"Stages" is a classic coming-of-age tale of boy meets girl/boy loses girl/boy gets girl back. The film explores the relationship between Danny Huxtembaugh and Wendy Johnson — three years apart in age — from childhood until their early 20s.

The two have an undying affection for each other, a love that is challenged through the people who influence and shape their formative years, their individual experiences and the natural changes that occur as they each grow older and mature.

Danny is the quintessential All-American boy, lauded for his athletic ability. But behind his attention-getting facade lies a dark childhood secret that is always present and sometimes manifests itself through volatile action. Wendy is the soul-felt country girl, with an innate caring nature for others as demonstrated in her difficult experience tending to her war-torn father, as well as her fallen hero, Danny.

As time goes on, their relationship ebbs and flows with circumstances and challenges — together and away from each other. An academic scholarship out West gives Danny an opportunity to escape his troubled past and better himself, but at the expense of being away from Wendy.

Wendy, long frightened of the outside world because of what it did to her father, doesn't want Danny to leave.

Their separation also raises the stakes on another level, as Danny is drawn to the temptations offered by college fraternity life while Wendy seeks comfort in the arms of Danny’s best friend.

After a violent incident at Thanksgiving, Danny retreats to psychiatric therapy to deal with his childhood trauma. His love for running track is also reignited. At the same time, Wendy finally summons the courage to venture out. This results in productive work at a hospital where she strikes up a friendship with an older patient who urges Wendy to not give up her love for Danny. This friendship helps Wendy overcome her perceived failure of not being able to save her father.

Despite the mounting obstacles, Danny and Wendy’s love for one another is always present, although not always properly translated or timed. The final reconciliation proves their love for each other, although both know it will never be the same as when they were just kids.

Awards & Recognition

  • Distinctive Achievement Award - Wild Rose Independent Film Festival 2014
  • Winner (Best Dramatic Scene) - Action on Film International Film Festival 2014
  • Bronze winner (Drama) - Trindiefest 2014
  • Award of Merit - Catalina Film Festival 2014
  • Finalist - Barcelona Film Festival 2015
  • Finalist - SoCal Film Festival 2014
  • Finalist - Las Vegas Film Festival 2014
  • Finalist - (Pitch Perfect Contest) Action on Film International Film Festival 2014
  • Semifinalist - Screenplay Festival 2014
  • Semifinalist -Spirit Quest Film Festival 2015
  • Semifinalist - Circus Road Films Screenplay Contest 2014
  • Semifinalist - Austin IndieFlix Showcase 2014
  • Quarterfinalist - Shore Scripts Screenwriting Competition 2014
  • Second Round - Cinequest Film Festival 2015
  • Top 20 Scripts - Bare Bones International Film Festival 2015
  • *Official Selection - Burbank International Film Festival 2015
  • Official Selection - Northern Virginia International Film Festival 2015
  • Official Selection - Sacramento International Film Festival 2015
  • Official Selection - Action on Film International Film Festival 2014