Experiencing Interruptions?

39 1/2

39 1/2, an independent feature film, mixes narrative drama, comic irony, and animation to follow the journey of a single, experimental filmmaker pushing 40 and determined to have a baby by virtually any means necessary.

  • Kara Herold
    grrlyshow, Bachelorette, 34, Tit Chat
  • Kara Herold
    grrlyshow, Bachelorette, 34, Tit Chat
  • Kara Herold
    grrlyshow, Bachelorette, 34, Tit Chat
  • Beth Lisick
    Key Cast
  • Tara Jepsen
    Key Cast
  • Alice Schaerer
    Key Cast
  • Cheri Paige Fogleman
    Key Cast
  • Marcus DeAnda
    Key Cast
  • Alex Emanuel
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Experimental, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 11 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    100,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
    C500, Blackmagic and 16mm
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Mill Valley Film Festival
    Mill Valley
    October 5, 2019
    World Premiere
  • San Francisco Indie Fest
    San Francisco
    February 9, 2020
  • Syracuse International Film Festival
    October 13, 2019
Director Biography - Kara Herold

Kara Herold’s films employ wit, provocative storytelling, and dynamic visual assemblages to comment upon the uneasy intersections between the real life challenges contemporary women face and hidebound cultural expectations and institutions that may limit their life choices. She has written, directed, and produced films ranging from short animations to award-winning
documentaries. Grrlyshow, about the girl zine explosion in the ‘90s, premiered at Sundance in 2001 and is distributed by Women Make Movies. Bachelorette, 34, a humorous take on society’s obsession with marriage viewed through a mother-daughter relationship, premiered at the International Documentary Festival and played at the Documentary Fortnight at MoMA in 2009. Bachelorette, 34 is distributed by New Day Films.

Her awards and grants include support from the San Francisco Arts Commission, Pacific Pioneer Fund, and Film Arts Foundation. She is currently in post-production on 39 ½, for which she received a New York State Council for the Arts Grant. Kara Herold received an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University. She worked at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for twenty years and was a stagehand for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Transmedia at
Syracuse University.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

As an artist and feminist, I am interested in exploring through comedy the biases women face if they rebel against or question the dominant culture. My strategy: to employ wit, thought-provoking storytelling and dynamic visual assemblages to comment upon the uneasy intersections between feminist perspectives and dominant cultural expectations and institutions.

My most recent film Bachelorette, 34 and my current work-in-progress 39½ are both semi-autobiographical films featuring “Kara,” an artist who lives on the fringes in San Francisco, and her comical Midwestern "Mom," who keeps trying to pull her daughter back to the center of normalcy's bell curve. Both films tackle a serious societal trend away from the norms of marriage (Bachelorette, 34) and of motherhood (39½). Both are presented as comedies, making sensitive material easily accessible, while also unapologetically celebrating the courage of single women on the forefront of breaking social horizons.

As an experimental documentary, Bachelorette, 34 uses found footage, audio interviews, Super 8 home movies and animation to tell the story of the mother’s obsession with getting her daughter married before time runs out. Through their often hilarious interactions, Bachelorette, 34 examines the pressure society puts on women to find "Mr. Right." Bachelorette, 34 premiered at MoMA in New York and the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam.

The sequel, 39½, presents the story as a scripted comedic feature with actors. As my first feature, 39½ breaks new ground for me as a long-form storyteller, guiding me through a deeper exploration of themes and stylistic formats I tested in my earlier works. Like my past films, 39½ draws upon comic irony—visual, aural and structural—to pose questions about messy situations and complicated decisions confronting women, artists and those who, in their defiance of social conventions, are sometimes seen as “misfits.”

Thematically, 39½ builds upon the semi-autobiographical aspects of Bachelorette, 34, probing conflicting generational attitudes toward romance and partnership. Through similar autobiographical elements, I continue to investigate how our "selves" are produced and our implicit power to change who we are. By recognizing the handed-down narrative conventions through which we view our own lives, I propose that by better understanding how our life stories have been constructed, we might find the agency to rewrite our own narratives.