The DVD “Little Sister,” available at many local stores including all Kenosha-area Walgreens, was filmed at nine farms in Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties
‘Little Sister’ comes home
April 23, 2008
Movie-making family films children’s DVD on nine area farms
Look closely at the scenes in “Little Sister,” and you might see something familiar.
The 80-minute DVD, available for purchase at many local stores including all Kenosha-area Walgreens, was filmed on nine farms in Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties.
“We love southeastern Wisconsin,” said Greg Lavin, “Little Sister” director and writer. “So the potential of making other films here is very possible.”
It’s no surprise Lavin is fond of the area. He grew up in Kansasville and still lives on the family farm, though now in a home built on a corner of the property that has been in the family for five generations.
Family is important to Lavin, whose “Little Sister” crew included sons Nathan, 27, and Matthew, 21. They spent seven weeks filming the DVD from August to October in 2004. If all goes as Lavin has planned, “Little Sister” will be the first in a series of DVDs that will include both rural and urban settings.
“‘Little Sister’ represents the first in our rural cycle of stories,” Lavin said. “There is an urban cycle as well. Those stories will cross all racial lines.
“What connects them is their focus on what it’s like being a very young person entering life. Each story promotes self-esteem building within children. And each adult role in these upcoming films is designed so that their conduct reveals the importance of patience, encouragement and tenderness in dealing with the sometimes unnerving world of being a very young child.”
“Little Sister” is a story about 4-year-old Cora, who spends an enjoyable morning with her mother feeding the baby animals on her family’s farm. It stars Cora Hulsey of Kansasville as Cora and Marya Bradley of Milwaukee as her mother.
Falling asleep while waiting for her brother and sister to return from school, Cora dreams about the baby animals wandering away from the safety of their families. Troubled by this, she decides to help the babies find their way home.
As the dream continues, Cora has no luck in finding the mothers of the baby animals, and in looking for assistance, realizes her own mother is missing.
A kind neighbor soon remedies the problem, and each of the animals is reunited with its mother. Cora awakens from her perplexing dream and is pleased to be surrounded by her brother and sister at a tea party prepared by their mother.
Lavin was pleased with how quickly Cora adapted to her screen role.
“She caught on so quickly, memorized her lines, and even cried on cue,” he said. “For such a young girl, it was incredible, really, how well she took to the role.”
Lavin’s methodology is similar to that of the late Fred Rogers, whose idea was to give children time and help them grow up by constantly reaffirming their sense of self-worth. Lavin and his sons come close to capturing Rogers’ gentle and leisurely style in the DVD.
Lavin has years of experience in the writing and filmmaking business. His motivation behind creating “Little Sister” was to provide a gentle, calming experience in a film for children.
“The marketplace for children is underserved and inappropriately served,” Lavin said. “As corporations dominate, some of the products are synthetic, and clearly the dollar signs are showing.”
Inspiration behind “Little Sister” and young Cora’s relationship with her mother is reminiscent of the love that Lavin said his own mother, the late Helen Bennett Lavin, showered upon him while he was growing