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Other People's Houses

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Contact: Emilie McDonald   
Starring: Arlo Northrop-Kiel, Ayesha Ozturk, Cynthia King, Emilie McDonald, Iza Ozturk, Jeff Dickinson, Joy Marr, Larissa Kiel, Laura Cherry, Miranda Smolanoff, Sabrina Marr
Director: Emilie McDonald
Writer: Emilie McDonald
Producer: Jr., William K. Scurry
Runtime: 17 min
Synopsis: SHANNON, a single mom in New York City, ekes out a meager existence with her 2 year-old daughter MIRANDA. They wander the streets and playgrounds day after day, searching for connection with others. Shannon desperately wants to be a part of a clique of upwardly mobile mothers who frequent the same playground as she and Miranda. None of the mothers are especially friendly, but of the group, a Pakistani mother named SIYANA is the kindest to Shannon. The other mothers include CHESTNUT, JENNY and PATSY.Shannon and Miranda walk down industrial streets in Queens with Manhattan far in the distance behind them.Shannon and Miranda walk behind Siyana and Chestnut to the local park. Siyana and Chestnut push their daughters in the swings and Shannon asks Miranda if she’d like to join them, but she declines. A local gym owner named LOU hands out flyers to the ladies. When he approaches Shannon, he puts a hand on her arm as he speaks to her, then impresses her with a back flip after he says goodbye.At home, Shannon feeds Miranda a simple dinner of pizza and broccoli. Her phone rings but she doesn’t answer it. It is her mother calling from far-away Arizona.After Miranda goes to sleep, Shannon torments herself by trolling the facebook page that is frequented by the local moms who talk about their frequent get-togethers.At the park, Shannon spots the clique of moms across the street and takes her attention off of Miranda. Jenny gossips to the others about seeing Shannon using food stamps at the local grocery store. Siyana and Chestnut come into the park and give a lukewarm hello to Shannon. Shannon tells Siyana they should get the girls together and takes it a step further by calling Siyana to make sure she has Shannon’s phone number.Back at Shannon’s apartment, Shannon and Lou make awkward love on the couch. Shannon hears Miranda crying in the monitor and rushes to the next room. Lou hears Shannon singing to Miranda in the monitor and gets dressed to leave. Shannon comes out as Lou is leaving and tells him she didn’t finish. He says he’ll make it up to her and leaves. Shannon is dejected.The next day, Shannon calls Siyana and leaves her an awkward voice mail inviting her over to her “messy and not completely toddler-proofed” place.Shannon and Miranda walk down a beautiful tree-lined street of houses and knock on Chestnut’s door, much to Chestnut’s surprise. Chestnut lets them in and it is revealed that Siyana invited Shannon over. The play date is on the fancy side with fine cheeses, crackers and wine being served. Shannon gives Chestnut a bag with “juice” in it (really orange soda) and the women snicker as they invite Shannon into the living room.The women joke about being a secret society of nursing moms and Shannon asks if they’re still breastfeeding. Patsy takes offense to this.Shannon offers goldfish to Chestnut’s daughter Laura and Chestnut intervenes, saying she doesn’t allow her daughter to eat junk food.Shannon takes a moment to herself to go into the bathroom and try to build herself up in the mirror enough to go back to the party.Shannon takes liquid courage with several glasses of wine. The women talk about how much they love being stay-at-home moms with each other and wonder aloud what they would do if they didn’t live in NYC but instead in rural Kansas. Shannon says people in the country have fun and don’t think about the things they do in the city. When no one relates to what she’s saying, she turns to Siyana and says that she must know what she’s talking about because she’s from Pakistan. Siyana says she’s from a city and is tired of people always assuming Pakistan is backwards. A few moments later, Shannon takes her awkward comments a step further by telling Siyana she thought of her the other day when she heard of the terrorist attempt. Even though Shannon doesn’t mean anything bad by it, Siyana is offended and Shannon is shunned by all the women at the party. She and Miranda leave, shamed.That night, Shannon takes an extra moment to appreciate the sight of her beautiful sleeping daughter.The next day, Shannon and Miranda enjoy themselves more than usual at the park, laughing and playing together. Shannon ignores Jenny and Patsy who sit nearby.As Shannon is walking down the street with Miranda, she spots Siyana through the window of a Turkish store, shopping for dry goods. She waits for Siyana to come out of the store and takes the opportunity to apologize. Siyana is gracious but Shannon expresses that she said the things she said because she was insecure around the other women and promises never to do it again. The two women and their daughters walk down the street together.Shannon and Miranda eat ice cream together in an ice cream shop.At Miranda’s bedtime, Shannon shows Miranda an old-fashioned Fisher Price record player and they sing a song together. Shannon puts Miranda in bed and turns off all the lights and turns on the light-up stars in Miranda’s window.
Genre: Drama, Islamic
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