A middle-aged homemaker contending for attention within her ego-obsessed show-biz family struggles to maintain her grasp on reality. This film explores the toxic side effects of the entertainment industry within the family structure set against the backdrop of a classic New England ghost story.
Set over the course of a single evening at the Reynolds’ Family home in suburban Connecticut, Clara’s Ghost tells the story of Clara Reynolds who, fed up with constant ribbing from her self-centered showbiz family, finds solace in and guidance from the supernatural force she believes is haunting her.
Starring Chris, Abby, Bridey, and their mom Paula Elliott in the lead roles and to be shot on location at their home in Old Lyme, Connecticut, Clara’s Ghost offers fictionalized but personal insight into one of America’s favorite comedy dynasties. When you think of the Elliotts, you think: wacky, attractive, wealthy, successful, but you never think: sad, bitter, alcoholic, egomaniacs... or do you?
A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR
This film is about family. It’s about our capacity to love and understand each other while reconciling the inevitable alienation that sets in as families grow up. My parents have been empty nesters for almost ten years now, my sister will soon be starting her own family, and I, well I’m not there yet, but I do have a cat. We are on our own journeys.
Yes, this is my real family, in our real home, but we are playing characters…or caricatures of ourselves. Clara’s Ghost takes place in one night in our family home. It’s a drunken hullaballoo of an evening set against the backdrop of a traditional New England ghost story that explores the traps set by familial love–the ways that unconditional attachment and intimacy can restrict us as well as set us free. The goal of casting my family and filming at our house is to bring you into the fold. I want you to feel like you are really hanging out with us, experiencing the comfortable claustrophobia that is intrinsic in being a member of the Elliott Family, the Reynolds Family, or any family really.
WHO ARE WE?
The Elliott Family has been doing comedy on TV since the 1950s. Starting with Bob Elliott, who was a prolific radio and TV star with his comedy partner, Ray Goulding. Bob and Ray had their own Broadway show, as well as their own show on NBC. Chris, Bob's son, was a tour guide in Rockefeller Center when David Letterman walked into the elevator where Chris was conducting his tour. Naturally, he hammed it up for Letterman and was soon writing and performing on “Late Night with David Letterman”. Also working on the show was Paula, a talent coordinator with a great set of gams. Soon the two were married, Paula quit her job and on the night that Letterman won an Emmy, their first child Abby was conceived. Three years later, Bridey, was born and the Elliott family foursome was complete. All having fought depression at one point or another, there were as many dark times as there were happy times growing up, but this only drew the family closer. As a result their sense of humor became stronger... but not smarter. To be clear, the Elliotts are not smart. If you're looking for smart, they're not right for you.
Like the Barrymores or the Baldwins or the Obamas, The Elliotts are a family of talent and style that America looks up to, but doesn't necessarily understand just how TALENTED they really are. Clara's Ghost will finally give the family a platform and voice to whine about Hollywood, and to collect your accolades for doing so.
Bridey Elliott (writer/director) and Sarah Winshall (Producer) first met when they were two of the only female clerks working at Kim’s Video & Music, New York City’s most beloved video store. When both of them relocated to Los Angeles, they teamed up to create their first short film, a microbudget, character-driven comedy, Affections. The film premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and gained popularity as it played at several other film festivals nationally and internationally. It was released theatrically as part of the Sundance Shorts Tour in June of 2016, screened on the Opening Night of the Maryland Film Festival, received the Best Short Film award from the International Film Festival of Boston and the Jury Award for Best Short Film from the South Dakota Film Festival. Affections premiered online at NoBudge.com in November 2016. Clara’s Ghost is their next collaboration.
What people thought of Affections:
“Writer/director/star Bridey Elliott is a triple threat in this intentionally cringe-worthy comedy about a lonely and desperate young woman adrift in the City of Angels.” –indieWIRE
“a beautifully bittersweet comedy.” –The Moveable Fest
“a lighthearted [film] that finds unexpected emotional weight” –Filmmaker Magazine
"Affections is a soft-spoken musing on isolation in the modern age...This is a really beautiful film... Keep your eyes and ears open for more from Bridey Elliott, she’s the real deal and primed to breakthrough." -Film School Rejects
Risks and challenges
Filmmaking is by nature collaborative, and involves a lot of moving parts. But by keeping our budget modest, our cast & crew populated with trusted friends & family, and hitting the ground running to make this film, we hope to minimize those risks and rise to the challenge.
As a team we are used to working quickly with minimal means. In fact, we thrive on these restrictions! Our first film together, the short comedy "Affections", was made on a microbudget of $3,000. That went on to premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. If we can do a 16 minute short for $3,000, we can do a 90 minute thriller-comedy for $300,000+...
Every feature film presents a certain degree of risk and challenges. This is, for us, an especially exciting and scary prospect. It is our first feature film, and aside from the fear that "Clara's Ghost" will haunt our set, we also are challenged by our compulsion to make this movie be the best movie it can be. We are lucky to have a cast of seasoned actors who are so reliably talented and with invaluable advice. We will inevitably rely on their vast experience to help guide us through the unknown.
Additionally, we are lucky to have YOU, our fans. Your impeccable sense of humor and excellent taste won't falter. YOU hold us accountable to make the funniest, nuttiest, most sensitive ode to Clara we can. And with your support, we will! And of course, as we roll along, we'll keep all you posted with the latest news. If we hit any snags, we'll let you know. But you can be assured that we WILL make this movie, no matter what. We HAVE to.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)