Private Project

The Pick Up

Sullen teen Melanie’s trip home from swim practice takes her on a bumpy ride, facing adulthood, when mom picks up a strange, hot jogger.

  • Giovanna Chesler
    Java, Period: The End of Menstruation, Bye Bi Love, Beauteous, Out in the Night (Producer)
  • Giovanna Chesler
    Java, Bye Bi Love, BeauteouS
  • Lisa Thrasher
    Itty Bitty Titty Committee, Girltrash: All Night Long, Little Black Boot
  • Kayla Fuentes
    Key Cast
  • Ashna Sharan
    Key Cast
  • Alexandra Wehr
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    queer, lesbian, family, mixed race
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 10 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 4, 2018
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Big Muddy Film Festival
    Carbondale, IL
    United States
    February 18, 2019
    Jury Award, Screenwriting
  • Cineffable Paris Feminist Lesbian International Film Festival
    November 1, 2018
    Best Short Fiction Film
  • image+nation Montreal LGBT Film Festival
    November 23, 2018
    Best Short Film (Audience Award)
  • Outfest Fusion
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    March 2, 2019
  • DC Shorts Film Festival
    Washington, DC
    United States
    September 7, 2018
  • Boston Wicked Queer Film Festival
    United States
    April 4, 2018
  • Kashish Mumbai LGBTQ Film Festival
    May 24, 2018
  • North Carolina LGBTQ Film Festival
    Durham, NC
    United States
    August 18, 2018
  • Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
    Tampa, Florida
    United States
    October 9, 2018
  • Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    United States
    November 10, 2018
Distribution Information
  • G6 Pictures
    Country: United States
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Giovanna Chesler

Giovanna Chesler directs fiction and documentary films that address the body, sexuality, and gender. Their fiction films are richly imaged with strong and funny queers at the core. Their feature screenplay "Sweetheart Ranch" was recently recognized as a Semi-Finalist at the 2019 Austin Screenplay Competition and the 2019 Vancouver International Women's Film Festival. Giovanna’s fiction shorts include the sweet coming-of age film “The Pick Up,” which earned Audience Awards for Best Short Film from Cineffable Paris and image+nation in Montreal, and Jury Award for Screenwriting from Big Muddy Film Festival. Their other shorts include the mysterious drama “Java” (2017), melodramatic romance “Bye Bi Love” (2010) and the coming out comedy “BeauteouS” (2002). As a documentary director, Giovanna’s feature “Period: The End of Menstruation” (Cinema Guild) facilitated an international discussion on pharmaceuticals and health when it was covered on the front page of The New York Times in 2007.

The films that Giovanna has Directed and Produced have screened at over 300 film festivals including Los Angeles Film Festival, Outfest, DC Shorts, Frameline, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, National Museum of Women in the Arts film festival, and more. Giovanna has enjoyed retrospectives at Anthology Film Archives and the National Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego and won awards for their documentary and fiction work including Chicago International Film Festival (Best Student Documentary – Gold Plaque for “BeauteouS Stephanie”) and University Film and Video Association (Honorable Mention Short Fiction,“Bye Bi Love”).

Giovanna Produced the Sundance Institute and ITVS supported documentary “Out in the Night”, the award-winning feature on the New Jersey 4 (dir. blair dorosh-walther). “Out in the Night” launched the United Nations’ Free/Equal film campaign in 77 countries, was nationally broadcast on POV and Logo, and earned 15 festival awards. Recently, Giovanna served as co-editor and Associate Producer on “Spirits of Rebellion: Black Cinema at UCLA” by Zeinabu Irene Davis which won the Best Diaspora Documentary at the African Academy Awards and Best Documentary (Jury and Audience) at Blackstar Film Festival in addition to six other awards.

Giovanna holds an M.F.A. in Cinema from San Francisco State University (awarded Most Distinguished Graduate) They are a 2020 and 2019 recipient of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Fellowship in Media Arts.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

The Pick Up is based on a true story and the moment when I realized that my mother was a human being with feelings, desires and faults of her own. As a young child, my mother was driving me and my sister home when a wild thunderstorm hit. We had just passed a jogger, who was now drenched. She quickly pulled over, told me to get in the back seat, opened the door and yelled to the jogger to get in.

Suddenly, this hot, wet, strange man had entered our car. The windows steamed up. My mother and I gulped. I immediately learned that I was sexually attracted to another person. It was an out-of-body experience watching the jogger and my mother in the front seat as they navigated toward his home. Further, it was a transformational one. Seeing her imperfections, allowed me to love her more.

As a queer director, I find freedom in reversals. Telling this story with a different ending, a woman jogger, and a queer daughter in the back seat has been a joy. Melanie, the oldest daughter and main character in The Pick Up, is a teenager stuck in the back seat of her parent’s divorce. She does not get to decide where she goes and when. This car ride becomes a chance at autonomy when she sees how her mother needs her forgiveness and acceptance more.

This film brought back together my collaborators from my recent short film “Java.” Lisa Thrasher Produced that film and made our production possible through her work with producing students at George Mason University. Hans Charles brought his eye to the lens and his students supported the professional camera crew. We made the film as a co-production with my film production company G6 Pictures and the Mason Film Lab at George Mason.