Barry R. SISSON (Cavalier Films), Marc LIEBERMAN (Cavalier Films), Bruce HELLER (Connecticut Film Center)
Directed by Zackary Adler and written by John Bell, FAMILIAR STRANGERS asks the question. “Is it really possible to relate to one’s parents and siblings after being replaced by the family dog?. . . Perhaps as friends - weird friends?” FAMILIAR STRANGERS is an off beat – funny – heartfelt story of family negotiating the changing relationships between parents and children, especially as those children grow into adulthood. The film follows the Worthington’s through a four day Thanksgiving gathering. Brian (Shawn Hatosy), who moved away and kept his distance for the past several years, is reluctantly returning carrying the baggage of unresolved conflict with his father Frank (Tom Bower). Frank feels he has lost the ability to connect with his maturing children, and has replaced them with his pets, new children “who never have to grow up”. The matriarch Dottie (Ann Dowd) holds the reins on the family beneath the surface, brother Kenny (D J Qualls) is a twenty-something who has not yet found his path, sister Erin (Cameron Richardson) is struggling to find herself after a painful divorce, and Erin’s young daughter Maddy (newcomer Georgia Mae Lively), observes with a wisdom truly beyond her years. Family friend Allison (Nikki Reed), long an admirer of Brian, is happy to find him back for a visit. She may just appreciate his family more than he does, and may help to make this return home bearable. Through conflict, ritual and communication, the Worthington family strives to find the friendship and love we all hope can exist between parents and their adult children.