Films We Like Announces Expanded Canadian Theatrical Release: BEFORE YOU KNOW IT

STARRING Mandy Patinkin, Judith Light, Hannah Pearl Utt, Jen Tullock, Mike Colter, and Alec Baldwin

Films We Like is thrilled to announce the theatrical release of BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, a film about a long-kept family secret that thrusts codependent, thirty-something sisters into a literal soap opera.

The film opens on September 20th, 2019 in the following locations: Toronto, ON - TIFF Bell Lightbox Sudbury, ON - Sudbury Indie Cinema Saskatoon, SK - Broadway Theatre

The film opens on October 18th, 2019 in the following locations: Barrie, ON - Barrie Film Festival Vancouver, BC - Vancity Theatre Victoria, BC - The Vic Theatre

Julie Dansker Photos

Writer and director Hannah Pearl Utt (DISENGAGED) also stars in BEFORE YOU KNOW IT along with Mandy Patinkin (HOMELAND), Judith Light (TRANSPARENT), Alec Baldwin (30 ROCK) and Mike Colter (LUKE CAGE).


Hannah Pearl Utt and Jen Tullock

Stage manager Rachel Gurner (Hannah Pearl Utt) still lives in her childhood apartment above the theatre her family owns and operates in New York City. Level-headed Rachel is the only thing standing between her family - her off-kilter actress sister Jackie (Jen Tullock), her eccentric playwright father Mel (Mandy Patinkin), and her deadpan preteen niece Dodge (Oona Yaffe) - and utter chaos. Then, in the wake of a sudden family tragedy, Rachel and Jackie learn their presumed-deceased mother (Judith Light) is not just alive but thriving as a soap-opera star. Also starring Mike Colter and Alec Baldwin.

Before You Know It began in New York with a collaboration between two unlikely friends. When I met Jen Tullock at a birthday party a decade ago, we were like oil and water; we didn’t understand each other and had very little interest in trying. After a week of sharing dead lunch shifts at the same Brooklyn diner, however, it became clear that we were just different sides of the same anxious, theater nerd, ex-homeschooler coin. Many years of friendship, a repertoire of work, and a shared therapist later, Jen and I are playing sisters who embody those first impression versions of ourselves —our greatest fearsabout who we are to each other and the world at large. The movie started with the seed of an idea Jen had: “Sisters find out their presumed dead mother is alive.” We began building out a world wherein this story could reasonably take place and a cast of characters who over the course of many, many drafts died or were resurrected depending on their function to the story’s most recent iteration. As I started to close the gap between the larger-than-life premise and characters who started this journey so many years ago, and what I now understand about my own dysfunction, Before You Know It became an examination of codependency. The movie’s anchoring point is Rachel’s journey to liberate herself from her family, in particular her sister and her father, and the identity she’s created around taking care of them. The great debate of my life has been “what do I owe to others, and what do I owe to myself?” Before You Know It features people who exist at either end of that spectrum, and illustrates how, with communication and taking responsibility for yourself, it is possible to find a healthy middle ground. For me, both the tragedy and the comedy of the film is that each of its perpetually-seeking characters are just an honest conversation away from peace.

Having grown up with a bit of a wild-child sister who influenced me more than any other single person or thing in my life, I am drawn to complicated and flawed women. Having grown up with a father whose personality filled every room to bursting, I’m also interested in what it has meant for me to maneuver around the men in my life, and the effect that has had on my relationship to other women. (Sorry, Mom, you didn’t do anything wrong, so you weren’t an inspiration for this —psyche! Quiet tolerance is its own form of control). And because I love my family and owe them everything I am and most of what I know, I’ve tried to treat the characters in Before You Know It like beautiful pieces of the same imperfect puzzle —or imperfect pieces of the same beautiful puzzle. That said, the best part of making this movie was seeing it resonate in an equally personal way with others. I began directing because it was the most natural synthesis of the skills and experiences I’d accumulated throughout my life. It feels fitting that my greatest skill as a director has been synthesizing the talents of my collaborators. I had some brilliant collaborators on Before You Know It. There was so much I learned about the story from the people who helped me bring it to life, the finished film is a gift to them. When people are vulnerable and honest together, I believe incredible things are possible. I hope our audience walks away from this movie feeling the same.

Hannah Pearl Utt and Jen Tullock

Courtesy of Taro PR

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