OCCUPYING ED is a film for the times. Ed is an uptight tax accountant in the middle of tax season. He has experienced some blackouts and is worried. He is also concerned about a mysterious British woman, Nicole, who seems to be stalking him. On top of that, she appears to have a connection with Ed’s blackouts.As Ed learns that he has a split personality disorder, he also discovers that even though he is losing days at a time, he is functioning during these blackouts. In fact, his boss says his work is better than ever.

What the audience begins to discover, as does Ed, is that Ed’s alternate personality… is a woman. Her name is Helena. She takes over Ed’s body, and Nicole is her girlfriend.

The small, American town where they all live is very accepting of Helena – she is clever, funny, good with kids, hard-working – and the townspeople really like her. Ed’s redneck brother, Troy, on the other hand, does not.

As Ed learns more about Helena, he also begins to develop feelings for Nicole. This spawns a rather unusual love triangle.

By exploring an idea, which is just half a step beyond reality, OCCUPYING ED broadens its unique subject matter to a whole world of ideas.

OCCUPYING ED is a film about life and love and sexuality and gender and identity and the power of acceptance.


What People are Saying

“It’s a film about life and love and sexuality and gender and identity and acceptance.”
MJ Simpson, Film Critic
Read full review


“Quite entertaining, sweet and tender.”
Matt Micucci, CINECOLA


“In a time where originality is a rarity in cinema, Occupying Ed couldn’t have come any sooner.”
Alexandra Kessie, The Trash Bash blog


“The romantic comedy is one of the most clichéd genres in film, with a recipe of beats to be followed with precision. When a film comes along that feels unique and fresh, it should be celebrated. ‘Occupying Ed’ is one such film.  By taking the traditional tropes of the genre and subtly subverting them, Balderson and Beard have crafted a delightful film with note-perfect characters given life by a great cast… Exciting, funny and pleasant, but where the film succeeds most is in the way it discreetly touches on the deeper issues, such as the importance of accepting people – and ourselves – for who they are..”
Mark Rogers, British Film Critic


“OCCUPYING ED is a completely original concept and perfectly timed to take in the debate on who we are as a culture. It reveals that who we are is more complicated than who we appear to be.”
Rick Jacobs, Courage Campaign


“Like its titular character, OCCUPYING ED has a split personality- one is delightfully screwball and irreverent, while the other is surprisingly touching and tender.”
Jillian Lauren, New York Times bestselling author of SOME GIRLS


“The independent film industry is in trouble (I should know) and OCCUPYING ED could help resuscitate it. Balderson’s excellent film deserves to be seen. It’s sublime, eloquent, sensitive and very entertaining. I was enthralled…”
Lloyd Kaufman, Pres. Troma Entertainment and former
president of the Independent Film & Television Alliance


“Wonderfully imaginative, and very sweet natured. Bravo!”
Ian Shorr, Screenwriter of CHRISTO and CAPSULE, Blacklist


“Different and emotionally poetic, OCCUPYING ED will touch you with a benevolent desire to strive for greater understanding of yourself and of others.”
Sarah Burris, Daily Kos


“This unique picture evokes Nicholas Ray’s manifesto, ‘I’m a stranger here myself.’ A provocative, generous-spirited, kind-hearted shocker of a film. OCCUPYING ED is a true leap forward toward the understanding of people, relationships, gender, commitment and all those things we value in interpersonal bonds.”
Eric Sherman, Producer-Director, Author DIRECTING THE FILM


“It is at once smart, funny and strange and only the latest contribution to the evolution of a very bright young filmmaker.”
Chloe Chelz, independent curator


“OCCUPYING ED is everything an independent film should be: intelligently written, expertly directed, and marvelously acted. Equal parts hilarious and touching.”
Richard Uhlig, author


“Great movie… Original and brilliant.”
Sally Kirkland, Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner


“A seriocomic look at split personality disorder. A droll, off-center mashup of A SERIOUS MAN, SYBIL, and KABLUEY, the film digs deep to mine the emotional rollercoaster of a man in search of the best sides of himself. Featuring emotionally warm, challenging performances, OCCUPYING ED is a breath of fresh air in the conversation of identity/gender/sexual orientation politics.”
Glenn Gaylord, Film Director I DO





Raindance Film Festival London // VUE Piccadilly
Opening Night Film // PERLEN // Hannover Germany
Birmingham SHOUT // Dorothy Jemison Day Theatre
Sioux Falls // Special Event // Club David
HomoChrome // Filmforum Köln, Germany
Schauburg Dortmund, Germany
XIII Festival Int’l de Cine Pobre // Baja, Mexico // May 2015



Cast & Crew



Christopher Sams Ed/Helena
Holly Hinton Nicole
John Werskey Troy
Chris Pudlo Bruce
Pleasant Gehman June
Garrett Swann Pastor Pete
Melissa Atchison Dr. Frank
Ben Windholz Lonnie
Dwight Tolar Hank
John Strickland Officer Greg
Jennifer Guindon Sheila
Amanda Deibert Lucy
Betti O. Mary
Joe L DeFrancesco Marco
Frank Siegle Howard
Kelsi Walton Kathy
Eric Himan Vince
Elizabeth Cook Geraldine
Andrew K Miller Oscar
Sebastian Balderson Kaleb
Leah Lange Ella
Matt Weight Ian
Clay Myers-Bowman Pharmacist
Bobbie Sue Flowers Phyllis
Laura Perez Irmgard
Krysten Day Sales Lady
Olivia Bashaw Cheryl
Jason Nivens Radio Jock

With Appearances by:
Clark Balderson, Kara Holle, Seth Holle, Anne Haines, Olivia Sieck, Jordan Holt
Emily Atchison, Christine Beard, James Beard, Braden Erickson, Rick Munson
John D. Stover, Tiffany Erickson, Robert L. Atchison, Robert Rosenberg
Alice Boyle, Tonya Ricklefs, Gabby Van Sickle, Ashley Wells, Ben Brake
Jennifer Edwards, Deveneux Hill, Richard New, Jason E. Turner, Jordan Mizell
Gena K. Mantz, Dianne Paukstelis, Karen Myers-Bowman, Cameron Myers-Bowman
Jakob Borgen, Jameson Sedlacek, Samantha Siciliano, Linda Uthoff
Andrew J. Patterson, Lou Ann Thomas, Jennifer Dreiling

Screenplay Jim Lair Beard
Director Steve Balderson
Director of Photography Daniel Stephens
Assistant Camera Daniel St. Amand
Second Camera Steve Balderson
First Assistant Michael Page
Production Assistant Clay Myers-Bowman
Helena’s Paintings Steve Balderson
Helena’s Make-Up Design Pleasant Gehman
Helena’s Costume Design Arnetta Bryant, Leah Luker, Chris Mueller
Photographers Maryann Bates, Rachel Braddy
Production Sound Michael Page
Post Sound Design & Mixing Playback Recording Studio, Santa Barbara
Sound Design & Mixer Tucker Bodine
Assistant Sound Design Dimitri Anthes, Cole Leksen
Assistant Sound Mixers Daniel Kearney, Cole Leksen, Narbeh Markosian
Post Production Sound Coordinator Garrett Swann
Post Production Sound Coordinating Assistant Margaret Barreca

Original Score by Kevin Peirce

Featured Music:

“You Are My Planet”
“Continents Were Made To Sink”
By Quiet Arrows
© Attic Ladder Records (ASCAP)

“Westphalia Waltz”
“John Stinson’s #2”
Performed by
The Atchison Family Band

“Coming Down In Style”
By Michael Casali

“Don’t Count The Beers”
The Mark Merritt Band
The Mark Merritt Band
words & music by Sievert Ahrend
Published by Choo Choo Seven

“Winter Song”
Written and performed by A.K. River
Produced by Nick Alpers, Tucker Bodine, and Elliott Lanam
Published by Grand Master Oso Publishing

“Last Exit To Jericho Park”
Words and music by Larry Costlow
Performed by Squib Cakes

Executive Producers

Heidi and Matt Simonin, Scott Becker, Michael Pennick
Jeff Schulte, Christine Beard, Peter Schmidt
Wayne and Glenna Benson-Harper, David Milazzo
Jett McCabe, Rodger Allen, Fred and Mary Beard
April Ruppel, Kali Beard, Gerry Harper

Special Thanks:

Clark Balderson and Larry Costlow, Mimi Balderson and Chuck Jackson,
Kay and Chuck Holle, Thom Jackson and Joe Braun, Noah Reagan,
Christian Dodge, Electrical Concepts, Clay and Karen Myers-Bowman,
Lisa and Roger Ward, Bluestem Bistro, Don Baldwin, Berner Jewelers
The Columbian Theatre, Gene’s Heartland Grocery, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
Masonic Lodge of Wamego, Wamego Drug Store, Todd King, Lincoln Street Lanes
Strecker/Nelson Gallery, Lincoln Street Station, Dymax, Belle Glos Wine
Green Hat Distilled Gin, Dewar’s Candy, Kali Beard, Krystyn Tully
Robin & Jim Richardson, Brandon Lucas, Justin Gordon, Jennifer Sercia
Nick Hetherington, Jason Vail, Nadine Mayhew, Irmgard Beard
Chelsea de Steuben, Writers Boot Camp, Leighann Milazzo
Shaun Kadlec , Rick Jacobs, Paul Battista, Jessica & Paul Fidalgo
James Keegan, Anne Colwell, Miriam & Daniel Burrows, Huntley Skinker
Ashley Levin, Clinton Brandhagen, Ingrid & John Stockton
Leigh Shelton, Sarah Burris, Annemarie Strassel, Antonio Mendoza
Sofia Beeson, Kim Milton, Laura Cullip-Brennan, Caroline Pierotto
Jeremy & Mari Onesko, Howard & Annie Becker, Rick Gifford,
Andrea Arnold




Sales Contact
Telephone: + 1 (626) 737-8357
Fax: + 1 (626) 737-864

Ella Spencer
Exec Asst/PR for Dikenga Films