Female Filmmaker Friday: Hannah Pearl Utt and Jenn Tullock Pen New Comedy "Before You Know It"

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"It's about growing up and waking up."

Friends and co-writers, Hannah Pearl Utt and Jen Tullock have been working on bits of "Before You Know" for a long time. With both trying to find their individual ways in an industry of many overlapping paths, both women made their own creative ventures--acting, writing, directing, and producing short films and television. Working on opposite coasts, Utt and Tullock managed to come together, bringing with them everything they had learned from individual projects. What came was the script for their first feature length film. Both writers were able to workshop it through the Writers' Lab, where veteran actress, Judith Light, was cast from the beginning, and even took part in creating her character.

The result is "Before You Know It"; written by Utt and Tullock, staring Utt and Tullock as sisters who learn that a mother they believed to be dead is, not only alive, but working on a soap opera. The film is also directed by Utt. The story is funny, but also a deep study into a dysfunctional family dynamic and the power family has over all of us; sometimes in a way that holds us back. Both sisters lean on each other, in good ways and bad.

The chaos of filming your first feature can be stressful. Tullock gives all the credit to Utt:

"Maintaining a spirit of calm and kindness even the face of what felt like what might be a bit of a battle, there is a trickle down effect there and that really informed the rest of the shoot, and I think informed the performances too."

The cast includes legends such as Mandy Patinkin, Judith Light, and Alec Baldwin. It debuted at Sundance earlier this year, and is now in theaters.