Written and Directed by Maria Finitzo
What happens after the worst thing happens –
what would you do
if you could not save someone you loved,
no matter how hard you tried?
(The Sure Thing, One Tree Hill)
(Fargo, Battlestar Galactica)
(Tootsie and TV’s Scandal)
(Nickelodeon’s The Thundermans, SYFY’s Sharknado 3)
(Cherry Red Kiss, Sunchoke)
(As You Like It, Miss Stevens)
(Broken Angels, The Zeroes)
Trailer – Those Left Behind
Synopsis – Those Left Behind
How would your life change if you couldn’t save someone you loved, no matter how hard you tried? How would you live with knowing that? How would you mourn their loss?
JAMIE was only 16 years old when he took an overdose of pills and stepped off the end of the dock at his family’s summer home. No explanation could explain the terrible choice he made. Like the path of a stone fiercely thrown, his death damaged all that it touched. A family history would become forever shattered into “before” and “after.” Those left behind are Jamie’s mother PEG, 40’s, his father ROBERT, 40’s and his sister SHELLY, 19.
Now, 25 years after Jamie’s death, SHELLY, 45- is a successful doctor and a loving single mother to her 16-year-old son NOAH. Shelly finally returns to the family’s summer home with Noah to help Peg recover from minor heart surgery. Although Peg has come to terms with her grief over her son, the years have not brought closure for Shelly or Robert. Both believe that they were to blame for Jamie’s death. Unable to witness the other’s grief, father and daughter once close, have become estranged. Peg hopes her daughter’s visit will finally repair Robert and Shelly’s relationship.
When Shelly arrives at the house at dawn, she is flooded with memories both imagined and true. Like ghosts on fire, the memories come back to her, burning her skin– the price paid for leaving grief unexamined and unresolved. Her presence conjures up Jamie’s ghost. He is everywhere: on a swing by the lake, in the corner of an old tram they played in as kids, and in the feel of the rocks he once collected now left behind on a shelf in his room. Photographs, home movies, sound and even touch trigger memories and flashbacks that move the story of what happened forward in time revealing all that led up to the moment of Jamie’s death.
THOSE LEFT BEHIND is the story of a family confronting the hard work of mourning with the courage required to face the jagged edge of grief. It is a story about loss and the price that is paid. But it is also a story about how a family moves forward from that loss, when they finally accept that they cannot change what has happened. At the heart of THOSE LEFT BEHIND is the question: What would you do with the past once you have rediscovered it?
Artistic Statement – Those Left Behind
When someone ends their life, the grief that is felt by family and friends is unimaginable. Like a stone thrown into a pond, the effects ripple outward from family to friends, and to the very community in which they all lived.
For parents, compounding the emotion of grief is a sense of failure believing beyond all reason that they should have been able to see the tragedy coming, that they could have done more to help and most painfully, believing that somehow the fault is theirs’ in not being able to have kept their child alive. For siblings, the family is never the same again.
This is fertile ground for a story and my inspiration for THOSE LEFT BEHIND. Artistically I want to explore what happens after the worst thing happens. What would you do if you could not save someone you loved, no matter how hard you tried?
Stylistically, the film is quiet and subtle with nuanced emotional moments. Through the use of visual devices – home movies, photographs, found objects – one sees how memory captures the past and stays present in our lives.
William Faulkner said it best when he wrote, “The past isn’t dead. It’s not even past.” Triggered by sound, touch, image and emotion, memories are the way we tell ourselves stories about the past ultimately coming face to face with the ghosts that live in our present life.
Cast – Those Left Behind
Daphne Zuniga is beloved by generations of moviegoers for her performances in such classic films as Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs, and The Sure Thing, in which she starred opposite John Cusack. On television, she starred as Jo Beth Reynolds on the hit series Melrose Place, played the scheming Victoria Davis for five seasons on One Tree Hill, and starred on the ABC Family series Beautiful People. Over the past several years she has also starred in a number of highly-rated movies for television, including On Strike for Christmas, A Family Thanksgiving, and Gone Missing. She recently completed work on the feature films A Remarkable Life, Summer Forever, and Those Left Behind and she stars alongside Francia Raisa and Ryan Guzman in Beyond Paradise. Outside of acting, she is deeply committed to environmental issues, and was a founding member of Earth Communications Office (ECO), an organization that harnesses the power of the environmental movement and the entertainment community. She was appointed to the founding board of the LA River Revitalization Corporation. Daphne is a native of Berkeley, California.
Michael Hogan has had an extensive career in the entertainment industry appearing in countless plays, films, TV series and radio dramas, and even an opera. His recent television credits include Man Seeking Woman, Falling Skies, Teen Wolf, Arctic Air, The Republic of Doyle, The Mentalist and is next set to appear in season 2 of FX’s Fargo.
In 2003, he landed the role of Colonel Saul Tigh on the re-imagined miniseries, Battlestar Galactica, and went on to reprise the role in the show on the Sci-Fi channel the following year. Other television appearances include The Intruder Within, Vanderberg, Adderly, The Little Vampire, The Twilight Zone, E.N.G., Mom P.I., War of the Worlds, Counterstrike, Street Legal, The Last Best Year, Beyond Reality, Gross Misconduct, Lifeline to Victory, Road to Avonlea, Millenium, Jake and The Kid, The Boys Next Door, Two, Dead Man's Gun, The Outer Limits, Shadow Lake, Scorn,UC: Undercover, Monk, Night Visions, Andromeda, Betrayed and Blue Murder, Dollhouse, Warehouse 13, PSYCH and The L Word. In 1998, he became a regular cast member of the crime drama, Cold Squad.
Hogan appeared on the big screen in High-Ballin', Klondike Fever, Gas, Deadly Eyes, The Peanut Butter Solution, Lost!, Cowboys Don't Cry, Palais Royale, Stella, Solitaire (for which he won a 1992 Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role), Clearcut, Road to Saddle River, Soul Survivor, Nights Below Station Street (for which he won the Blizzard Award for Best Leading Actor) and Marine Life. Additional feature credits include Red Riding Hood opposite Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman, the independent film Seaching for Sonny with Minka Kelly, and most recently Balls Out with Nikki Reed, Jake Lacy, and Kate McKinnon which premiered at Tribeca 2014.
Debra Mooney has an extensive career in theater, film and television. After attending graduate courses at the University of Minnesota, Mooney moved to Broadway and her performances include The Price with Eli Wallach, the female version of The Odd Couple with Sally Struthers and Brenda Vacarro, and Talley's Folley with Judd Hirsch. She also appeared opposite Dustin Hoffman as Linda Loman in the critically acclaimed Death of a Salesman. Most recently, Mooney played Mary Phillips in Michael Chepiga's Getting and Spending, a timely play about insider trading. In movies, Mooney was featured in Dead Poets Society, Domestic Disturbance, Napoleon, Chapter Two, and Tootsie, again working with Hoffman. Her television credits include regular roles in Everwood, Davis Rules, Scandal, Roseanne, The Practice and the hit show The Originals. She has guest-starred on the top-rated comedies Murphy Brown, Mad About You, Seinfeld, Just Shoot Me, Will & Grace, Everybody Loves Raymond and the season finale of Joan of Arcadia.
Jack Griffo was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and grew up in a household filled with artists. At age two he booked his first commercial. Jack and his family officially moved to LA in 2010. Nominated in 2014 and 2015 for "Best Actor" at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, Jack can currently be seen starring as Max on Nickelodeon's hit series The Thundermans. He can next be seen appearing in the third installment of SYFY's pop culture phenomenon Sharknado 3. From Nickelodeon to The Disney Channel, Griffo worked on some of Nickelodeon's most top rated shows including Bucket & Skinner, Kickin' It, Jessie, Marvin Marvin, and a recurring role on See Dad Run. Additional credits for Griffo include the movie Jinxed, and appearances on Haunted Hathaways and Splitting Adam, all for Nickelodeon. In the feature film world, Griffo starred in Sound of My Voice in 2011 for Fox Searchlight Pictures opposite Christopher Denham. On the music front, Griffo has achieved accidental YouTube success, boasting over 5.1 million video views on his account and still growing!
Annie Read is an American actress who has quickly established a name for herself in Hollywood. She is recognized for her work in several independent films including Cherry Red Kiss, Sunchoke, Inside Scarlett and Those Left Behind. Read's most recent TV appearances include MTV's Awkward and Lifetime's The Haunted Life. Since a young age in Sandwich, New Hampshire, Annie has proven herself as a successful competitor participating in several pageants, leading to her crowning as Miss New Hampshire Teen USA 2011. Annie is also an accomplished equestrian having taken home several awards including the Nation's Top Junior Novice Rider of 2007.
Grant Jordan was born in Atlanta, Georgia and studied theatre and music at Shorter University. After receiving his degree, Jordan starred in many stage productions at some of the East Coast’s most popular regional theatres, including Flat Rock Playhouse, Orlando Shakespeare Theater and Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. He recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film and television. His first television appearance was on Nickelodeon’s sitcom, Victorious. Since then he’s nabbed roles in multiple features including As You Like It, August Falls, Those Left Behind, and most recently Miss Stevens starring Lily Rabe. Jordan continues to add credits to his resume including a recurring role on ABC family’s popular drama series, Chasing Life.
Alyssa Steinacker is an up and coming teenage actress, singer, and dancer form Port Charlotte, Florida. Rooted in musical theater, Alyssa began studying at John Robert Powers in Florida where she then signed with the showcase: IPOP! After landing her first manager, Alyssa and her family moved to California to pursue a career in acting. Shortly thereafter, Alyssa began booking commercials and supporting roles in films such as No Tomorrow (2012), The Zeroes (2014), and Crazy Bitches (2014). Finally, Alyssa landed her first leading role as Lisa Marie Dawson in the indie-drama, Broken Angels (2015), which also featured her hit single "Step Away". Her music career developed from there, working with Aaron Anderson, Sam Saltzer, and Andrew Lane and receiving a nomination for 2015 Pop Artist of the Year by The LA Music Awards.
Crew – Those Left Behind
Maria Finitzo: Director
Maria Finitzo is a two-time Peabody Award-winning social issue documentary filmmaker. Over the last 26 years, Maria has directed and produced a body of work that has won every major broadcast award and has been screened in festivals and theaters around the world. Her films are novelistic in their structure, providing multiple points of connection for an audience. She allows the narrative arc of her character’s story to evolve, colliding with other subjects from the film, creating a complex, nuanced story that serves as a vehicle to deepen our understanding of society through everyday human drama.
Lije Sarki: Producer
Lije, a Los Angeles based filmmaker, grew up riding a skateboard in Northern Michigan. He continues to keep his Midwest roots and integrity in tact. He found his way making movies as an actor nearly a decade ago. He quickly transitioned finding he was much better suited with something he could control :). He’s got a slate of recent features in various stages of distribution including This Isn’t Funny, Those Left Behind, Hickey, and Push. Push, a monstrous skateboarding documentary, found an intersection of life and work that will be forever special to him. In 2016, he’s back in the director’s chair with an adventure film he penned, as well as producing a feature set to shoot this summer in North Carolina.
Raquel Fernández Nuñez: Director of Cinematography
Born in Valladolid, Spain, Raquel began her journey as a cinematographer at ECAM in Madrid. In 2000, it was clear to her she needed to leave her homeland both to grow as a person and as a DP. She believed that only through actual life experiences could she give scripted characters their due. Her first destination was NYC where Raquel learned the vocabulary of the set in English and lived atop her bicycle.
With 9/11, Raquel’s U.S. visa expired, so she moved next to the still-very-Victorian London. Next came UAE, where Raquel was the DP of one of its first films. Raquel’s next film took her through 11 countries in the Americas.
Raquel’s travels continued… back to London; then to snow-covered Venice where she learned to shoot its canals; to the Hollywood-esque studio in Ouarzazate, Morocco; three years in China; and then Dubai to shoot A Fallible Girl (China) where she worked with Won Kar Wai’s colorist, Hong Liu Jie. Raquel then left for Los Angeles for two years, before flying back over the Atlantic to shoot the award-winning Traces of Sandalwood in Mumbai and Barcelona. In 2015, Raquel found herself filming in the Philippines, Switzerland and Madrid.
Stewart Reeves: Editor
Stewart Reeves is a partner at the bi-coastal edit house Work Editorial. He has worked in many different arenas including high profile commercials for Toyota, Nike and X-box. He has also edited numerous award-winning shorts and feature length documentaries. Those Left Behind is his first narrative feature.