Family First

Rob and Ashley have a big announcement but when their news brings a family dinner to a screeching halt, they’re forced to question their choice. 

Family First is a dark comedy about family approval and the blindness of love.

Produced with a grant awarded by bravoFACT (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent), a division of Bell Media Inc.

Creative team

Writer: Mike McPhaden
Director: Chris Hanratty
Producer: Jennifer Liao, Jennifer Mesich

Director’s statement

Chris Hanratty says:

Family First is based on a true story. No, it’s not. I’m kidding.

It came from my desire to collaborate on a film project with the talented writer Mike McPhaden and it’s not based on either of our families. I promise.

I’ve discovered that the stories I’ve been drawn to telling are focused on the theme of personal responsibility. They are stories that are set within recognizable environments with familiar characters but that present a foreign element that challenges the familiar. They are stories that encourage the audience to question their allegiances to characters.

With this theme in mind Mike and I set about developing the story. Knowing we would have limited resources we wanted to focus on one location or event, something that was immediately relatable and identifiable.

Once we had our event, a family dinner, we found the unique spin that would challenge the familiar and push the story. Then Mike took that idea and wrote a really remarkable script.

With that script we were able to attract two very wonderful producers, Jennifer Liao and Jennifer Mesich, and a great cast and crew. A group of people who really went above and beyond and made this short film experience a truly amazing one for me.

I hope you enjoy the film. ”

About Chris Hanratty


Chris Hanratty is a Toronto-based filmmaker and theatre director.

His first short film, Family First, has screened at numerous international festivals including Palm Springs International Short Fest and the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival. It was nominated for a 2011 Golden Sheaf Award for Best Comedy.

His second short film, Rung, made its international premier at the TRIBECA Film Festival and is continuing its festival run.

Chris is currently working on his first feature and, as artistic director of UnSpun Theatre, is adapting the novel The Tin Drum for the stage.

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