Fri Feb 25, 2022 – 7:30 pm | Domenico’s #2
Sat Feb 26, 2022 – 7:30 pm | Downtown Beloit Association

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The Turkey

Directed by Liz Kaar
Narrative Feature
USA | 84 min | 2021

A friendsgiving goes awry when the relatives show up uninvited… What do you give up and gain for family?

Rita and Marty are planning a last “last hurrah” friendsgiving party before she gets knocked-up with a baby. Unexpectedly, her very mid-western relatives show up, his dream girl is a plus-one, a female best-friendship unravels, and a gray divorce looms large. Set against an impending “snowpocalypse” storm, the party-goers are trapped in the apartment, forced to deal with bombs of love and friendship… and what we give up and gain to start a family.

Stories, fact or fiction, are powerful in shaping who we are as human beings– strengthening our resolve by seeing ourselves reflected on screen, and building empathy for experiences beyond our own. The late film critic Roger Ebert put it best, “The movies are like a machine that generates empathy. It lets you understand a little bit more about different hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears. It helps us to identify with the people who are sharing this journey with us.”

Hollywood has issues. Oh boy, does it ever. And if movies are the great “empathy machine”, isn’t that an insidious problem that reaches to our core?

We need more women / people of color / LGBTQI people making movies. We need them in every position, but also in key positions that dictate how and which stories are told. There has been a lot of discussion around the possible changing of the guard in Hollywood, but if executives are still from that old guard, it will still be hard to access money. Movies are usually hugely collaborative enterprises and often take large amounts of money to get made. Micro-budget films are a way to start making, to not wait for permission by getting a larger budget green lit… something that may never happen. The micro-budget film is a launching pad for diverse stories.

The genesis of The Turkey came on the heels of my own engagement, and us knowing we wanted to start a family– which was both exciting AND terrifying. I decided to do the only logical thing with my anxieties… write a weirdo comedy about it. Although there is plenty in the script that is fictionalized to add dramatic markers needed for good storytelling, much of the content is mined from my own experiences or thought processes. As of recently, I had my first child, and am seeing just how real some of the things turned out to be.

The Turkey -Poster

The Turkey -Liz KaarLiz Kaar

Liz Kaar is an independent director, producer, and editor based in Chicago. She has worked closely with Kartemquin Films, Chicago’s documentary powerhouse, for over a decade. Her editing projects have been honored with a variety of award recognition, including short-listed for the Academy Award, nominated for Emmy and IDA awards, and winning the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism Award.

She recently edited SXSW-premiering documentary The Dilemma of Desire and the festival-favorite short film ‘63 Boycott, directed by Gordon Quinn. She co-directed and edited Hard Earned, a six-part television series for Al Jazeera America about people living on low wages across the United States. She directed, produced, shot and edited Stranded by the State, a web series and TV mini series, co-produced by In These Times magazine and Kartemquin Films, about the human cost of the two-year Illinois budget impasse, the longest a state has gone without a budget since the Great Depression. In the past, she associate-produced and edited the music documentary Andrew Bird: Fever Year, and short film On Beauty. She is currently finishing up two narrative films– producing Computer Hackers, a feature sci-fi comedy, and directing The Turkey, a feature “weirdo” comedy. She is also editing the documentary Any Given Day, a groundbreaking film on people co-existing with mental illness.

Film Information

Director:  Liz Kaar
Country: USA
Year: 2021
Language: English
Runtime: 84 min.


Writer: Liz Kaar
Producer: Jake Myers,
Key CastMary Jesse Price, Billie Bullock, Judy Lea Steele, Jesse Kendall, Xu Mason, Jim Gallanis, Sonal Aggarwal, Jimmy Pennington. Claudia Lao

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