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Paternal Rites trailer, 2014

Paternal Rites is a first-person essay film that explores the extraordinary and quotidian trauma of being in a family. Recreating a cross-country trip my parents took in 1974, Paternal Rites uses static shots of the American landscape, travelogue footage recorded on Super 8, hand-drawn 16MM film animations, along with audio-diaries kept by my parents during their trip and present-day audio interviews in order to explore the history of addiction, abuse, and mental illness on the paternal side of my family. By drawing connections between the historical traumas of one family and American culture at large, Paternal Rites provides a framework for the ethics of accountability that is relevant to artistic and political projects beyond the scope of a singular narrative.