WEEK FOUR UPDATE:
HELP US REACH OUR NEW GOAL OF 35K!
We reached our original goal of 25k in the first five days of our
campaign. We're amazed and humbled. With your support, we're well on
our way to finishing the film!
But do we still need more funds? Absolutely! We want to give Peanut Gallery
the professional finish it deserves. Every dollar will go towards
making the film stronger and getting it out to the folks who need it
most. See the graphic below for details on how the funds will be
When Molly Gandour was 10 years old, her elder sister Aimee died of leukemia.
Like many families, the Gandours could hardly even begin to acknowledge such an immeasurable loss. Together, and yet alone in their grief, they tried to move on with their lives.
Sixteen years later, Molly was working as a successful documentary filmmaker in New York, but she felt angry and adrift, disconnected from her own past. She realized that it was time to talk about Aimee, the sister buried in her memories, whose illness and then absence had so dramatically shaped her life. As Molly says,
“I needed my parents to tell me about my past and I needed to prove to myself that I wasn’t crazy, that my sister’s illness and death had really happened.”
Molly returned home to Indiana in 2010 to attend family therapy with her parents — and filmed the entire experience. Peanut Gallery is the result of this emotional experiment. Along with present-day footage of therapy sessions, family dinners, and scenes around the Gandour home, it weaves together a wealth of documents from the past, including family photos, home videos of Molly and Aimee as children, entries from both sisters' childhood journals, and recorded meetings with Aimee's doctors during her illness.
Peanut Gallery offers a poignant, unflinching record of the Gandours' six-week-long effort to excavate their family's past, to understand the roles they assumed in the face of Aimee's illness and in the wake of her death, and to begin to escape from those roles. In Molly's own words,
"Our story is tragic, but not uncommon. Peanut Gallery shows how a death inevitably reverberates through a family for many years — and how ignoring it makes it worse."
Peanut Gallery is not just about the Gandours’ story. It’s a film about loss, the many shapes grief takes, and what is truly at stake when we neglect to let ourselves mourn.
While Peanut Gallery is an intensely intimate film, its message could not be more universal – or necessary. Death and bereavement are an inevitable part of life, and yet we seem less equipped to cope with them than ever. As Molly observes,
“Even as we’ve gotten better and better at saving lives through medicine and technology, we’ve gotten worse and worse at facing the fact that we all must finally say goodbye to one another, and the result is a great deal of misery and unprocessed emotion.”
We want to change that.
Upon its completion, Peanut Gallery will promote much-needed dialogue and alleviate some of the suffering caused by the lack of widespread public communication about sibling loss, cancer family dynamics, and end-of-life and grief issues in general. These subjects are difficult, but they must be discussed in order to heal. As Molly says,
“As soon as I could name exactly what I had lost, I felt more free to engage with my life as it is now.”
Through educational screening kits, outreach efforts, and panel discussions, Peanut Gallery will undoubtedly serve as a resource for professionals such as thanatologists, psychologists, social workers, pediatricians, pediatric oncologists, mental health counselors, and, perhaps most importantly, the bereaved themselves.
How You Can Help
We are in post-production now and we need your help to finish!
After four years of shooting and editing Peanut Gallery herself, Molly has produced an amazing rough cut, but we need to perfect it to maximize Peanut Gallery's impact. Your contributions will go directly to:
• hiring an editor for a polished final cut
• music licensing
• professional audio mixing and sound sweetening
• color correction and picture work
• designing film titles and visual sequences
• production and distribution deliverable media
And remember to share the campaign with friends, family, and colleagues who may be interested! Together, we can honor our loved ones, end the silence surrounding grief, and build a community of support.