The Indie Filmmakers
Guide to Thanksgiving

By Lauren Mahomes

Ah, it’s finally Thanksgiving. One of the most magical times of the year. Where we all get together, sing songs, and watch football until all the food digests. What? What’s that you say? What is the point of Thanksgiving? You don’t know any Thanksgiving songs? You think we’re talking about soccer?  Dear me, it appears that quite a few things have been lost in translation.

So maybe you don’t understand Thanksgiving or the subsequent commercial holiday, Black Friday. Just accept it as one of those crazy American things that we do. Or, think of it as we do: step one in the eventual domination, I mean, revolution. Just kidding. Sort of.

Films have been trying to understand and break down this ugly duckling of a holiday just as long as you have. This list is comprised of some of the best turkey day has to offer along with reasons why you should care (hint: family is a big theme).  The latter is almost irrelevant. How else were you going to spend your Thursday evening?


Hannah and Her Sisters, 1986

Hannah and Her Sisters

Widely seen to be one of Woody Allen’s finest, this film brings us to two thankful family gatherings that end up making the family closer than ever.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because if you strip away all the drama and food, what you really have is a story of the interaction of three sisters. It’s a great study for character interaction and dialogue.


Pieces of April, 2003

Pieces of April

The story of a girl who thinks she can bring her dysfunctional family cooking a turkey. In some way, this makes sense.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Most of the movie is shot in a verite style to add realism to the story of a family in need of some connection.  Fortunately,  that connection comes from watching Katie Holmes struggle to make the quintessential Thanksgiving dinner.


The House of Yes, 1997

The House of Yes

A dark comedy about a woman whose obsessions with her brother and Jackie Kennedy     blow up in an amusingly horrifying way when her brother brings his fiancé over for Thanksgiving.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Thanksgiving themed, violent, incestual, Kennedy inspired dark comedies RULE.  Not to mention, it’s got indie favorite, Parker Posey in the lead.  Is anyone else reminded of For Your Consideration?


ThanksKilling, 2009


One very fed up turkey starts hacking up college kids on their thanksgiving break.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because you often learn a lot more about the holidays through their horror films. What would Christmas be without Black Christmas or Silent Night, Deadly Night? And you can’t say you haven’t wondered about the turkey’s point of view.

There! You’re all set for the big day. Now roast your turkey, bake your pies and settle in with these films in between the parades and the (American) football games.

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About The Author

Lauren MahomesLauren is a 21 year old Communication student from Wake Forest University studying abroad and interning at Raindance.

She aspires to manage public relations and marketing for a film distributor or become an entertainment lawyer or those failing, avenge Caesar's death..

In her spare time she enjoys watching films, reading, dancing and most recently, cooking and globetrotting.


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