Local filmco debuts latest picture

Local filmmaker Barry Sisson unveils his latest picture tomorrow night in Calabasas, California, as the opening night selection of the Method Fest Independent Film Festival.

Familiar Strangers, a low-budget family comedy/drama starring Road Trip veteran D.J. Qualls and 2004 Golden Satellite award nominee Shawn Hatosy, debuts at 7pm Thursday at the Louis B. Mayer Theatre.
"We're excited to be the opening film," says Sisson, who financed the 2003 picture The Station Agent, which was distributed by Miramax to rave reviews. A subsequent film produced by Sisson's Cavalier Films production company called Charlie's Party, however, went straight to video.

"We're excited to be here," says Sisson, leading an entourage of seven in Calabasas. "This is not a gigantic festival, but it's a prestigious one because it celebrates great acting."

Shut out of Sundance, Familiar Strangers will get another showing in late April at the Newport Beach Film Festival, which reportedly draws more industry execs.

The picture was shot in the Shenandoah Valley, received local test screenings, and is directed by near-rookie Zackary Adler.

Sisson is eager to find a distributor and get the movie into theaters. "We make these movies to show them to people," says Sisson, "and it's frustrating to have them sit around."