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‘Pet Names’ Trailer: An Ill-Advised Camping Trip Offers Emotional Rewards (And a Cute Pug)

Director Carol Brandt teams up with writer and star Meredith Johnston for a revealing new look at millennial ennui and familial pain.

“Pet Names”

In her first two feature films, director Carol Brandt has already ably explored the intricacies of being a modern young woman and what that means for fraught interpersonal relationships. Her first film, “Things Found on the Ground,” was about letting go of expectations, while her “Dear Coward on the Moon” centered on an unearthed family secret. For her next film, set to debut at SXSW later this month, Brandt is turning her eye to a different kind of relationship. (With the added bonus of a cute pug.)

Per the film’s official synopsis, “Grad-school-dropout Leigh spends seemingly endless days caring for her ill mother in her childhood home. A chance encounter with her ex, Cam, leads Leigh to make a last-minute decision to invite him on her solo camping trip. Falling into old patterns of familiarity is easy for the duo; what’s hard is facing deep-seated wounds between them that never healed. Between losing Cam’s dog, tripping on mushrooms, drunken nights by the bonfire baring their souls, making up dumb songs, and jealous arguments, the ‘vacation’ becomes a constant guessing game of whether or not the two will find themselves back together, or never speaking again.”

Pet Names” is Brandt’s third feature and is written by Meredith Johnston, who also stars in the film as Leigh. The film is produced by Chris James Thompson and Suzanne Jurva. Lisa Dietlin, Toni Chappell, Susan Mikulay, and Susan Ballje are executive producers.

The first trailer for “Pet Names” toes the line between drama (it’s clear that Leigh has been through a lot, and her personal trauma isn’t exactly letting up) and comedy (it ends on a light-hearted, by devilishly dangerous note). Plus: cute pug.

Check out the first trailer for “Pet Names” below.


“Pet Names” will debut in the Visions section of this year’s SXSW Film Festival. See the film’s screening schedule right here.

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