WESTFIELD, NJ — A local family has taken home movies to a whole new level. “Zoe, What’s Going On?” is a horror-comedy short film, written and produced by the Moore Family.

Thomas Moore, the dad, is the driving force behind the film, but his family — two school age girls in the district, Zoe, 12, and Sami, 7, and his wife, Brittany — play central figures in all aspects of the production. And, of, course, where else would the setting of this scary adventure takes place, but in Westfield.

“After so many years living in NYC, we thought we’d merge the indie arts spirit of the city with the wit and legacy of the Addams spirit of Westfield,” Moore said.

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Moore, has always juggled multiple careers, including running his private psychotherapy practice in Manhattan while working in the arts as an independent writer and producer. One morning, his older daughter, Zoe, walked across the dining room playing a demonically possessed character of her own invention. Her “jump scare” scared the wits out of him and the concept of a family production was given life.

The story continues below the video.

A discussion ensued and the idea of a self-financed short film was hatched and built around Zoe’s character, and a nagging father. The Moores then partnered with three independent NYC filmmakers in order to make the short, folks they have worked closely together with in the past. Four months later their film was accepted into four indie film festivals, including the 2019 Westfield International Film Festival.

Later this fall, the Moores intend to film the next installment: a 15-minute short where two Westfield Police Officers come to the house based on a Missing Husband report. They have the script ready; the cast and crew are in place, and the Moores have launched an Indiegogo page to crowd fund the production.

“Like many families in Westfield, we’re a playful family,” said Moore, who moved to the town from Brooklyn four years ago. “The fact is, we all constantly improv and jump into characters at home. This energy has become the driving force on how we build the story of our film. I’m very happy to be supporting our daughters' efforts to tell stories about girls who are trying to be true to themselves even when the truth is that they sometimes feel different.”

“Zoe, What’s Going On?” is a community-driven project with the intent of bringing people of all backgrounds together to celebrate the arts. The goal, according to Moore, is to expand the creative landscape of the community, bringing in film, music and new talent as the film takes shape.

To that end, the Moores have reached out to Mayor Shelley Brindle, as well as several downtown stores as possible set locations and aim to cast various neighborhood kids along with the students at the Valencia School of Music. If all goes well, the Moore’s hope to film a 30-minute pilot and submit it to major film festivals and production companies.

 “We want our success to be Westfield’s success,” Moore said. “But, in order to grow, we’ll need the town’s support to make the next 15-minute installment happen.”

A frequent contributor to TAPinto Westfield, Mike Cohen is the founder and director of Throwback Sports (a sports and educational program for children of all abilities) and the sports editor of Education Update. He can be reached at throwbacksports@verizon.net.

Questions about “Zoe, What’s Going On?” can be sent to zoewhatsgoingon@mindspring.com.