meet Kasey + andrea: the writers, stars, and friends behind "THE DISPUTE" a short film about love and money

Illegal Civ Cinema presents a new short film, The Dispute. The story follows two girls from south central who find out what's really important in their friendship.

It was written by & stars Kasey Elise and Andrea Ellsworth.

Stills of Kasey + Andrea from The Dispute (click to enlarge)


How long have you been friends and how did you meet?

ANDREA: We met around 10 years ago, through a mutual friend, on La Brea at the vintage store Jet Rag.

KASEY: I remember Andrea was wearing these knee high military style boots with big curly hair. She kept telling me about her goals and how I need to organize the things that I want to accomplish in a google doc. I thought, “Geesh this girl is intense.” She was the first friend that taught me to take myself seriously.

What pushed you to turn thoughts/experiences into a short film?

ANDREA: I felt that the most resonant way to connect with a mass audience was to share the truth of my experiences, visually.

KASEY: We always wondered if our lifestyle and the things we have gone through are just funny to us or if this is a shared perspective. There really isn’t any tv shows or movies with girls like us that think and look the way that we do. We thought, why not write something that encompasses us, our friendship and the woman who live in our areas? It’s an underrepresented perspective.


Kasey on left, Andrea on right


What do you love most about each other?

ANDREA:I love how easy going and kind Kasey is. There’s rarely any resistance with her! I also love her style.

KASEY: I love how grounded and truthful Andrea is. She doesn’t do or say anything that isn’t true to her and her heart. I think that’s a really important quality to have in a friend.


photo by Keitaro Cloward


From conceptualization, to writing the script, to starring in the film- you two do it all! What was the process of creating The Dispute like?

ANDREA: The process was very fun and eye opening. It showed me the power of belief and follow-through. I also learned how I want to structure any upcoming projects I create and moving forward I realize the importance of being a Producer as well as Creator.

KASEY: Something about this idea when we first came up with it I knew it was going to be something that people connected with and something that would go far. It was really the first time I had ever felt so driven when it came to something I had written or created. It was the first time I had written my truth down onto the page. It was like being on a high creating this film. It made me realize that everything that I touch moving forward needs to feel like this and evoke this amount of passion out of me, if not it’s just not worth doing.

What might the viewer miss or glide right over while watching the film? Point out some of the special details to us:

ANDREA: I feel like the “2 for $25 at the Slauson” joke that I say when Ebonie’s heel breaks only landed at our LA screening! I was referring to the infamous Slauson Swapmeet. RIP Nipsey <3

KASEY:I find a lot of people asking me after they watch the short, why would you encourage people to charge up a credit card? It’s actually the direct opposite. Andrea and I come from an area where there isn’t a whole lot of financial intelligence and credit card debt is a huge reality. The golden credit card is symbolic of the lessons they need to learn, it’s the illusion of happiness. It’s this way of thinking that has made the financial wealth gap so astronomical in our country. Materialism is a disease of the mind and through Ebonie and Ryan’s journey in the full length feature we wrote they discover what matters most in life. It’s not the things that you have but it’s the company you keep and the things you’re building. This short is the first act of the full feature we wrote, that’s why it sort’ve ends at the beginning of their journey together.


photo by Keitaro Cloward


How has working so closely with each other changed your friendship?

ANDREA: Working this closely has made me respect Kasey’s endearing qualities even more, because even under pressure she was able to stay true to who she is as an individual. Her kind nature never wavered.

KASEY: I think it has deepen our understanding of each other and our friendship. It has also made us better communicators. While we are aligned creatively on most things there were times when we would just simply not agree. Being able to communicate through our differences and compromise on certain things has made both of us stronger creators and friends. Andrea has always made me feel so safe and supported when it comes to expressing my wild ideas and after this collaboration I feel that even more so. I’m looking forward to creating the feature film together!

Do you have any advice for young femme writers or actors?

ANDREA: Tell the story you know and never run from the truth of who you are, no matter how ugly it seems it’s all beautiful in the end.

KASEY: What you have to say is important and deserves to be heard. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your truth and life experiences are worthless. They’re the most valuable thing you have.


Kasey Elise is a Los Angeles-born actress, writer, director and co-founder of women’s multi-media collective To The Moon Citizen, where she creates films and creative content to inspire young artist to shoot for the moon. Her objective is to create a network for women to spread their art, stories and voices around the world. 

Andrea Ellsworth was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. In addition to being a writer/actor Andrea is also an emerging beauty entrepreneur. Her upcoming projects include the Netflix original crime drama All Day and a Night, starring Ashton Sanders and Jeffrey Wright.

Watch “The Dispute” below

☆ Written and Starring Kasey Elise and Andrea Ellsworth. ☆ Directed by Mikey Alfred. Produced by Malcolm Washington. Cinematography by Ayinde Anderson. Uncredited Crew; Linda Stokes - Costume Designer Joseph Adivari - Make Up