Female Filmmaker Friday: Elizabeth Chomko, Director and Writer of 'What They Had'

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"My grandmother had Alzheimer's, and it wasn't like anything we saw in 'The Notebook'."

Elizabeth Chomko is an American director, screenwriter, playwright, and actress from Chicago, Illinois.

Mostly known for her plays, Chomko made her directorial and screenwriting debut at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival with her film What They Had. The film stars Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Robert Forester, Blythe Danner, Josh Lucas, and Taissa Farmiga. The film tackles Alzheimer’s Disease and a family it affects.

The script helped Chomko be chosen for the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriter’s Lab in 2014. It won the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting.

The story, itself, is very personal for Chomko, and comes from a place of family and wanting to create storytelling she wasn’t seeing when she went out for auditions as an actress. There’s grief, as there normally is when discussing Alzheimer’s, but Chomoko makes a point to include funny moments as well. Sometimes, when things are at their most bleak, we slip into a bit of euphoria.

Be sure to watch this interview with Chomko about  her film What They Had: