For When You Get Lost made its World Premiere at the Austin Film Festival this month and was a nominee for AFF’s Comedy Vanguard Jury Award. The feature film is directed by Michelle Steffes (Short Term 12 producer) and written by actor/producer/writer Jennifer Sorenson (Orphan is the New Orange). For When You Get Lost is a dark comedy – one that is not a laugh-out-loud type of comedy – although there are some humorous scenes sprinkled in. The “dark” part of the comedy is the dysfunctionality in this family. There is a history of drug use by the father, suicide by the mother, the oldest sibling left in charge of the younger sister once too often, and alcoholism. The oldest daughter, June Stevenson (played by writer Sorenson), receives a call from her father, who is ill. She convinces her estranged sister Cami (Elizabeth Alderfer, AP Bio, United States of Al) to drive up the Pacific Coast to meet with their father (played by Mark L. Taylor). They have their reservations but decide to try to make peace with him, and he has a birthday coming up. This “short” road trip becomes much more.
The story takes the viewer on the roller coaster ride of emotions by each sister as they ride together but apart (Cami sits alone in the backseat studying). June is trying to connect, and Cami is not giving in. June wants to have fun, and Cami makes it as difficult as possible. June’s addictions to beer and men are on full display, while Cami, a mother of two, is not having any of it. There is a wrinkle in the trip. The father’s second wife, Joann (Cat Hammons, “Yellowstone” 2022 TV series), asks them to pick up their daughter Mikey (Aja Bair, Euphoria, Kenan) to go see her father. Yes, there is hatred.
There is beauty in the film with the cinematography by April Frame of the coastal towns, the trees, the numerous craft breweries, and more on the way up to Washington. The landscape scenery is a relief from the complex realities the sisters face when they quit hiding behind the walls they have built. The first watch of the film may not have caused tears to flow, but it has the potential to do so. It has heartbreaking moments. People should watch this film on the big screen to enjoy the road trip sights.
The film’s original score was composed by Brandon Maahs, a Texas-based composer whose recent work for film includes the award-winning documentary Where There Once Was Water. The film also features several songs by Heidi Webster.
The film cast includes Brian Thomas Smith (The Big Bang Theory) and Adam Chambers (B Positive), among numerous actors in supporting roles with outstanding performances to add to the excellent performances by the leads. Sorenson is spectacular in her most dramatic scene along the road with Cami.
The film is produced by Meredith Riley Stewart, Kerry Carlock, Jennifer Sorenson, and Alethea Root. Sorenson and Riley Stewart have a longstanding history with AFF and currently serve as script judges. Michelle Steffes is an alumna of the festival dating back to 2010 and 2011.
Source: AFF, AEGIS Creative Media