After winning Best Short Screenplay at the postponed 2020 New Hope Film Festival, screenwriter Tara Grover Smith defied long COVID-19 pandemic odds by finishing post-production for The Joymaker during lockdown. Now the project is an Official Selection of the New Hope Film Festival as a film. It would have been a fine progression in any year, but in this one it's even more impressive.
In the story, Karen is a mother dealing with a son who's addicted to opioids. He's getting ready to return from jail, but added to her full plate is the sudden appearance of an old friend and former life coach, Joyce, who has spiraled downward into terminal illness and homelessness. What in the world can Karen do to help them while also holding her own spirit afloat? The Joymaker is Joyce's self-given nickname, and really, with such turmoil in her life, Karen hardly needs the touch of irony.
What Karen needs is real joy, and it looks like she will need to make it herself or some people she cares about might go down with her. You can watch the trailer here: The Joymaker