Michael Glover Smith‘s fourth feature, Relative, which was shot in Chicago last summer and produced by Brian and Jan Hieggelke’s Chicago Film Project, will have its world premiere at the 15th annual Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, March 12. The dramedy, about a family whose members come together for a college-graduation party on the far-north side of the city, features a large and impressive ensemble cast headlined by Wendy Robie (Twin Peaks), Steppenwolf veteran Francis Guinan, Cameron Scott Roberts (The Walking Dead), Clare Cooney (Runner), Keith D. Gallagher (Chicago Med) and Emily Lape (Mercy’s Girl).
In a statement provided to SCREEN, RogerEbert.com’s Matt Fagerholm called Relative “an impeccably cast, superbly directed and utterly captivating ode to the spontaneity and resilience of human connection.”
Smith (pictured above), along with most of the cast members and producer Aaron Wertheimer (Skippers), will be on hand for the movie’s red-carpet premiere.
Smith told SCREEN he was “ecstatic” about premiering at Gasparilla: “I’ve followed their programming closely over the years and it’s one of the festivals I’ve always wanted to play. They’ve shown work by a lot of directors I admire — everybody from Whit Stillman to Francois Ozon to Nia DaCosta — and they have a reputation for being a very filmmaker-forward festival. They don’t show many features so the lineup is always highly curated and the screenings are all well-publicized and well-attended. Also, it’s named after the legendary pirate Jose Gaspar, the ‘last of the Buccaneers,’ which I find very fitting: as an independent filmmaker in the 21st century, I’m something of a pirate myself.”
The Relative crew consisted almost entirely of Chicagoans, including Cinematographer Olivia Aquilina Pick Up), who has since relocated to L.A., Editor Eric Marsh (Orders), Music Supervisor Cait Rappel (Veiled Tractate), Associate Producer Mike McNamara (Cannes Official Selection They) Colorist Kelly Armstrong (The Other One), and the Post-Sound Technicians at Noisefloor Ltd. Clare Cooney, who Co-Produced and served as Casting Director (in addition to playing the role of Evonne Frank), is also looking forward to the premiere.
“The film is about family, and our cast and crew truly became a little family while filming last summer,” Cooney shared with SCREEN. “I’m so excited to reunite with everyone and celebrate this film on the red carpet at Gasparilla International!”
Smith tells SCREEN more festival and theatrical screenings, including the Chicago Premiere, will be announced in the near future. For more information about the Gasparilla screening, click right here.