Competition Narrative Features
An Ordinary Family
DIRECTED BY MIKE AKEL
USA, 2011, 93 MIN
Family reunion has long been a favorite topic for filmmakers because it allows for conflict, humor, and the heartening possibility that hurts might be healed and insults forgiven. In this bittersweet, funny, and moving variation on that theme, director Mike Akel (Chalk, FFF 2006 Special Jury Award winner) has created a world where love, faith, and reason are brought together with such gentleness that it still seems possible to believe that America is a nation of tolerance and forgiveness. At a lake cabin, the Biederman family gathers for a summer reunion that prompts plenty of revelations, mostly centered around two brothers in conflict: one is a devoted Christian minister; the other is gay and has brought his partner to the gathering. Leading a first-rate ensemble cast, Akel allows the story to progress with a light and steady touch, forcing nothing but revealing all. While little is ordinary about this family, the film gives each member a turn at proving the title a wish as much as a description.
Mike Akel’s (An Ordinary Family) first feature film Butchers 15 starred Chris Mass (Chalk) and Tony Hale (Arrested Development). Mike’s second feature Chalk was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, aired on the Sundance Channel, and was released theatrically nationwide. Mike teaches filmmaking at Kinkaid in Houston, where he lives with his wife Kim.