Director/Rock Cellist, Kestrin Pantera, who has played cello with bands like Weezer and Beck, will be debuting the first film she wrote and directed at SXSW 2019. Mothers Little Helpers, based on true events, was inspired by the life and death of someone who had a wristband to SXSW year one, so world premiering in Austin is a dream come true for the director. 

Here’s the official SXSW description of the film:

When Joy Pride, a groovy 70’s burn-out on the caboose of the flower power movement, learns she has weeks to live, her estranged children come together to do right by a mother who always did them wrong.

Mother’s Little Helpers is a funny dysfunctional family drama, based on true events, about how family ties can twist and tear you– and though they may not break you, they might send you to prison.

According to Pantera, Pride was a person who represented the shift from old to new Austin—and used to be someone you could buy loose joints from backstage at the Continental Club.

The film stars Milana Vayntrub (This is Us, Silicon Valley, Love), Breeda Wool (UnReal, Mr. Mercedes), Melanie Hutsell (Bridesmaids, SNL, Transparent) and Sam Littlefield (The Leftovers).

Side note, we interviewed Breeda Wool at SXSW 2015. Check out that interview here.

Mothers Little Helpers will make its premiere at SXSW on Saturday March 9 in the Narrative Spotlight category. The creators will also host the RVIP after party, a mobile karaoke lounge housed inside a customized RV.

We asked Pantera to tell us more about what inspired her to create this project.

“After a series of unorthodox losses in my life, this story had been knocking around in my head for a while. I started talking about it with friends, and the more we discussed it, we had that bittersweet and beautiful mustard-seedy sense of connection that shared grief brings.”

– Kerstrin Pantera

Since she’s spent much time in Austin, she had no problem answering the rest of our questions.

Here’s how she responded to our A-T-X-an themed queries.

What are you most looking forward to in Austin?

“Aside from the queso and world premiering my film there? I mean, I pretty much already got what I wanted.

I would be totally fine connecting with a buyer who truly loves and gets the film and can market it to find an amazing audience in a record SXSW deal. But I would also be super happy if lots of people just came out and watched the film and connected with it and told their friends.”

What is your favorite movie and/or TV show shot in Texas?

“I Love Dick.

Who is your favorite Texas musician?

“Aside from Uncle Willie? Ian Moore, who I played cello with at the Continental Club, and Junior Brown.”

What actor would you call “totally Texan?”

“Aside from Uncle Willie? Well, though he left El Paso at a young age I’m not sure if he counts: Sam Elliott. Also, Owen Wilson and Carol Burnett.”

What Texas food are you most looking forward to eating in Austin?

“Torchy’s Tacos, Maria’s Taco Xpress, Guero’s and South Congress Cafe, for the singular brunch-splurge. I am made of queso.”

What advice do you have for Austinites looking to get into the entertainment industry?

“Learn how to edit and start today. You will become a priceless gem and have the ability to complete your films for free.

And don’t be a dick.”


Here’s where and when you can watch Mothers Little Helpers at SXSW:
Saturday, March 9, at Alamo Lamar at 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 10, at Rollins Theatre at 10 p.m.
Friday, March 15, at Alamo Lamar at 10:45 a.m.

Want more SXSW?

Check out our complete list of celebrities attending SXSW 2019 here and/or see what TV activations will be happening at the fest here.