S T O R Y
As Jacob prepares to set off on his biggest musical tour, his sister, Izzy, grapples with the approaching vacancy of her one and only touchstone. As the minutes count down on their final evening together, these siblings do their best to make the most of Izzy’s 22nd birthday.
Throughout the night, Izzy attempts to persuade Jacob into allowing her to join him on tour, while Jacob does his best to keep Izzy in good spirits, despite the complexity of leaving his distraught sister behind. Their conversation continues to find its way back to their absent mother, fragments of a bittersweet childhood and a household in which these two young souls became everything for one another in the aftermath of traumatic childhood events.
As his departure gets closer and Izzy’s behavior less rational, it becomes clear that Jacob has no choice but to leave her in his wake.
D I R E C T O R ' S N O T E
I began developing this story during a time when I was living with my then boyfriend and my brother. Though my relationship with my brother is nothing like the relationship between Jacob and Izzy, there were emotional truths related to having been raised by an addict parent and abandonment which drew me to unpacking those themes further through fiction.
This film explores the line between intimacy and sex through the taboo lens of a relationship between a brother and sister who have found themselves in a highly co-dependent and intimate partnership in the aftermath of a traumatic childhood.
The film asks us to examine what happens to children who are forced to take on the role of parent and partner for one another in childhood. How do two people who have become everything for one another, have raised one another, and overcome trauma with one another, begin to separate and carve out their own unique identities as adults? What means may they use to attempt to hold onto what they know?
At the time I began writing Crying Wolf, my romantic relationship had become co-dependent and sibling-like in nature and had been for some time. I was 19 when we started dating and I looked to him for the kind of support a child might need - support I hadn’t found in childhood. We had raised each other. I knew he would always be my family, but I also knew it was time for me to move on and discover my own independence and identity. At the time, I only knew myself through the mirror of these two men I loved — my partner, and my brother.
I soon moved to New York City where four years later I would have the opportunity to explore this story further on film. I am eternally grateful to the souls who gathered to help me tell this story with empathy and care. It is an uncomfortable story. There is also a lot of misplaced love between these young people. If it leaves you with more questions than answers, I hope this means it will stay with you, crawl under you, and perhaps it will cause you to explore the different and confusing brands of love and emotion that live in you. Including shame. We all live with our own unique facets of shame. Please feel free to come to me with your thoughts, feelings, and questions about the film. I hope that it can open a conversation.
This film was a labor of love. We carried equipment onto New York subways, dedicated many a late night to editing, cooked meals for our crew in our home, which also functioned as our set, and years after the film was in the can, my brother aided me in putting finishing touches on the edit in California. We were fortunate to find a sound designer at Universal who was willing to donate his time and resources to rescue the poorly recorded sound and without him, there would be no film.
We were gifted the opportunity to record live music with Ackerman in their home studio in Brooklyn and I am still beaming from the gracious manner in which they supported this film by lovingly contributing and creating music that would become Jacob’s band. Watching artists come together to create, for fun and for free, will always be the time when my heart shines the absolute brightest.
This is the first film I was able to write, direct, and see through to its completion. I made many a mistake and I learned more than could possibly be expressed here. What I know is that this film will not be my last. I am proud that it is my first.
I am forever grateful to the great number of people who helped us to make this possible. Filmmaking is a team sport. I did not do any of this alone. I am grateful to those who jumped in and offered their creative contributions to see this vision through to completion.
This film is dedicated to the late Les Plesko who helped me put the first words to the page so many years ago and who celebrated my move to New York City and taught me that I was worthy of an education. Thank you, Les. For all that you nurtured in me, for all that you gave this world through your teaching, your art, and your presence, thank you.
Jennifer Parkhill is a Cuban-American, New York City based artist, born in Dana Point, California. She received her BFA in Drama with minors in Creative Writing and Film Production from the Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. She is an actor, writer, and director who has worked with such companies as Other New York, 420 TV, and Disney. She is the Co-Founder of Here Artist Collective.
More information at jenniferparkhill.com @jenparkhill
For information and resources for helping children who are at risk for abuse during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and further information to contextualize the film's themes regarding the aftermath of childhood trauma, follow this link. Please help share the telephone number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.