The Story When Mia Stein, a neurotic, rock’n’roll 30-something music producer, learns her mother, Helen Stein, an overbearing, epitome of femininity type, has been admitted to the hospital, Mia flies across country to New York City. When she arrives, it’s only to be told her mother’s cancer is back and the brain tumor is inoperable. Faced with the reality of her mother’s failing health, Mia decides to move Helen to Portland, Oregon to live with her. While Helen’s devotion and love for her daughter is unwavering, she just wishes she could change one little thing: Mia’s sexuality. Mia is immediately subjected to her Mother’s blatant denial of her sexuality and inability to accept Mia’s on again off again hipster girlfriend. Mia is a top female record producer and her future success rides on her ability to launch a reunion tour of the 80’s British rock band, WILDLIFE. Helen tries unsuccessfully to set Mia up with various men including male members of the band and crew of WILDLIFE. Helen bribes Alex, Mia’s assistant, with a shopping trip to Louis Vuitton where she stumbles and falls into the arms of Cole Davis, a strong, charismatic pilot. After Helen ambushes Mia with an arranged lunch date with Cole, Mia
becomes intoxicated and makes a fool out of herself in the restaurant as well as embarrasses her mother. Just when it seems that everyone is at a breaking point the combination of gentle urging from Cole, irate insistence from Mia, and a well-timed episode of “Ellen” helps Helen decide to accept Mia for who she is. As Helen and Cole’s relationship develops romantically and Helen’s health declines, Mia confronts her mother’s inability to share the truth of her cancer with Cole. Dr. Samantha Harrison, Helen’s gentle, compassionate oncologist, enlightens Mia of a new study at UCLA Medical Center that may help her mother. Encouraged, Mia secretly meets with Cole and hatches a plan to fly Helen to Los Angeles so she can be treated at UCLA. Dr. Harrison accompanies them and unbeknownst to Helen, Cole is flying the private plane. When Helen discovers the scheme and becomes upset, Cole calms her and assures Helen he is in this for the long haul, whatever the outcome. Mia ends up having a relationship with Samantha, and Helen accepts: after all her daughter is with a doctor. It may not be exactly how Helen had imagined it, but Mia is happy and that’s all Helen ever really wanted.
Helen In her mid-50’s, Helen Stein is the epitome of femininity and sex appeal. As the mother of Mia, Helen loves everything about her daughter and is constantly bragging to anyone who will listen about Mia’s job as a music Producer. There’s only one thing she wishes she could change: Mia’s sexual preference for women. When Helen’s cancer recurs and she has to move across the country to live with Mia, her deep denial of her daughter’s sexuality is triggered. In order to feel in control, Helen hatches a wellintended but totally screwball plan to fix Mia up with a man. After her plan almost sabotages Mia’s career, Helen realizes that the only person she can change is herself.
Played By Bonnie Root
Mia Stein, 32, rock ‘n’ roll chic, sexy, beautiful with an edge, has always had a contentious relationship with her mother, Helen. Mia’s way of dealing with her mother’s denial of her sexuality was to move out of New York City to Portland, Oregon and pursue her career as a record producer. When Helen’s doctor tells Mia she needs to make arrangements for her mother’s care, she moves Helen to Portland. Upon Helen’s arrival, Mia’s personal and professional life are subjected to Helen’s beliefs and crazy-making antics including Helen’s only goal: to fix Mia up with a man no matter how much Mia abhors the notion.
Cole Cole Davis, 46, accomplished, worldly and single. Cole is an effortlessly stylish man. Being a pilot, his confident, dynamic and charismatic nature make him a desirable romantic companion among several generations of women. Cole is immediately smitten with Helen when she literally falls into his arms outside of Louis Vuitton.Â
Alex Alex, 29, is a gay, sexy, quick witted, acerbic man with a very smart & hip stye. Alex, is Mia’s best friend and assistant at the record company. Alex’s friendship is questioned by Mia when Helen succeeds in bribing Alex with luxury goods to gain entrance into Mia’s inner circle.
Locations Arranging Mia is shot entirely on location in Portland, Oregon, features Oregon-made products and showcases local artists. Why? Because nothing gives more depth to a film than authentic locations, and behind the tourist haunts and bike-cliches is a city full of buildings, businesses, and people that are characters in themselves.
Influences The framing and composition choices in Autumn Sonata blended with the realistic fluidity of the camera movements from Beginnerâ€™s inspire a tone for Arranging Mia that is naturalistic yet intentional.
The Kids Are Alright, a modern American classic comedy explores the journey of a nontraditional family healing through discovery, acceptance, love and forgiveness similar in story tone to Arranging Mia.
The Kids Are All Right
Brett J. Cranford
Born and raised in Brush Prairie, WA Joanie has long been involved in the arts. At age 17 she moved to Boston to dance professionally with “Boston Gold”, a jazz and tap ensemble. Within 2 years she was in New York City performing on Broadway at Radio City Music Hall with “The Wizard of Oz, Live”. After a successful run at Radio City Music Hall she went on to do many national tours, off-Broadway productions and numerous television commercials. She evolved from a dancer into an actor, which led her to move to Los Angeles where she landed a recurring role on the Emmy winning television show “ER”. Other TV & Film credits include, “Grey’s Anatamy”, “JAG” and “The Fighting Temptations”. Joanie also has an original script she wrote called “Skater Boy” with Paramount Pictures and MTV
Films. She is currently in postproduction on a documentary she produced and directed called “accept ME”. It is the story of a group of young artists in Brockton, Massachusetts who came together to create a message of antibulling through a multi-media mixed art show based on their own personal experiences of being bullied or being the bully. Joanie began her producing career when she was granted the rights by the family of Nelson Rodriguez, Brazil’s most prolific writer, poet and playwright to produce the North American premiere of “Wedding Dress” at Theatre 40 in Los Angeles. Her first foray into producing earned the play numerous Ovation awards. Joanie’s many talents and experiences lead her to her next venture, to produce her first feature, “Arranging Mia”.
Holding an M.B.A. in Management, Brett’s first independent film project was in 2005 for Ravenwolf Films titled THE GREY MAN. This was followed by STREET, THE ASSISTANT, and the innovative SOME DAYS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS starring indie rock musicians James Mercer of The Shins and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater Kinney. Other projects on which Mr. Cranford has completed work are the William Hurt film THE RIVER WHY and GOLF IN THE KINGDOM. In recent years, Brett has worked on projects with Gus Van Sant including the
Cannes Film Festival 60th Anniversary award winner PARANOID PARK, “8” for the United Nations, and RESTLESS which he Co-Produced with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. His TV credits include the hit series GILMORE GIRLS, WITHOUT A TRACE and the hit NBC series GRIMM. He recently completed work on the soon to be released film NIGHT MOVES starring Jesse Eisenburg and Dakota Fanning as well as the highly anticipated adaptation of the novel YOU CAN’T WIN starring Michael Pitt.
Susan brings thirty years of business management and experience with over 13 of those years working with the media industry. Susan started Paydogs, an Oregon-based production payroll services company, in 2010. Paydogs provides payroll and accounting support to commercial producers and indie filmmakers. Susan worked at the Oregon Governor’s Office of Film & Television from 2000 to 2010. Her focus was on operations, administration of the incentive programs, and outreach to the independent filmmaker community. Susan has served as a Legislative Aide in the Oregon House and has volunteered as a board
member for ITT Technical Institute, The Art Institute of Portland, Clackamas Community College, Sabin-Schellenberg Technical School, POW Fest, Film Action Oregon, Oregon Media Production Association, and the Ashland Film Festival. Susan is currently a board member of the North Portland Media Training Center and is Treasurer of the Board for the Portland Chapter of Women in Film. Susan has also served as a juror for POW Fest, the 48 Hour Film Challenge, Tacoma Film Festival, Youth Visions Film Challenge and the International Short Docs Competition.
Bonnie Root was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. Early on she developed a passion for the dramatic arts and eagerly explored all the creative avenues available to her in the Northwest, including live theatre, music, film, and television. In the late nineties Bonnie relocated to Los Angeles and was shortly thereafter cast as a series regular in the John Wells produced show, TRINITY, this brought her to New York, where she worked and lived for the next several years. While in New York, Root also starred in two notable independent comedy features COMING SOON and IN THE WEEDS working along side Ryan Reynolds, Mia Farrow, Peter Bogdanovich, Molly Ringwald and Ellen Pompeo. More recently Bonnie has starred in Alison Eastwood’s directorial debut RAILS AND TIES opposite Kevin Bacon
and she appeared on the hit series COLD CASE for two seasons as A.D.A. Alexandra Thomas. She has continued to appear frequently on television shows such as CSI, Criminal Minds, Close to Home, Without a Trace, Law and Order, The Mentalist and most recently the FX hit series JUSTIFIED. In addition to Bonnie’s acting career she is also a singer, filmmaker and producer, her first short film SISSY garnered multiple awards, including Best Film at the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival as well as Best Film at The London Bootleg Fest. Sissy is currently being developed into a full-length feature, which Root is set to write and direct. Bonnie currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband John who is a music supervisor for film and television.
Derek Rieth began his musical career focusing on Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian folkloric and popular drumming styles. His studies have taken him to Cuba, Brazil, New Orleans and New York. His teachers include Jorge Alabe, Boca “Rum” Bezerra, Regino Jiménez, Jesús Alfonso, Pello Gonzalez, Miguelito Bernal, Terecita Domé-Pérez, Michael Spiro, Scotty Wardinsky and Kpani Addy. In 1996, Derek, along with Brian Davis and Andrew Hartzell, co-founded the Lions of Batucada, a Brazilian-style percussion ensemble. Aside from his work with Pink Martini, he performs with Jujuba, GoGrinGoGo, and Free Beat Nation, a Marching Brass band in the style of Maracatu. In addition, he works with Axe Dide, which presents music and dance traditions of the Caribbean, Central and South America.
With a performance and installation background and a Master of Fine Arts in Film from the California Institute of the Arts, Emilie brings a fine art perspective to her designs. Her installation and video works have been screened nationally and internationally at such venues as the Prague Quadrennial, REDCAT/ Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the PACT Festival in Essen, Germany. She has served as Art Director on various commercials and artistic films, including the award-winning short, ‘Sissy’, directed by Bonnie Root. Emilie’s work as a creative consultant and artist allows her to bring the best of the art world aesthetic into traditionally narrative filmmaking. Originally from the Midwest, she lives in Los Angeles.