Straighten Up and Fly Right

Straighten Up and Fly Right

USA | 2022 | 88 min | Kristen Abate, Steven Tanenbaum

April 14 - 24, 2022

Kristen Abate and Steven Tanenbaum co-wrote, co-directed, and co-star in this empathetic New York-set drama about the friendship between a dog walker and her client, both of whom live with ankylosing spondylitis.

Directors Steven Tanenbaum and Kristen Abate scheduled to attend.


Straighten Up and Fly Right, puts us right in the shoes of a person with a disability and her search for friendship, love, and meaning in life.” – Alan Ng (Film Threat)

20-something New Yorker Kristen (Kristen Abate) lives with a severe case of ankylosing spondylitis (AS), an inflammatory disease that affects the spine, leaving her with chronic pain and a lack of mobility. With dreams of becoming a famous (or at least paid) writer, she currently supports herself as a dogwalker, though she often has trouble picking up after her canine charges and the neighborhood kids make fun of the way she walks. She is otherwise estranged from the world around her, getting through the day either smoking marijuana or paying her drug dealer for sex. When she gets evicted from her home, fate brings her to a new dogwalking client, Steven (Steven Tanenbaum), who also lives with AS. Recognizing a kindred spirit, Steven takes an interest in her writing, draws her out of her loneliness, and helps her get in touch with greater New York’s disabled and artistic communities. Written and directed by its two leads, Tanenbaum himself has AS and was inspired to write the screenplay in response to our former president’s infamous mockery of disabled New York Times reporter Serge F. Kovaleski. The result is a unique and deeply personal film, both unflinching and hopeful, about connection in an isolating age.

Marcus Gorman

  • Director: Kristen Abate, Steven Tanenbaum
  • Principal Cast: Kristen Abate, Marianna McClellan, Kerryn Feehan, AJ Cedeno, Steven Tanenbaum
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2022
  • Running Time: 88 min
  • Producer: Kristen Abate, Lindsey Cordero, Armando Croda, Steven Tanenbaum
  • Screenplay: Kristen Abate, Steven Tanenbaum
  • Cinematographers: Armando Croda
  • Editors: Armando Croda
  • Awards: 2022 Slamdance Film Festival (Grand Jury Prize: Unstoppable Feature)
  • Filmography: Abate: Debut Feature Film; Tanenbaum: How to Score Your Life (2012)
  • Language: English
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: GQue Films