Short Film: 40ish, 25min., USA

Directed by Traci Hays
A 40-year-old actress , refuses to give up her dream of “making it,” in Hollywood, but 20 years later, she won’t face the reality, that age and how many followers you have, dictates the rules for talent and and when she lands her big break, she struggles to tell the truth, when casting demands to know her “real age,” before they’ll hire her for the role.

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Director Biography – Traci Hays

Traci Hays is a DGA nominated director. Her work has earned multiple awards including Best Director and Best Picture along with being an award-winning Production Designer. She is in development on her feature directorial debut THE ZIPPER CLUB which is being fiscally sponsored by From The Heart Productions. 

Most recently, Hays directed DISCONNECTED, a short film thriller as part of the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge. With a diverse all-female cast and crew she lead the film to garner a win for Best Director at the Independent Short Awards and Best Thriller at the Top Short Film Festival. The project is currently circulating film festivals. 

Prior to this, Traci directed the short film FREDERICK starring James Morrison (Fox’s 24). The film premiered at Dances with Films at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. The film has won 20 awards including Best Director at the LA Film Awards and Best Picture at the New York Film Awards.

With her proven track record, Hays secured a partnership with Tosca Musk’s production company, Passionflix, where she directed the film DRY SPELL, written by New York Times Bestselling Author Vi Keeland.

Hays graduated cum laude from Chapman University earning her BFA in Film Production. She was awarded a coveted apprenticeship with legendary director Randal Kleiser (Grease) to oversee her senior thesis, an 1800s-period film LIONS AMONG MEN, starring Dayo Okeniyi (NBC’s Shades of Blue). The story exposes the atrocities of injustice during the slave trade. LIONS AMONG MEN was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a finalist for the DGA Student Film Awards. She continued to develop her directing sensibilities under the mentorship of John Badham (Saturday Night Fever), Martha Coolidge (Real Genius), and Lawrence Paull (Back to the Future).

Hays is also an accomplished production designer, having worked on various feature films, television, and commercials with companies such as Universal Studios, Hulu, BET, and many more.

Director Statement

Ageism in Hollywood still runs rampant. My goal with 40ish is to capture what really goes on behind the curtain in Hollywood — how stereotypes of age, gender, and status play a large role in the uphill battle of breaking into the business. Set in the heart of Hollywood, this story takes you on a journey through the less glamorous side of an actress’s daily grind and how she perseveres despite the constant rejections and over-the-top personalities standing in the way of her dream.

“As male actors age, the film industry deems them more experienced, more distinguished and more capable. It’s time Hollywood starts thinking about older actresses in the same way.” This statement by Olivia Mazzucato could not ring more true and I hope 40ish can shift the conversation and show that women over the age of 30 can embody any complex character in any genre.


By comedyfestival

Film and Writing Festival for Comedy. Showcasing best of comedy short films at the FEEDBACK Film Festival. Plus, showcasing best of comedy novels, short stories, poems, screenplays (TV, short, feature) at the festival performed by professional actors.

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