Strength of Sisterhood at the Heart of Chicago Film ‘Chronic’

Production has wrapped in Chicago on the new short film Chronic, directed by Alyssa Thordarson and written by Lydia Ellis Curry. The film follows Ruth, whose sister and best friend, Emma, comes to help Ruth during recovery from endometriosis surgery. Tensions flare and bonds are tested as they rediscover who they are to each other, and the strength of their sisterhood. 

Though the team behind Chronic did not plan production to coincide with Endometriosis Awareness Month, the fact that the stars aligned to make the film now is especially meaningful to Ellis-Curry, who wrote the script and also plays the lead role of Ruth.

“‘Chronic’ is based on my lived experience with myriad chronic illnesses; in particular, endometriosis,” she says. “After we had chosen our shoot date, I realized that March happens to be Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 folks with a uterus and in 2024 we still don’t have a basic screening process, proper testing, or widespread resources for people struggling with this debilitating disease. Laparoscopic surgery is in fact the only certain way to diagnose individuals who may have been struggling with widespread symptoms for years. I wrote ‘Chronic’ to shed light on the profound loss experienced by young folks navigating their twenties with invisible illnesses. I am also proud that ‘Chronic’ focuses on the bond of two sisters, normalizes queer love, and passes the Bechdel test with flying colors.”

“I’ve always been drawn to stories about relationships specifically, and what I loved about Lydia’s script was the textured reality of a sibling bond as well as the frustration of feeling left behind due to circumstances beyond your control. It’s fertile ground for a short film, and having known Lydia since we were theater students together at Columbia College, I couldn’t be prouder to help bring her story to life,” says Thordarson.

Director Alyssa Thordarson, actor Shaina Schrooten, writer Lydia Ellis Curry team up for Chronic

Chronic is executive produced by Alan C. Strutz. Producers are Thordarson, Ellis-Curry, Clare Cooney, and Jill Oliver. Mickey O’Sullivan serves as associate producer. Pouya Shahbazi is director of photography, reuniting with Thordarson after previously making the festival hit Paper Planes together. Also reuniting with her Paper Planes team members is co-star Shaina Schrooten, who plays Emma in Chronic

As Chronic heads into post-production, check back here at SCREEN for updates on the film, including festival premiere dates and more. You can also click right here to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter.

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