Press

NorthJersey.com (April 2014)
(Feature on the Ridgewood Guild and Northeast Film Festivals)

Northeast Film Festival (March 2014)
(Podcast with Mara Lesemann)

Movie Vine (8/29/13)
(Feature on the Northeast Film Festival): The Opening Night Film will be Surviving Family, winner of no less than 16 Awards on the Festival Circuit…Written and Produced by Jersey City resident Mara Lesemann and Directed by German pioneer, Laura Thies, the film has garnered an incredible 40 nominations, including 10 in the NEFF, most of any film in the festival!”
Also check out Movie Vine’s review of Surviving Family here!

The Alternative Press (8/28/13)
(Feature on Surviving Family at the Northeast Film Festival): “The Opening Night feature film will be “Surviving Family,” written and produced by Mara Lesemann…Lesemann credits her whole team for the success of the film, which has won numerous awards at festivals around the country and will soon be distributed by Red Box.”

Maplewood Patch (8/28/13)
(Feature on Surviving Family and the other films selected for the Northeast Film Festival): “The Opening-Night Feature will be “Surviving Family,” which was written and produced by Mara Lesemann of Jersey City. The film, which is up for Best Feature, has won 16 awards and received 30 nominations.”

MaxIt Magazine (8/26/13)
(Feature on the release of Surviving Family on Redbox)

Jersey City Independent (8/16/13)
(Feature on the upcoming release of Surviving Family on Redbox): “Lesemann’s film–which was partially shot in [Jersey City] in places like Satis Bistro, Lucky 7 Tavern, Pecoraro’s Bakery and even City Hall–will be available this fall on DVD through Redbox, which has more than 42,000 DVD rental kiosks nationwide…’I’m so thrilled and excited that Surviving Family will be available all over the country that I can hardly put it into words–which is not a good thing for a writer!’ jokes Lesemann. ‘Seriously, it’s tremendously fulfilling after several years of work.’”

Surviving Family – Red Carpet Interview
(Video: Director Laura Thies interviewed on the red carpet at the Manhattan Film Festival)

Stories from The New School for Public Engagement (6/18/13)
(Feature on Surviving Family): “The film…is the result of a longstanding creative partnership between the two Public Engagement alumnae. Thies says that because the film was independently financed, ‘We both had the freedom to make the film we wanted to make.’ The experience provided them both with ‘a very big and a very quick step into the [feature film] industry.’”

Real to Reel Insider (6/3/13)
(mention of Surviving Family) – “Terry’s struggle not to overcome, but to accept her past and her family, is poignantly told in “Surviving Family.” As she finds healing in understanding the story of her mother, Terry learns to let go of her hurt and anger. She learns to let go of the things that don’t matter, and to hold on to the people who do.”

Scared Stiff Reviews (4/10/13)
(Review of Surviving Family) – “‘Surviving Family’ is a very touching and powerful film… A very multilayered story that is sewn tightly together with good writing, believable acting and spot on directing. The screenplay is written by Mara Lesemann and directed by Laura Thies. I say keep your eyes on this power duo in the future, as there is no telling what other wonderful movies they will create together…”
Forris Day’s interview with Mara Lesemann also appeared recently on Scared Stiff – check it out here!


Moveorama Blog
(3/4/13)
(Interview with Writer/Producer Mara Lesemann) – “I’m inspired by the people I know, the stories that they tell, and the lives that they lead. The smallest incident that catches and holds my attention, and causes me to say “What if?” will cause me to start spinning stories and developing characters.”

Scared Stiff Reviews (2/28/13)
(Interview with Writer/Producer Mara Lesemann)  - “This dark drama deals with family skeletons. It proves that sometimes what you think, and what is real, may be two different things. It’s a journey of a young woman’s discovery, as she learns the cold hard truth about the people she loves, and the ones she hates within her family. Listen in as Mara talks to Forris about her road to writing the film, and the people who inspired it.”

Actress and Life Obsession (1/30/13)
(Feature on actress Tara Westwood) – “She is one of the leading ladies of thought-provoking drama “Surviving Family” that contemplates whether daughters really do inherit the failures of their mothers. It’s a vivid performance by TARA as Jean, the older sister of a woman who returns to her family abode. Reconnection is a painful one and Tara portrays so distinctively her character’s method of coping with the ensuing complications.”

Lawton Constitution
(1/26/13)
(Trail Dance Film Festival coverage)

Monochrome Hippo Productions (12/2012)
(Review of Surviving Family) – “Surviving Family is a wonderful first foray in the feature realm for director Laura Thies and writer/producer Mara Lesemann…The story flows well and is touching at times, the cinematography works very well, and the cast has moments of brilliance. Kudos all around.”

Riverview Observer (10/6/12)
Lesemann has had several screenings of Surviving Family and says there’s something special about screening her film in Jersey City. A former banker, Lesemann sees her film career as a risk worth taking and bankrolled the movie with her own savings. ‘I’m not going to live forever and I want to do things that are important to me,’ Lesemann says. ‘I’m very proud of the film.’”

Jersey City Independent (10/5/12)
(Interview with Mara Lesemann as part of a feature on the Golden Door International Film Festival) – “Lesemann says she’s looking forward to bringing her film to her hometown. ‘It’s very exciting for me not just because I live in Jersey City, but because we shot 25 percent of the film in Jersey City,’ says Lesemann…’I think Bill Sorvino is doing a amazing job putting this together. I’m both impressed with what he’s doing and excited about it,’ she adds. ‘I’ve lived in Jersey City a long time, so I love the fact that we have a festival like this in our city.’”

The Jersey Journal (9/24/12)
(Mention of Surviving Family as part of the Golden Door International Film Festival)

Alumni News – The New School, School of Media Studies (8/27/12)
(Feature on Surviving Family being presented by New School alums Mara Lesemann and Laura Thies at the Woods Hole Film Festival)

Ravenna Record Courier (8/16/12) – Download PDF
(Article about Surviving Family at the Indie Gathering Film Festival)

Rogue Cinema (8/1)
(Interview with Mara Lesemann & Laura Thies) – “One of the things that I found that’s amazing is that so many people have these issues in their family, but that most of us just don’t talk about it. It’s so common, so prevalent and it’s still one of the things that is so verboten at least in American culture to really talk about. One of my goals was to talk about it – the movie’s a drama and I hope it feels dramatic and I wanted to talk about it in a matter-of-fact way.”

Daily Single (7/31) 
(Interview with Mara Lesemann) – “I’m focusing on the roll-out of Surviving Family at film festivals, both around the country and hopefully around the world. It premieres at the Woods Hole Film Festival in Cape Cod on Friday night August 3. We’ve got festivals in Ohio, Washington State, California, and Florida lined up after that, with more to come.”

The Independent Critic (4/12)
(Review) – “Few family dramas of this nature have the guts to fully explore the the many layers of family dysfunction, preferring to “sell the drama” of trauma and hurt and anger. Lesemann’s script, on the other hand, weaves its magic by exploring the everyday intimacies, the spoken and unspoken truths, the desire for healing and the awkward dance of reconciliation.”

Rogue Cinema (4/5/12)
(Review) – “Surviving Family is a great movie: sincere, moving, and heartfelt…[Director Laura] Thies peels back the layers until we can see the real tragedy and horrific cost of mental illness.”

Film Threat (3/30/12)
(Review) – “a fine film made by a filmmaker who knows what she’s doing, performed by actors that more than know their skills…Surviving Family delivers.”

Naked Filmmaker (1/27/12)
(Video) The Making of a Scene from the indie feature film “Surviving Family”. Guest independent filmmaker Laura Thies discusses how she created a wedding dress store scene through location scouting, camera, lighting, and music.

Jersey Journal (1/27/12)
“Jersey City filmmaker’s movie on ‘Surviving Family’ ready for a screening in New York”
(refers to our advance media screening – public screenings coming soon!)

Jersey Journal Online (1/26/12)
“Jersey City Film ‘Surviving Family’ explores dysfunction, knowing your roots”

Hudson Reporter (9/18/11)
“Thank you for the outstanding support”
Our thanks to the local residents and businesses for their support during the filming of Surviving Family.

Jersey City Independent (9/15/11)
Our Letter to the Editor, thanking the residents and businesses of Jersey City for their outstanding support during the filming of Surviving Family.

BlogTalk Radio – Purple Haze (4/17/11)
Writer/Producer Mara Lesemann and Executive Producer Carlo Fiorletta were interviewed by Gary Morgenstein and Frederic Germay on their show “Purple Haze” on BlogTalk Radio on April 17, 2011. Click here to listen to the interview.