day that could change your whole life.

As Co-Directors, we not only learned first-hand how to create a shared vision from both a male and female perspective on screen and on set, but learned our own lessons on a much more personal level. We both came to COAST with our own experience of our parents divorce, and underestimated how much it still affected our daily lives. It is hard to love where you come from, when that experience is filled with so much pain. It takes guts to look at that experience and see it through a kinder lens. This is COAST.

Jessica and Derek

COAST received guidance and support from Sundance Finance Lab, Women In Film, Women Make Movies, Big Vision Empty Wallet, and The Aratani Foundation.