A kind and intellectual family beloved by their devout community, the Kippsons have weathered hardships before, having been through their mother's first cancer diagnosis years earlier. But when Joanne’s cancer returns, past grievances start to surface.
As Joanne begins the debilitating rounds of treatment, and as Henry, the father, maintains work as a physician, their two youngest children—Mara, a studious philosophy major, and Sam, an eager, soon-to-be driver—struggle to balance the pressures of school and caregiving, while Claire, the eldest child who lives far away, becomes torn between her inability to conform to the community in which she was raised and her responsibility to her family, forcing her to confront a deeper struggle within herself and threatening the only existence she's ever known.
Seen through the eyes of a young-adult caregiver, Blue Balloons weaves elements of the fantastical and the absurd to strip cliches and portray not only the medical complexities of cancer, but also the joys and sorrows of one family's tender life together.
Writer, Director, Producer
Emily Troedson founded Goat Song Films where she currently serves as president. Blue Balloons is her debut feature, which she also acted in and edited. It premiered at the Twin Cities Film Fest as part of the MN Women in Film spotlight and she won the Women in Film Award from the CARE Film Festival. The film was an Official Selection at the Cosmic Film Festival, an Honorable Mention at the Rahway International Film Festival, and the script was named a Quarter-Finalist for the Act One Screenplay Competition.
She began her filmmaking career as an actor, appearing in commercials, features, and television, most notably, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, the Cannes selected short film, ENDS RUNWAY, and Epic Pictures' film, THE NANNY, in which she performed with Schuyler Fisk. A graduate of Bethel University, Emily received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Secondary Education and briefly taught mythology and film at the nationally recognized Irondale High School.
Most recently, she produced the short film, CULT, with writer/director, Wei-Ling Chang, and she is currently developing her next feature--a gritty, fantasy thriller that's a follow-up to her debut, dealing with similar themes of grief, loss, and identity. She lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and their dog.
Chari Eckmann has tread the boards of Minnesota print, film, video, and commercial venues for nearly two decades. Her stage work includes Hamlet, Nabucco, and Turandot for the Minnesota Opera; Hill House Holidays for the James J. Hill House; and many community theater roles throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
Her filmography of more than 30 credits includes supporting roles in The Invitation (2014), which received a Platinum Award in Houston; Mirror, Mirror On The Wall (2008); The Current (2014), which received a Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays; Spirits of St. Paul: The Gangster Era (2012); Faux (2010); Sometimes Never (2012); American Beast (2014); The Pink Visitor (2015); Breaking Up With Death (2016); Lurking in the Dark (2017), Followed (in production); and the Theater People television series. She also appears in A Prairie Home Companion (2006), A Serious Man (2009), Dear White People (2014), and additionally in commercials for Homestead Road, Medica, Target, and Minnesota Lottery, among others.
Chari trained at the Guthrie Theater with the actor Raye Birk and the voice-coach Andrew Cooke, with whom she has also performed in cabaret settings.