read the full screenplay here

Ben Barber & Julia Isoniemi

Acceptance: Our Pandemic Story (Short Film)


This short film was inspired by both the lives of the creators, Ben Barber and Julia Isoniemi, since their departure from high school in Spring of 2020. We follow a college freshman, Lime, and his story as he battles with depression, anxiety, and life during the pandemic. After his accident, he begins working on his mental health with a therapist and supportive friends. This is our story to share with you. You are not alone. [Duration: 28:04].

*CONTENT WARNING* This film contains descriptions of suicide or self-harm, mental illness, and death.


Ben Barber is a sophomore BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen, and New Media with a double major in Game Design and a minor in Musical Theatre at Michigan State University. Although he is busy, he enjoys writing, playing games, and relaxing with a good book. He is excited to present AOPS and hungers for more opportunities like CREATE!


Julia Isoniemi is a sophomore BA in Theatre with a double major in Film Studies at Michigan State University. She spends most of her time on campus either studying in the W.J Beal Botanical Garden or performing with the Spartan Marching Band. Julia would like to thank the friends and family who make up her support system. Without them and all the little things they did along the way, there wouldn’t be a film. 


The CREATE Microgrant was and will continue to be, a wonderful opportunity for this budding pair of artists. This grant provided us with a much needed space for our voices and stories. The funding was a gracious aid to travel costs, equipment upkeep, and the many, many hours of shooting and editing. This grant allowed us to expand our horizons by working with actors outside those we had already known. Thus, we found our own path of creating!

As everyone in our field knows, Covid strangled art. We could only create through the internet. Before moving to campus for our second semester at MSU, the only way we had communicated was through Zoom classrooms and late-night bonding streams. Mostly, during the Department of Theatre web series Pandemic’d where we discovered the difficulties of doing theatre over Zoom.This cyber-medium kept us distant and from multiple states and separate time zones, we had to collaborate, write, and schedule the entire project. It was incredibly draining to stare at a computer screen for hours on end, but Covid taught us the harsh reality: our industry is moving digital. The pandemic lifestyle brought upon other challenges such as safety on-set. We made sure to follow all CDC protocols at the time related to masks and vaccination status. Creating was extremely difficult, but not impossible. Against great odds, we were able to find the hope that one day, this will all be over!

The CREATE Microgrant was a generous benefit to creating our work. We believe strongly that more grants like these would allow Michigan State students the freedom and space for their voices, ideas, and art to reach the campus and beyond. A lack of funding is usually an artist’s main obstacle when they want to create. If MSU College of Arts and Letters were able to weaken that barrier (as they have with many opportunities, such as the CREATE Microgrant), their students would be able to contribute back to the community and culture that fostered them as artists. All in all, Ben and Julia are proud to have their work featured in the CREATE project and to share their story with their community and campus.