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?
<h2>Artistic Statement – Those Left Behind</h2>
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[huge_it_gallery id=”5″]
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.