Common Bonds

Common Bonds
Common Bonds
Directed by Antonio Manriquez
Produced by Josh Gray-Emmer
Dan Aeberhard
Raina Roessle
Evelyn Seubert
James Gleason III
Written by Kate McKinney
Antonio Manriquez
Aaron Wallace
Brendan Wolfe
Starring Kate McKinney
Charles Rome Smith
Ike Gingrich
Music by Michael W. Katz
Cinematography Karen Chow-Del Rio
Editing by Elizabeth Eiben
Distributed by wam!/encore
Release date(s) 1997
Running time 80 minutes
Language English

Common Bonds (1997) is an independent feature film written, produced, directed, and edited by teenagers, the first of its kind. The crew was composed of 40 teenagers from all over Los Angeles.[1]



Common Bonds tells the story of K.C., a rebellious teenage girl serving time in community service at a senior citizens’ home. Though at first K.C. is distant and defiant, she gradually is pulled into the lives of the seniors. Together with Norman, an irrepressible septuagenarian, she exposes and thwarts a con man who preys on the unsuspecting residents. In the process Norman and K.C.’s lives are changed through their discovery of the common bonds of understanding and support that tie both generations together.


Common Bonds, Next Generation Productions grew from the experiences of twenty junior high school students who attended the 1994 Sundance Film Festival as guests of the Sundance Institute. Inspired by the creative energy, fresh visions and daring of the films they saw and the filmmakers they met, the students resolved to try it themselves. In 1995 they met with Robert Redford and told him their production plans and their dream to premiere their film at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. He encouraged them to continue.


The screenplay, in development for a year, was written by a teen crew. To research the film, the writers visited a local retirement home and interviewed and videotaped the residents. The writers also worked with UCLA’s Center on Aging and a consumer fraud organization to develop the script. The intensive six month training program began in February 1995. The various entertainment guilds provided mentors for the young filmmakers and industry professionals gave generously of their time to provide workshops, one-on-one training and production assistance for the development, pre-production and filming of Common Bonds. The film was shot in the summer of 1995 by a crew of forty teenagers. The main location for five and a half weeks of filming was a local retirement hotel. The residents and teens overcame their initial apprehension and learned to work together. The result was an exciting and memorable experience for teens and seniors where life imitated art. Friendship and mutual respect replaced the generation gap.

Post Production

Post production followed with teen composers working on the scoring while editing was in progress. Then all were combined for the final cut which has been submitted to Sundance for the 1997 Festival as planned.


Kate McKinney as K.C.
Glenn Dickerson as Sheldon
Polly Hunt as Scooter
Charles Rome Smith as Norman

In order of appearance:

Scott (Tyler Baker)
Jackie (Jean Shum)
Carl (Alex Hanzlik)
Duke (William Teagardin)
Policeman (Keith Kintner)
Angela (Lynette S. Lyall)
Lola (Paula Kay Perry)
Ted Perry (Theodore “Ted” Shaver)
Helene (Marianne Karlsen)
Margaret (Norma Barbour)
Real Estate Agent (Suzanne Copeland)
Client (David Wolfe)
Peter (Terry R. Steele)
Woman Patient (Lois Ogilby)
Jane (Diane Hawley)
Obnoxious Insurance Guy (Michael Costello)
Dr. Hussain (Kyaw Thant)
Henry (Ike Gingrich)
Detective #1 (Art Simmons)
Detective #2 (Jim Racusin)
Butch (Butch Hood)
Bruce (Irwin Cohen)


Composer Michael William Katz


  1. ^ The Media Academy


External links

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