Best Narrative Film Award Winner!
Directed by Johanna Putnam


YES! Filmmaker(s) Attending for Q&A

Sat Apr 6, 2024 – 7:30 pm | Hendricks Arts Center
Sun Apr 7, 2024 – 2:30 pm | Visit Beloit
Mon Apr 8, 2024 – 7:30 pm | Hendricks Arts Center

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Directed by Johanna Putnam
Narrative Feature
United States | 106 min | 2022

Sam returns to her childhood home in the wake of her mother’s mysterious death, spiraling down a rabbit hole of grief, suspicion and isolation.

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

Cinema Femme Magazine

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

SCREEN Magazine

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

Chicago Reader

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

The Film Stage

Shudderbugs was born while quarantining with my parents in my childhood farmhouse in spring 2020. Our frustrations and confusions during this unprecedented time were tempered by throwing ourselves into an incredible challenge. We’d make our own feature film, start to finish. With the soaring pandemic in New York came vast limitations. As our locations, crew, on-screen talent, and other key elements of traditional filmmaking were stifled, we replaced those pieces with what we did have available: the natural beauty of our isolated environment, time, excessive planning, the three of us, youtube tutorials, cinephilia, and bugs. Lots of bugs.

Shudderbugs is our attempt to capture the psychological experience of a woman unraveling, and to portray our minds’ abilities to inform and adapt our realities, beyond logic and reason, often by necessity. In equal measure, we were drawn to telling a story of grief: the weird ways we wrestle and wrangle it, and the very different ways we learn to live with it. In the spaces between childhood and adulthood, memory and present, imagination and reality, live all the versions of who we are and how we may behave in the scariest and most difficult of moments.

We hope Shudderbugs may offer a voice in our collective portraits and conversations on grief.

– Johanna

Shudderbugs - Poster

Shudderbugs -Johanna PutnamJohanna Putnam

After graduating from Dartmouth College with a degree in Theater and Film Studies, Johanna spent a decade in Los Angeles acting in various shorts and features. She returned to the east coast, determined to create her own work of independent vision and artistic storytelling. Shudderbugs is her first full creation as producer, writer and first-time director.

Film Information

Director: Johanna Putnam
Country: United States
Year: 2022
Language: English
Runtime: 106 min
Rated:  PG


Writer: Johanna Putnam
Producer: Johanna Putnam, Brennan Brooks, Jamie Unruh
Cinematography: Brennan Brooks
Editor: Jamie Unruh
Composer: Eric Elterman

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Principal Cast

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