Escape from Garden Grove
Short Film

Escape from Garden Grove

When a teenage girl makes a shocking discovery, she devises a plan to kidnap her grandmother and take her to Belgium. 

Escape from Garden Grove is my first short, and my first collaboration with Elisabeth Durkin, who now produces all my live-action films. She's pretty awesome. 

Read more about the cast and crew on the Garden Grove website, check out our press kit for photos and tales of shooting at Gurwin Assisted Living, or watch the full 15-minute short below. 

A heartfelt gem about a teen girl and her grandmother. Poignant, funny, genuine and cinematic. I have four words to say about Dratwa’s debut: can’t wait for more.” — Ela Thier, writer-director (Foreign Letters, Puncture, A Summer Rain)


Mathilde a indéniablement un sens du gag visuel et verbal mais sait aussi diriger des acteurs de tous âge.” — Jack Mener, Secrétaire général de la Fédération Internationale du Film Indépendant (FIFI)


Life isn’t all rosy for 16-year-old Sophie. Her dad moved out, her mom’s never home, and nobody tells her anything. So when she makes a disturbing discovery, she turns to the one person who knows how to make things better: Grandma. The plan’s simple: break out of the nursing home and escape to Belgium. If only the bus would come. If only Grandma knew where Belgium was. 

A cute and very bittersweet tale with a real handle on its characters. Martine Moore is adorable as young Sophie; Victoria Blankenship’s performance is wonderful as the quirky Faye. A short dramedy brimming with talent and creativity.” — Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed

The film, described as a labor of love by Dratwa, has received accolades on the independent film circuit [and] gained momentum through word of mouth. A coming-of-age story with heart.” — Triston Brewer, VerbalSlap


Big Apple Film Festival NY

Barcelona Film Festival SPAIN

***el rey award for Victoria Blankenship

Chain Film Festival NY

Northeast Film Festival NJ

Greenpoint Film Festival NY

Broad Humor Film Festival LA

Festival Elles Tournent BELGIUM

Festival du Film Intergénérationnel BELGIUM

Media Film Festival PA

Filmomaniac Screening Series NY

Brightside Tavern Shorts Fest NJ

Hang on to your Shorts Festival NJ

Crystal Room Films Queens NY


A Sundance Channel Shorts Contest Finalist!




Escape from Garden Grove, the play

The two-hander requires minimal sets/props/lights and is available for purchase and production.

Before it was a short film, Escape from Garden Grove was a one-act play directed by Brian Roff, developed by Ingenue Theatre and workshopped at Public Assembly. Starring Martine Moore and Victoria Blankenship (of the film), it was produced by Manhattan Repertory Theatre and was subsequently presented in Variations Theatre Group's Unchained Festival at the Chain Theatre and the Gallery Players' Black Box Festival.

Subsequent productions at the Hand-to-Mouth Players' Playwright/Director's Workshop (dir. Maureen Howard) and at the Secret Theatre's Act One: One Act Festival (dir. Erika Jenko) were well received, as was the Norwegian production by the Bats at Folken (dir. Juliana Linares Øverland).