One of the rising filmmakers in the Chicago movie-making scene, Michael Glover Smith (Rendezvous in Chicago, Mercury in Retrograde) has returned this year with his fourth feature, Relative. Produced by Chicago Film Project (which also backed Jennifer Reeder’s Knives and Skin) and starring Wendy Robie (Twin Peaks) and Cameron Scott Roberts (The Walking Dead), the film follows a family at a crossroads, featuring separations, new romances, and empty-nesting as the youngest member of the clan graduates college. Ahead of the film’s hometown screenings at the Music Box on June 8 and the Gene Siskel Film Center on June 10, 15, and 16, we’re pleased to exclusively debut the first trailer.

“I’ve always been skeptical of the phrase “dysfunctional family” since all families would seem dysfunctional if one were able to observe them closely enough,” the director said. “In creating Relative, my goal was to contrive a scenario that would allow me to lift the veil on the complex bonds that exist between members of a modern American family — showing the deep love and affection between them on the one hand and the resentments and jealousies roiling just under the surface on the other. I also wanted to capture the inherent sadness of how families evolve and ultimately “disintegrate” (to quote Fran Guinan’s character) over time.”

He adds, “Relative asks what it means to be a parent, a child, a brother, a sister. While my previous three films deal with romantic relationships between characters in their 20s and 30s, Relative primarily examines parent-child relationships and sibling bonds across three generations of the same family. I strove to stretch myself as a writer/director by creating characters of diverse ages and tried to mine each of their lives for emotional and psychological truth. Thanks to the best ensemble cast with whom I have ever had the pleasure of working, I believe the end result shows, in a manner that I hope is universal and timeless, both the difficulties and the rewards that come with being a relative.”

Watch the trailer below for the film also starring Clare Cooney, Keith D. Gallagher, Emily Lape, Melissa DuPrey, Elizabeth Stam, and Heather Chrisler.

Learn more about Relative on the official site.

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