Surviving Family

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Surviving Family
Sf poster.jpg
Promotional film poster
Directed byLaura Thies
Produced byMara Lesemann
Carlo Fiorletta
Written byMara Lesemann
StarringBilly Magnussen
Sarah Wilson
Tara Westwood
Bill Sage
Johnny Hopkins
J. D. Williams
Phyllis Somerville
Vincent Pastore
Katherine C. Hughes
Music byBarry Salmon
CinematographyTimothy Naylor
Edited byLaura Thies
Surviving Family Productions
Release date
  • August 5, 2012 (2012-08-05)
Running time
87 minutes

Surviving Family is a 2012 American drama about the effects of mental illness and alcoholism on the fictional Malone family.[1] It was directed by Laura Thies and written by Mara Lesemann.[2] The film stars Billy Magnussen, Sarah Wilson, Tara Westwood, Bill Sage, Johnny Hopkins, J. D. Williams, Vincent Pastore, Phyllis Somerville, and Katherine C. Hughes. Surviving Family premiered at the 2012 Woods Hole Film Festival, where it was the Runner Up for the Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature.[3]

It was released on iTunes on August 15, 2014.


Surviving Family counterpoints romance and comedy as it examines the dramatic role of alcoholism, mental illness, and suicide in the lives of the fictional Malone family.

Terry Malone (Sarah Wilson) shows up unannounced on her father's doorstep - with her fiancé (Billy Magnussen) and a plan to get married in 5 days. She learns that she's not the only one in the family with secrets. As Terry struggles to re-build her relationship with her older sister Jean (Tara Westwood), she learns that her young niece Lily (Katherine C. Hughes) has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. With the help of her Aunt Mary (Phyllis Somerville), Terry must come to terms with the truth behind her mother’s suicide and her father's alcoholism.



Director Laura Thies had previously collaborated with producers Mara Lesemann and Carlo Fiorletta on several short movies, and came on board early in the pre-production process.

The movie was shot over 20 days in July and August 2011 on a Red One camera. Shooting locations were in New Jersey (Teaneck and Jersey City), New York City, and Bushkill, PA.

Barry Salmon wrote the score.[4] The soundtrack includes Bach’s Prelude to Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007, performed by Canadian Stephane Tetreault. Thies found the young violinist on YouTube.


Surviving Family premiered at the 22nd annual Woods Hole Film Festival on Cape Cod, MA on August 5, 2012. It was the Runner Up for the Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Festival. It went on to screen at 18 other festivals in the US and Canada, winning 20 awards.

Home media[edit]

Surviving Family was released on iTunes on August 15, 2014. Amazon Prime was added in December of that year, and Vimeo on Demand was added in March of 2019. [5]


  1. ^ ""Surviving Family" by NSPE Alumnae to Screen at the Manhattan Film Festival: 6/22". Public Engagement. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  2. ^ "Interview with Mara Lesemann and Laura Thies". Rogue Cinema. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Woods Hole Film Fest 20012 Winners". Woods Hole Film Festival. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Conversations with Filmmakers - The Making of a Scene - Surviving Family". NakedFilmmaker. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  5. ^

External links[edit]