Synopsis: Writer/Director, P.J. Palmer tells the story of a middle-aged couple living in rural-America. Colman Domingo (Zola, Lincoln, Euphoria) plays James, a patriotic man, a good partner and hard-working rancher with a husband, Craig, played by Malcolm Gets (Caroline in the City, Grey Gardens) who is dying at home. Craig’s sister, Erin, played by Audrey Wasilewski (Mad Men, Big Love), arrives unannounced to take her brother to spend his last days with his “real” family. While televangelists, played by Laura Innes (ER, Deep Impact) and Kevin Bacon (Footloose, Mystic River, The Woodsman), push shame, fear, and division as the cornerstones of faith. Chris Sheffield (The Block Island Sound, The Maze Runner) rounds out the cast as Mike, who arrives to help James make a heartbreaking sacrifice.
Malcolm Gets (Craig)
Audrey Wasilewski (Erin)
Chris Sheffield (Mike)
Laura Innes (Jess Broderick)
Kevin Bacon (Dr. Owen Broderick)
Like the majority of voting Americans, the results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election were a surreal shock to me. Personally, I was devastated. Having grown up in a Pentecostal Evangelical church environment, I watched a decades-long focus to erode the separation of Church and State, take over the Supreme Court, overturn Roe v. Wade and stop gay rights.
I feared this day would come.
But I have also learned that the best arguments in the world won’t change a person’s heart. Only a good story can do that.
And the story in NORTH STAR is my response to this shift in our Country.
NORTH STAR is based on some of my own experiences of being in a same-gender, multi-cultural relationship. And some of the challenges I have heard to my relationship. Writing it required a truth and vulnerability that was, quite frankly, frightening to expose.
Here, I’ve imagined a middle-aged, same-gender couple living on a rural-ranch in the great American-west. James is a patriotic man of color, a good partner, and hard-working rancher with a white husband, Craig, who is dying of degenerative ailments. When James’ sister-in-law, Erin, arrives to impose her beliefs, a dialog is opened on loss, dedication and the meaning of family. I’ve found the film to be a sort of Rorschach test, allowing people to project their own beliefs and experiences onto the story in ways that opens a dialogue about the dignity of marriage, choices made in families, personal freedoms and the power of love.
NORTH STAR is not here to argue. The love shown between the characters is an undeniable fact. It is a love worth fighting for. A love worth celebrating. This film is meant to bring deep-seated blind spots in all of us into focus. This is a movie I needed as a kid. It would have changed my life knowing that there are people in the world like me, that I could continue to build my family how I choose, and that the freedom to love is worth protecting.
And now, as a filmmaker, I get to tell the stories I needed, so anyone else who needs them can have them too.
This story is not about ‘those people.’ It’s about all of us, and all of our freedoms.
– P.J. Palmer
P.J. Palmer is an award-winning writer and filmmaker. He is alumni to the Edinburgh Film Festival Director’s Lab. P.J. was raised in the rural mountains of Northern California and now splits his time between New York City and Santa Monica. P.J. is producer for the LGBTQ+ drama series, ANYONE BUT ME, now on Amazon Prime. He has written an award-winning pilot script titled ON CANNERY ROW. And he has recently completed his feature script, SON OF A PREACHER MAN. P.J. wrote and directed the film, NORTH STAR, starring Colman Domingo and Malcolm Gets with cameos by Laura Innes and Kevin Bacon, which is now at festivals.