|Cast: ||Jessica Hecht, Grant Shaud, Maria Roman, Luna Chtarevas|
|Crew: ||Producers: Elizabeth Hemmerdinger, Soumya Sriraman, Umakanth Thumrugoti - Screenwriters: Elizabeth Hemmerdinger, Umakanth Thumrugoti - Cinematographer: Derth Adams - Editor: Cassandra Mcmanus - Composer: Pez Wilson
Good Sister is a darkly funny tale of revenge that pits one nuttily heroic sister against another in an ongoing war for their mother's undivided attention. Treated by Dr. Janeway (Grant Shaud), the old lady has been sequestered in the high-security wing of a posh nursing home and by her conniving celebrity sibling, Esme. Self-sacrificing Helene's (Jessica Hecht) mission is to rescue Mother from the most recent battleground.
Umakanth Thumrugoti is a writer, producer and filmmaker and a 15-year Disney feature animation veteran. Thumrugoti studied technical engineering at Texas A&M but changed his career path when he applied and was accepted into the design program. While at Disney, Umakanth worked on several feature films including Pocahontas, Fantasia 2000, Treasure Planet, Chicken Little and Bolt. His feature film directorial debut, 7 Days in Slow Motion, which examines severe academic pressure on children, won the audience award at Stuttgart’s Bollywood and Beyond Festival.
Good Sister is based on Pissed Sister, an extended monologue (www.playscripts.com) included in my cycle of Rage Plays, seven short studies on the permutations of anger. As time passed, the events that would have taken place before Pissed Sister begins started to nag at me. My challenge was to capture the turmoil raging in Helene - craving her mother’s attention so desperately that she would do anything to get it - which came alive for me in the shape of a daffy caper narrative. The concept of a short film felt like the right vehicle for bringing Helene back in a medium where we could see her interact up close with others, especially the inexorable force of her non-responsive mother.
I have had the good fortune to work with Jessica Hecht in the theatre, and her voice was always in my head as I wrote. Her attachment to the project might have been the tipping point for the equally wonderful Grant Shaud, a favorite of mine from the first episode of “Murphy Brown.” They are a delicious duo, playing daffy so brilliantly straight they always had us in stitches. I am also grateful for a production team who made a small film look large, indeed, and who didn’t laugh when the camera was rolling.
I’ve been asked why I called the film “Good Sister.” Partly it has to do with irony, which dwells so comfortably in the realm of film. And partly the title has to do with my life-long urge to be good. This is, after all, an autobiographical story. My mother was crazy. But, then, ironically, it’s not really autobiographical. I did not kill my mother, I am an only child, and I am very respectful of authority. Seriously.