A bittersweet story about coming of age in the shadow of mental illness.
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Recently-widowed Dawn experiences growing anxiety as her daughter Melanie plans to move away for college. An altercation with a hostile new neighbor aggravates Dawn’s mental condition and she
begins to show signs of paranoid delusions. Melanie attempts a series of interventions to help her mom, but Dawn’s paranoia spirals out of control. Challenging Dawn’s reality of persecution
ultimately destroys their loving relationship. Melanie is forced to make tough choices as she struggles to keep her mother afloat. A bittersweet story about coming of age in the shadow of mental
Cast Lili Taylor, Stefania LaVie Owen (Netflix suspense thriller Messiah), Peyton
List, Ian Nelson (The Hunger Games), David Rasche (Sledge Hammer, United
93, Men in Black 3, Veep), Max Casella, Michael Cyril Creighton, Tom Papa
(The Marriage Ref)
Crew Director Inon Shampanier
Screenwritters Inon Shampanier & Natalie Shampanier
Director of Photography Zach Kuperstein
Production Designer Bryan Wolcik
Editor Joe Murphy
Costume Designer Gina Ruiz
Music Ariel Blumenthal
Music Supervisor Melany Mitchell
Producers Anne Clements (Quincenera, Stage Mother), Ash Christian
(1985, Coyote Lake)
Executive Producer Barry Shy
Production companies Idiot Savant Pictures, Cranium Entertainment
US Copyright Law Paper Spiders, LLC
Original Title Paper Spiders
Subtitles avail English
Genre Drama, coming of age
Format DCP I Color I 5.1
Paper spiders is a bittersweet story about coming of age in the shadow of mental illness. The film is a journey from comedy to tragedy — much like the life of its main characters, and the personal lives of my co-writer and wife Natalie, her mother, and myself, over the past decade.
Natalie’s mother passed away four years ago, but in a way we lost her years before. She was a loving mother, a sweet and funny woman with a quirky sense of humor -and a victim of persecutory delusional disorder. Like others afflicted with paranoia, she was extremely resistant to treatment. As a therapist, Natalie explored all strategies to help her mom, but to no avail. Challenging her reality provoked hostility, and threatened their loving relationship.
In telling a story inspired by our experiences, we wish to shed light on the unexplored subject of delusional disorder, and the pain mental illness inflicts on individuals and family members. The tonal shift from comedy to tragedy reflects the manner in which quirky neurosis can develop into full-fledged psychosis, and a loving relationship can deteriorate into catastrophe and heartbreak.
Films can play a meaningful role in deepening public understanding of mental health issues, and overcoming the shame that is attached to discussing them. Supporting people who struggle with mental illness requires growing in empathy - as individual sand as a society. Our hope is that the film will be able to contribute to personal and public conversations about this issue.
The film features outstanding performances from Lili Taylor and Stefania LaVie Owen as well as our terrific supporting cast, including Peyton List, Ian Nelson, David Rasche, Max Casella, Michael Cyril Creighton and Tom Papa. It was a true labor of love for the cast and crew, for our wonderful producers Anne Clements and Ash Christian, and the extremely supportive community of Syracuse NY where the film was shot.
Inon Shampanier's directorial debut THE MILLIONAIRE TOUR was produced by Michael Eisner’s Vuguru, and starred Dominic Monaghan, Agnes Bruckner, Jordan Belfi and Rick Gomez. Inon and Natalie also
wrote BEAUTIFUL & TWISTED starring Robe Lowe, Paz Vega and Candice Bergen. Inon and Natalie live in Los Angeles with their three children.
The Millionaire Tour (2012)
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Images © Retro Sterchi