DR. PENELOPE is a film about Julia (Katie Koster), who is struggling to finish her psychology dissertation. Rather than get her work done, she procrastinates while house sitting for her mother (Carrie Madsen) who has been admitted to the hospital for a few tests.
Julia’s procrastination is interrupted by Thomas (Jason Grasl), a graphic novelist moonlighting as a delivery guy. Thomas is more interested in Julia than the packages for Julia’s mom, whose psychic services he has used to get his career on track. However, Julia reminds herself to focus on work and gets him out of there. People will have to wait.
More clients of Julia’s mother keeps showing up, asking for help. Julia reluctantly “pretends” to do readings with Dr. Penelope, the puppet her mother’s uses in her work. But as Julia discovers, Dr. Penelope talks and takes over the reading. Doubly incredulous at both the idea of a psychic reading and a talking puppet, Julia is convinced that she is hallucinating. She finds herself in comical, yet serious situations where she questions herself and her intuition.
DR. PENELOPE is ready to capture Millennials and their older sisters, mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and every man across all generations who also enjoys a chick flick or two, will find this film inspirational. It is a smart, sharp story that connects with academic psychologists and intuitive psychics alike, as well as those who enjoy personal growth and living puppets. The female-driven story was created by Annika Hylmö who makes her debut as a Director.
A Word from Our Director
“Dr. Penelope is my opportunity to explore themes of family and relationships across both time and spiritual boundaries and life and death together with just the right amount of fun and laughter. It lets us look at how we need to come together as individuals and as a community in an increasingly fragmented world. What better way to do that than in a story about a woman whose dreams are disrupted by a puppet who challenges her to the core?”
Annika Hylmö, Director
Annika Hylmö – Writer/Director/Producer
“Annika Hylmö loves fantasy, spirituality and pragmatic reality. She has a background in film and entertainment that includes academic research, consulting, and extensive work at the American Film Institute’s Conservatory. Having a doctorate in communication, she tells stories about active, smart women and girls who challenge themselves to create their own futures.
In addition to DR. PENELOPE, Annika recently co-produced IMAGE MAKERS: THE ADVENTURES OF AMERICA’S PIONEER CINEMATOGRAPHERS, and several shorts including Women in Media’s CAMERAderie films that are currently on the festival circuit. She continues to develop and produce fascinating stories that shine a light on unseen and unacknowledged experiences in our world.”
Tom Rickman – Executive Producer (in Memoriam)
“Tom Rickman has not only been nominated for an Oscar as writer of the film COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER in 1981 but he has also been nominated for 2 Emmy’s for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries for The Reagans and Truman. In 2000 he also won the Humanitas Prize in the 90 minute category for Tuesdays With Morrie. Without Tom, there would be no DR. PENELOPE. She talks to him all the time.”
Geoff Schaaf – Director of Photography
“After Director/Cinematographer Geoff Schaaf completed his MA at the State University of California, he worked in documentary films, earning a total of 4 Emmys and 13 Emmy nominations. Among Schaaf’s documentary credits was the early reality show, LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS. Schaaf’s first Hollywood DP credit was the 1990 CHINA LAKE MURDERS, starring Tom Skerritt and MichaelParks.
Schaaf served as Director of Photography on hundreds of hours of episodic series including SEAQUEST DSV, FORTUNE HUNTER, EARLY EDITION, SWAMP THING, THE BURNING ZONE, FIRE COMPANY 132, JACK AND JILL, CHARMED, and others.”
Therese Lentz – Producer
“Therese Lentz has been writing, producing, and acting since she was a wee child. The backyard was always the perfect stage. Now the internet is. She enjoys magic shows, auditions, and of course, puppets.
Her childhood dream was to be a movie star. Her adult life dream is to cruise the inside straight of Alaska. Her lifelong dream is, well, this. Please donate so all of our dreams of producing this film can come true. Go Kings!!”
Minna Madzunkova – Producer
“I’m an analyst who is intrigued by the film industry, or actually mostly by people who have an inner desire to express themselves through art. I’m originally from Sweden, and I graduated from Stockholm University with a degree in statistics. Now, I reside in Los Angeles and run my own business, Forma Lenore with the motto: helping businesses grow.”
Sydney Kasahara – Supervising Producer
“I’m a freelance producer born in San Francisco and raised in Los Angeles. I graduated from UC Santa Cruz, as a double major and came back to LA to work! Film is my life and it helps me express my perspective.”
Katie Koster – Julia McLuhan
“Katie is not only an accomplished actress with training from both Boston College and the William Esper Studio in New York, but she graduated from Boston College with a dual degree in Theater and Mathematics, making her perfect for the role of Julia. Plus she has a thing for puppets.
Katie is a founding member of the musical puppet improv team, The Sound and The Furry. She is known for playing the lead in Campy Spy Musical and for being a regular in the sitcom Class Dismissed.”
Dr. Penelope – Herself
“Born in Los Angeles, CA, Dr. Penelope plays herself as Julia’s opinionated feisty childhood puppet friend who insists on challenging Julia’s assumptions about the world. A long-time fan of puppets like Miss Piggy, Lambchops, and an occasional scare from Annabelle,
Dr. Penelope has waited an equally long time for her own starring role. DR. PENELOPE marks her debut on the big screen. She is looking forward to seeing herself on the screen at a number of upcoming festivals.”
Carrie Madsen – Lynda McLuhan
“Julia’s psychic mother Lynda encourages Julia to finish her dissertation in peace and quiet at her home after a conversation with Julia’s dead father. She is captured by Carrie Madsen, an actress and writer, known for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Ask J and Good Girls Revolt. “
Jason Grasl – Thomas
“Thomas is a delivery guy with a talent for writing graphic novels who brings Julia surprisingly profound messages through his stories. His charm and ambition are captured by perfectly Jason Grasl a proud Native American actor and writer, known for Brooklyn Nine Nine, 9-1-1 and CASSIDY RED. “
Jacqui Lynn Phung – Sarah
“Sarah, perky and quirky, is certain that her romance and family problems can only be solved with the help of Dr. Penelope’s advice. She is played by Jacqui Lynn Phung, an actress, and producer, known for Hawaii-Five-O and The Worst Year of My Life. “
Sandi McCree – Mrs. Elliot
“Adele Harris, Lynda’s grounded client is convinced that psychics can communicate with the other world and refuses to let Julia believe otherwise. She is embodied by Sandi McCree, known for her performance as Bobby Brown’s mother in The Bobby Brown Story and The New Edition Story and her edgy, street-tough performance as “Delonda Brice” on HBO’s The Wire.”
We are seeking funding for the final stretch of post-production!
$10.00 = A downloadable picture of Dr. Penelope, our thanks and appreciation on social media!
$15.00 = You will receive a ticket to a private screening! Puppets may bring their human for free, it they want!
$50.00 = Help us get a poster! When it’s done, you will get a copy for your very own wall!
$100.00 = In addition to receiving a password protected link to a digital version of the film, you get to ask Dr. Penelope a question that she will answer on social media
$250.00 = You get to spend 30 minutes with Annika finding out about the production, the story, and what it takes to make it in Hollywood OR talk to Geoff about cinematography!
$500.00 = When situation permits, Annika will participate in a private screening at your home (only in Los Angeles area)!
$2,500.00 = Your own look-alike puppet is the best conversation starter ever! Same color eyes, hair, skin, you name it. You can’t beat it. Delivery is approximately 1 month after the end of the campaign and when you send us a picture of yourself clearly showing your own features and coloring.
Thank you to everyone who is a part of the production!
* Adam Fisher * Alejandro Villasenor * Alexandra Romaneko * Bruce Nahin * Camille Schroeder * Devyn Grassia * Donny Schwenk * Doriane Ede * Haley Silver * Janelle Chivonne Tucker * Joanna Frohn * John Deswert * Jose Layne * Justin Angeloni * Justin R. Schultz * Karol Young Moses * Kathryn Inda * Kerstin Alm * Kevan O’Brien * Kimisha Davis Davis * Lauren Veronick * Lea Vrabelova * Lily Henry * Liza Standish * Louis Chen * Mia Xuan Gao * Moni Wood * Pea Woodruff * Rachel Ace * Sarah Logan * Selina Ringel * Sherry Layne * Troy Rosevear * Caroline Waters * Courtney Heron * Heather Cardone * Michael J. McDonald * Terah “Bishop” Woodley II * Casey Stikker * Ray Quintana * Vincent Deng * David J. Newman * Robyn Whitney *