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Directors Statement: by Justin O'Neill

Everyone has a cycle and a history within their family that looms and plagues their mind. As we grow up, we become more aware of the struggles, the triumphs, and the journey that make up our family tree. This begs the question: 


How much of our identity is sculpted by the influences of past generations? And how much of that identity is truly ourselves?


As somebody who grew up in a family with a history of substance abuse, I had to come to terms with the fact that I carried a seed that could sprout a vicious garden if not planted cautiously. Despite having self control of my own life, I still had this looming fear that I would succumb to this cycle sometime in the future. I found myself scared of something that may not even happen; I was scared of the unknown...


Now just turning 21 years old and in college, this fear has only been amplified with the glorification of alcohol surrounding me constantly. I’ve witnessed numerous of my close friends be reliant on alcohol regularly, despite themselves being part of that same generational cycle as me. 

I wrote this film as an outlet to express the effects of generational alcoholism through three characters that span three different generations. The past, the present, and the future. While many films focus on the addict, I chose to project these themes through the lens of somebody who is next in line within this lineage of addiction and the existential anxieties that come with that.


I wrote this film to heighten the awareness of generational alcoholism, the invisible plague that affects modern day families both young and old. 


To Orbit Around A Dying Star

During Neil’s brief return home for his 21st birthday, he witnesses the declining state of his drug addict grandfather who recently moved into the in law suite of Neil’s childhood home. Neil’s father Buzz, constantly tells him that there is no more hope for Grandpa, however Neil continues to persevere anyway. As the film progresses, the hands of reality choke Neil’s optimism as he must come to terms with the fact that he can’t save Grandpa and that only Grandpa can save himself. Therefore leading to Neil's crippling fear of the unknown, and what lies beyond it for himself. 



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Neil Astra: 


      A college student who attends college very far away, relying on a plane to get there. Despite originally going far away to escape the drama of his family and yearning for independence, he quickly learns that things have gotten much worse during his absence. Neil is portrayed as being optimistic and a forgiving person, both of these traits stem from watching his own father become sober when he was younger. These traits are the catalyst for him believing that he can save his Grandfather from his addiction.  Despite both his father and grandfather being estranged, Neil attempts to mend their relationship. He is essentially the “middle man” in between the conflict. His biggest fear is continuing the cycle of addiction that has been passed down through his family lineage. 



Buzz Astra:


      Father of Neil and also share the same birthday as each other. Buzz used to be a heavy alcoholic throughout Neil’s childhood, but sobered up a couple years prior. Despite not being the best role model for Neil, Buzz attempts to redeem himself.  Has an estranged relationship with his own father (Grandpa). He tried to help Grandpa basically his whole life, but nothing made an impact, causing him to give up completely. After losing his mother (Neil’s Grandmother) Grandpa lost the house, which forced Buzz to take him in to live in the in-law suite. Despite seemingly not caring for Grandpa on the surface, he yearns for his father to be saved from his addiction.  


Michael “Grandpa” Astra


      “A force of nature.” He only cares about things if they only benefit himself. Grandpa has always gone in and out of addiction throughout most of his adult life. His wife (Neil’s Grandmother) passed away a couple months previously. The absence of Grandma caused Grandpa to become financially unstable, which forced Buzz to take Grandpa in after losing his house.  His constant drug abuse and alcoholism cause him to make questionable/unpredictable actions. He wears neon sunglasses, because he doesn’t want people to see him, but yet he brings attention to himself with them on. Grandpa is very much self aware of his addiction, but chooses to ignore that part of him. 

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Concluding Statement

Generational alcoholism and addiction is a blatant universal problem...

yet it is still ignored. 


With your help, our voice can be heard. Head to our link below to support our film and bring it to fruition.

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