Three Legged Race
Short directed and written by
Isaiah Saxon

This is a story about a family reunion. I hesitate to say extended dysfunctional family, because aren't they all? Members of the Fitzgerald family gather from all over the country to reacquaint, bond, make new family ties. And one particular relationship goes over the line. Is this a comedy, a black comedy, a commentary on disgruntled, marginalizes youth? That is for you to judge.  

Specifically, the story is about my daughter and my nephew, who both leave the reunion picnic separately to find solitude and respite. Instead, they find each other. And it is quite revealing.

Above, the family car is being prepared for our introductory shot as we approach the picnic grounds. I tell my daughter, Katey, to keep it to herself that my husband and I are getting divorced. We haven't kept touch with his family through the years; they are mostly strangers. Katey hasn't even seen most of her cousins since she was in diapers.

Rigging up the car with a 35 millimeter camera was a tricky and potentially risky job. Left, as shot through the windshield of the car, cinematographer Mateas (black shirt) and director Isaiah (white shirt) contemplate laws of physics and optics.

Spending my time well during a set up for a shot, and then shooting. Allan Richards, Lauren Waters, David and me.

Isaiah found an idyllic park in Petaluma to stage the reunion. And for extras, he used his own extended family who were coincidentally having their own family reunion. This was one shoot where the extras were treated with more than respect, I'd say deference by all.

Here the crew sets up the magnificent 35 mm camera in a small, tree shaded grove for the family scenes. The intimate scenes between cousins Katey and Winston were in a much more secluded, remote area with a lake for the "wet" moments. Did I mention that Isaiah also plays cousin Winston and Katey is played by his lovely girlfriend Adderly?

Allan Richards (seated), Isaiah's character's father.
Adderly as Katey, my daughter.

It's rather sad: my daughter, like many children caught in the middle of a divorce, believes she's responsible for her parent's breakup. Winston has been overprotected, pampered and misunderstood his whole life and can't take another minute of it. He blows up at the picnic. Katey blows up right after him. All are stunned. I am so touched by Adderly's performance, I break down in tears (hopefully caught by the camera). What will the next day bring for these two youths?

The weather was perfect for all of the shoot, the food was great (due in part to the actual family reunion picnic). Isaiah and his crew were all professional, yet amicable. I couldn't ask for better creative conditions. I can't wait to see the whole film when it's done. Will let you know what happens.