Reasons To Stay

Wanting to escape a mundane and monotonous reality, Jian needs a little help remembering a reason to stay.

  • Shaina Rose Woolley
  • Ezra Li
  • Shaina Rose Woolley
  • Ezra Li
  • Luke Willis
    Pool Boy, The Summer House
  • Ezra Li
    Key Cast
  • Ezra Michel
    Key Cast
    100 días para enamorarnos, Virtual Pride Parade
  • Chandler Desforges
    Director of Photography
    Ophelia, Buffalo Chicken Dip, The Wine, Hannah,
  • Luke Willis
    Gay Chorus Deep South
  • Taylor Blake
    Feeling Sexual
  • Rain Bernal
    Post production sound
  • Daniel Liu
    Additional cast (Voice over actors)
  • Shelby Cobb
    Additional cast (Voice over actors)
    American Housewife, The Tenant, Encore, Sharpshooter, Don't Stop,
  • Justin McBaine
    Additional cast (Voice over actors)
  • Johnna J. Perez
    Hair and Makeup Artist
    Pool Boy, Face On, Skinning Dipping, Safe House, Manhunt, Eternal,
  • Kenzo Le
    Sin Reino, A Legacy of Us, The Bathtub, In Case I'm Next, Sentient,
  • Shaina Rose Woolley
    Production Design
    Muy Gay Too Mexicano, Pool Boy, Like Turtles, Jelly, Waiting for Monday, Lingering, Brooks Doesn't Have a Dad
  • Ezra Li
    Visual Effects
  • Reagan Frazier
    Assistant Camera
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 35 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 20, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    2,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Shaina Rose Woolley, Ezra Li

Shaina (they/them) is a non-binary, Jewish filmmaker and photographer located in LA. Their creative style blends strong color palettes, kitsch, and vintage aesthetics with a queer lens. Their first short film, "Reasons To Stay," is a quirky, surreal, suicide prevention story, co-written and directed with Ezra Li. Shaina also works as the Events Manager at Seed&Spark, and co-produces a queer variety show, The Secret Circus LA. Shaina enjoys bodies of water and loves their two cats, Momo and Remy, very much.


Ezra is a mixed race and queer artist based in Los Angeles. As an actor and filmmaker, his goal is to elevate underrepresented voices, specifically in the mixed community. He is a sriracha addict and aquaphor enthusiast. Once a competitive trampolinist, now a casual tumbler at the park.

His most recent project, “Reasons to Stay” marks his directorial debut.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Reasons To Stay tells the story of Jian, a hopeless young adult whose world has lost all color. At his lowest point, an angel appears to help him find beauty and worth in overlooked places. We were inspired to create Reasons To Stay because of our own experiences with suicidal ideation and the shame and isolation that followed.

As a production designer, Shaina comes to filmmaking by first imagining the visual elements that guide the story. And as an actor, Ezra comes to filmmaking through a character-driven lens. Our different strengths led to a very special collaboration allowing us to translate the darkest times in our lives into a piece of art. As long time friends who met in the freshmen dorms at USC— we also brought in an important element of our years of friendship— making each other laugh through processing our own pain.

We like to say that Reasons To Stay isn’t a story about suicidal ideation, but rather a story about all the reasons we love being alive. It’s a love letter to anyone who's ever experienced suicidal thoughts. We hope it gives audiences the opportunity to discuss something that is really hard to talk about and too often gets left unsaid. We want to simultaneously create representation for anyone who's felt like Jian before, while also leaving them with an undeniable truth— that there are so many reasons to stay alive, you just need to stick around long enough to find out which reasons are yours. And that help is always available for those of us who need it.

With a lot of love and hope for the future,
Shaina Rose Woolley & Ezra Li
Co-writers and directors of Reasons To Stay