Portland, Oregon | Film Feature

Comedy, Drama

Brian Padian

1 Campaigns | Oregon, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $25,830 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

175 supporters | followers

Enter the amount you would like to pledge


“Sister/Brother” is a dramatic comedy about Nora Miles: recently-divorced, debt-burdened, and struggling actress desperate to rise from the ashes of her mistakes.

In Partnership With

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

“Sister/Brother” is a female-driven narrative that focuses on internal growth and rebirth. We are dedicated to seek cultural diversity in key roles on screen and behind the camera.

The Story


     Sister/Brother is a feature film about Nora Miles, a strong woman at a weak point in her life. Recently-divorced, debt-burdened, and desperate to rise from the ashes of her mistakes, Nora drives from Portland to Seattle with her younger brother Scotty to attend a dinner party thrown by her old boyfriend Tucker, a rich tech investor she hasn’t seen since high school. Across the evening, Nora begins to doubt her intentions and is faced with a life-altering decision.

     Short-listed for the 2018 Sundance Screenwriters Lab and a Finalist for the MovieMaker Production Grant, Sister/Brother begins production in Spring 2019 for 17 days in and around Portland, with 3 additional days for exteriors in Seattle, WA and Astoria, OR. Attached to the project are two amazing actors I’ve collaborated with on previous projects: Erin McGarry, a regular on “Portlandia” and featured on "The Librarians and "Grimm" will play Nora, and Todd Tschida, a staple in the Portland theater scene will play her brother Scotty. The roles of Nora and Scotty were written specifically for Erin and Todd.  Attached behind the camera are three equally-amazing prior collaborators: Producer David Mark Marion, award-winning cinematographer Scott Ballard, and editor Evonne Moritz, all of whom were on my debut feature The Black Sea. Portland composer Scott Unrein is also aboard. (You can hear his work in the video above.) 

       Our goal here is to raise at least $25,000. This is the bare-bones, rock-bottom budget needed to build tracks to get the train rolling into production.  More money of course is good! Our total estimated production budget is $75,000. To raise the rest we are pursuing additional financing from a small group of targeted investors. Grants will make up the difference where necessary. We have applied or are in process for applying for Sister/Brother support from the Oregon Arts Media Fellowship, the Regional Arts + Culture Council, the Roy W. Dean Film Grant, the SFFILM/Westridge Grant, and the MovieMaker Production Services Grant.  


 Hometown Heroes:

We are thrilled to present Sister/Brother as a participant in Seed & Spark's Hometown Heroes program. This is a Portland, Oregon production. We'll shoot 90 percent of the movie in and around Portland with mostly local cast, crew, and vendors. Many of our incentives are Portland-based including, paintings, books, photography, baked goods, brunch with rock-star writers et cetera. Please check out the incentives and help us celebrate Portland and Oregon in equal force. ( If we win Hometown Heroes we'll receive $50,000 and the imprimateur of the Duplass Brothers, both of which would be a huge, glorious boon to this project.) 



Sister/Brother came about when Erin McGarry and I started talking about movies we loved and what we loved about them. From there, we isolated key elements and used them as a framework for our movie - a compressed time-frame via Before Sunrise, a meal central to the narrative via Big Night, straddling the line of light and dark via Hannah & Her Sisters, lots of driving and talking via The Trip. When I talk about the movie I say it's a mix of Eric Rohmer, Lynn Shelton, Richard Linklater. 

 additional movies referenced: Ball of Fire, After Hours, Babette's Feast, The Savages, You Can Count on Me, Sideways, Your Sister's Sister, Fanny & Alexander,  and so forth. 



 Director's Statement:

I am very interested in time, memory, and how the imprint of our person moves through the decades. Sister/Brother is brisk and dialogue-driven but with a deeper resonance underneath: the tick-tock of mortality, of parents and children reversing roles, of time compressing everything as it progresses inevitably forward, and so on. At the core of the film is Nora’s rebirth and renewal. This concept is one I relate to deeply. My life and filmmaking career was knocked off-course by a brain tumor that gut-punched me in 2005. Though I am back from the brink and have directed films since, it is only just now, years later, that I feel myself start to uncoil, able now to fully survey the dark wreckage of that time. Making Sister/Brother will be a beautiful furthering of this process. In key ways, Nora is a stand-in for my own rebirth and return.


Fiscal Sponsorship:

The first draft of Sister/Brother was developed in part at the very excellent Stowe Story Labs in beautiful Vermont. They are providing fiscal sponsorship for this project, which means for most levels your contribution is fully tax-deductible



Your love and support will help us on the path to realize this film’s vision. Please follow this campaign on Seed & Spark and spread the word. Thank you for joining us on this ride!


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Camera Car

Costs $3,000

We are shooting the driving sequences in the field rather than in the studio. So this is a must.

Song Clearances

Costs $1,100

There are 3 songs essential to this film

Fancy Pants House

Costs $1,900

The location for Tucker's house is the most vital location in the film.


Costs $1,500

The composer is awesome and needs to get paid


Costs $1,280

So boring, so essential

Design - sets/props

Costs $2,100

Essential part of the process

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $6,000

Salaries, SAG costs, Payroll

Crew: Camera, Grip, Gaffer, etc

Costs $5,500

Paying the crew is kind of vital


Costs $2,300

Meals and Craft Service


Costs $1,000

vital component of the film as Edith Head will tell you

About This Team


Brian Padian Writer/Director, Producer

I am writer/director based in Portland, Ore.  My debut feature The Black Sea was shot on Super 16 and played at the Seattle Transmedia & Independent Film Festival, Portland Film Festival, SoCal Film Festival and others. I hold an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute, where I was awarded the Jack Oakie Scholarship for Comedic Screenwriting and a BA in Theater Arts/Film Production from Humboldt State University. I've received project grants from the Regional Arts + Culture Council for"The Black Sea", my short film noir "The Big Black Dark", and my web-series "Microaggressions" (currently in post).   A long time ago I came in second on Jeopardy.


current favorite films: Fletch, Lost Highway, The Emigrants, L'Intrus, Waiting for Guffman

David Mark Marion, Producer

David is a producer, filmmaker, and 1st AD. A graduate of Humboldt State University and the American Film Institute, he was 1st AD on The Black Sea. You can learn more about him on IMDB.


Evonne Moritz, Editor

Evonne is a fan of baseball, malted beverages, and music. She cut Brian's feature "The Black Sea". A graduate of Humboldt State University and the American Film Institute, she is currently an assistant editor on Empire.  Evonne on IMDB.


Scott Ballard, Cinematographer

Scott Ballard is an award-winning Portland-based Director of Photography. His credits include Director of Photography for 9 narrative feature films, 3 feature documentary films and several short films. He has recently wrapped a feature documentary shot on location in Japan, a pilot about a time traveling americana musician and a short sci-fi film. His digital, super 16mm and 35mm cinematography work for the feature film, A Standing Still, won Best Cinematography in the Arizona International Film Festival, Massachusetts Independent Film Festival and the Williamsburg International Film Festival. He holds an MFA in Film Production from Boston University and has worked in Seattle, LA, New Orleans, NYC and Boston. Currently, he resides in his native NW corner of the country focusing on his dedication to narrative and documentary filmmaking. Currently, he is producing a short documentary series and is in early pre-production on his fourth narrative feature film. He teaches at the NW Film Center, Portland Community College and Portland State University.


Scott Unrein, Composer

Scott Unrein is a composer based in Portland, Oregon whose music Fluid Radio called, “...beautifully rich ambiences, like radio signals from real or imagined elsewheres.” You can learn more about him at his site. You can listen to a set of his live and unreleased tracks on Soundcloud.


Erin McGarry, Actor

Erin McGarry has been acting on screen for over 15 years.  She has studied acting in Los Angeles and Portland. You can find her on all but two seasons of Portlandia, two seasons of Grimm as well as an episode each of the Librarians and Leverage.  Erin has worked on a number of films as well, including Brian Padian’s “The Black Sea,” and most recently “The Last Champion,” which will be released into theatres this year and is a family-focused redemptive high school wrestling movie.  She has won two Best Actress awards from the LA Independent film festival and the Oregon Independent Film Festival for her work on Kevin Forrest’s feature film “Evolution of Evil,” currently making the festival circuit and was nominated twice for Best Supporting Actress for Scott Ballard’s feature “Death on a Rock.”  



Current Team