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October Country
is a beautifully rendered portrait of an American family struggling for stability while haunted by the ghosts of war, teen pregnancy, foster care and child abuse. A collaboration between filmmaker Michael Palmieri and photographer and family member Donal Mosher, this vibrant and penetrating documentary examines the forces that unsettle the working poor and the violence that lurks beneath the surface of American life.

Every family has its ghosts. The Mosher family has more than most. Shot over a year from one Halloween to the next, the film creates a stunning cinematic portrait of a family who are unique but also sadly representative of the struggles of America's working class. The film was created to be both a universal story of family struggle and a socially conscious portrait of compelling, articulate individuals grappling with the forces that tear at their homes and relationships.

Combining the access only available to a family member with an intimate visual style of a filmmaker encountering the family's dynamics for the first time, the film gives a deeply personal voice to the national issues of economic instability, domestic abuse, war trauma, and sexual molestation. As the Moshers do their best to confront their ghosts, we confront the broader issues that haunt us all in the continued struggle for the American Dream.


Directors Statement:
From the moment we saw each other's work we knew we wanted to work together, and from the moment we visited Donal's family we knew we wanted to collaborate on a film with them. Though the concept of the film was initially inspired by Donal's first-person photo work and writing about his family, as the Moshers opened up to Mike's fresh perspective and way of filming it became apparent that their daily lives should shape the material in a new way. We both felt that the strength of their voices, characters, and stories should be the focus of the film. After all, here is a family facing some of the most difficult problems of the working poor with endurance, self–awareness and ironic humor — all qualities denied their class by mainstream media.

A central idea behind October Country is that people who cannot make their voices heard begin to feel like ghosts in their own lives. When this happens they no longer feel they have the power to change their world. At a time when working class families find themselves disenfranchised and trapped by circumstances beyond their control, it is vitally important to present working class voices — voices that are neither an economic statistic nor a reality TV exploitation, but create an opportunity for change for both the speaker and the audience. In a key scene, the witchy Denise stands in a cemetery, asking the unseen spirits, "Anybody want to talk to me? Can you tell me your name? Why do you stay here?" With October Country we wanted to bring the spirit of these questions to the viewer in the hopes of raising some answers.


Michael Palmieri
comes from an extensive background as a director of music videos, commercials, short films, and episodic television. He is perhaps best known for his music video collaborations with artists such as Beck, The Strokes, Belle and Sebastian and the New Pornographers. He is a frequent collaborator with other filmmakers as a director of photography, editor, and post supervisor. His work includes collaborations with artists as diverse as the cinematographer Christopher Doyle, the writer, journalist and cartoonist Garry Trudeau, the fine artist Tauba Auerbach, and the documentary filmmaker Rob Epstein. He is an adjunct professor of film at CCA in San Francisco and resides in Portland, Oregon. More of his work can be found at michaelpalmieri.com.


Donal Mosher
is a photographer, writer, and musician. His photo documentary work inspired the film October Country. Portions of the project have been shown in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco's SF Camerawork as well as online at the Marjorie Wood Gallery. His fiction and non-fiction writings have appeared in Instant City, Satellite, Frozen Tears and Still Blue, an anthology of working class writing. He is also a principle subject of Robert Arnold's documentary film "Key of G," which focuses on life and work with a severely disabled young man. Selections of his writings and photographic work can be found at ghostype.blogspot.com and donalmosher.com.