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The Mirror Game

Directed by William J. Stribling
Narrative Feature
USA | 87 min | 2021

Two old friends. One big ask.

Filmed covertly (and safely) over five nights in a Las Vegas hotel room during the global pandemic, The Mirror Game is the story of a friendship pushed to its limits. Childhood friends Rose and Abe both find themselves in Las Vegas on the same weekend, but when Rose asks Abe for a life-changing favor, the evening takes a turn for the unexpected, and the two spend the night trying to beat the odds.

“RELATIVE Q&A with Wendy Robie (TWIN PEAKS), Clare Cooney, Emily Lape, Melissa DuPrey and More!”

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“Grand Jury Award for Chicago Indie RELATIVE and WALKING DEAD star Roberts”

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“At the Siskel Center, Rogers Park is Tuesday’s Star”

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“A Family is at a Crossroads in Exclusive Trailer for Michael Glover Smith’s RELATIVE”

The Film Stage

I’ve always been skeptical of the phrase “dysfunctional family” since all families would seem dysfunctional if one were able to observe them closely enough. In creating RELATIVE, my goal was to contrive a scenario that would allow me to lift the veil on the complex bonds that exist between members of a modern American family — showing the deep love and affection between them on the one hand and the resentments and jealousies roiling just under the surface on the other. I also wanted to capture the inherent sadness of how families evolve and ultimately “disintegrate” (to quote Fran Guinan’s character) over time.

RELATIVE asks what it means to be a parent, a child, a brother, a sister. While my previous three films deal with romantic relationships between characters in their 20s and 30s, RELATIVE primarily examines parent-child relationships and sibling bonds across three generations of the same family. I strove to stretch myself as a writer/director by creating characters of diverse ages and tried to mine each of their lives for emotional and psychological truth. Thanks to the best ensemble cast with whom I have ever had the pleasure of working, I believe the end result shows, in a manner that I hope is universal and timeless, both the difficulties and the rewards that come with being a relative.

The Mirror Game movie poster | William J. Stribling, Director

William J. Stribling, Director | The Mirror GamesWilliam J. Stribling

William J. Stribling has seen “Weird Al” Yankovic in concert 18 times and counting. Perhaps less importantly, he works in Los Angeles as a director and screenwriter.

He directed the award-winning films Bear with Us (feature), Down in Flames: the True Story of Tony “Volcano” Valenci (short), Lies I Told My Little Sister (feature), Beyond Belief (short), and The Archetypes (short), all of which enjoyed successful film festival runs.

Bear with Us, which he co-wrote with Russ Nickel, spent a year garnering awards on the festival circuit before securing distribution with Comedy Dynamics in 2017. Bear with Us stars Christy Carlson Romano and Cheyenne Jackson, and is currently streaming and on DVD.

Stribling directed the Streamy-nominated web series “Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party” for the YouTube channel Shipwrecked Comedy, as well as several short films. In 2022 he will direct the latest Shipwrecked Comedy web series, Headless, a modern adaptation of Sleepy Hollow.

Stribling’s first feature film, Lies I Told My Little Sister, was a “Geena Davis Selection” from her inaugural Bentonville Film Festival and subsequently released on DVD and streaming by ARC Entertainment.

For Adaptive Studios, Stribling co-created and directed a comedy/sci-fi series called Stellar People, starring Rory Albanese (multiple Emmy-winning writer/producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart). The show will be available online in the near future.

He also works closely with the Latinx band Making Movies as a music video director and creative consultant.

In 2020, Stribling’s sci-fi/action/comedy short film “The Speed of Time” was released on DUST. The film stars John Hennigan (WWE star) and Sean Marquette (ABC’s The Goldbergs).

Stribling is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts with degrees in Film & TV Production and Dramatic Literature. He also has a masters in screenwriting from Chapman University. But he credits any success to the clown camp he attended over the summers as a kid.

Film Information

Director: William J. Stribling
Country: USA
Year: 2021
Language: English
Runtime: 87 min
Rated: R


Writer: Marissa Flaxbart
Producers: Michael Tennant, Marissa Flaxbart, William J. Stribling
Key Cast: Teya Patt, Michael Tennant, Kenny Ridwan

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BIFF - Beloit International Film Festival
BIFF | Beloit International Film Festival