‘Family Portrait’ Trailer: A Surreal Drama Somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle Between ‘Hereditary’ and ‘L’Avventura’

One of the most acclaimed debuts at the 2023 Locarno Film Festival was writer/director Lucy Kerr’s debut “Family Portrait,” a disquieting drama about a family gathering where the matriarch goes missing. Kerr won the Boccalino d’Oro for Best Director at the Swiss festival. Now, Brooklyn-based indie distribution outfit Factory 25 has acquired worldwide rights to the film, with a theatrical run set to begin at New York City’s Metrograph on June 28. Further engagements and a digital release to follow. Watch the trailer, an IndieWire exclusive, below.

Set at the dawn of COVID, “Family Portrait” follows Katy (Deragh Campbell, star of “Anne at 13,000 Ft.“) as she searches for the mother who can’t be found, the film weaving from one member of the family to another. The idyllic summer day setting descends into a more surreal environment as everyone starts to lose their sense of time and place. Kerr uses intimate Steadicam cinematography to blur the line between nonfiction and narrative.

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Chris Galust, Katie Folger (DAY 5), Rachel Alig, Robert Salas, and Silvana Jakich round out the cast alongside Campbell. The film is produced by Megan Pickrell and Frederic Winkler, co-produced by Rob Rice, and executive produced by Kerr for Conjuring Productions, her production banner, and Brittany Reeber. Lidia Nikonova shot the film, while Karlis Bergs edited, with the sound department comprised of Andrew Siedenburg and Nikolay Antonov, and production design by Tim Nicholas.

From IndieWire’s past coverage of the film out of Locarno:

“Still waters run deep in this feature debut from Texas-born filmmaker and installation artist Lucy Kerr, the deceptively placid sketch of a pandemic-era family who get together on a windless summer day in the hopes of snapping an idyllic group photo for their (2021?) Christmas card. The particulars of the disquiet are vague by design, as the plotless ‘Family Portrait’ eschews a clear narrative in an effort to crystallize the disquiet that a more linear story might try to explain away, but no movie that opens with an Edgar Allen Poe quote and several minutes of ominous whooshing sounds is trying to be that coy about its intentions.

“Errant chatter about the Vietnam War and a recently deceased step-cousin seep into Kerr’s deathly motionless shots until her heroine begins to fear that her mom has gone missing, a suspicion that steers this 75-minute sketch into the Bermuda Triangle somewhere between ‘Hereditary’ and ‘L’Avventura.’ The pursuit of the perfect image gradually reveals a negative image of unspoken pain, just as the images that Kerr finds along the way gradually reveal a bold new filmmaker whose vision penetrates well below the surface of American self-identity.”

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