By Laura Berger | Women and Hollywood | April 14, 2015 at 4:00PM

Tribeca Film Festival alumni Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg are multi-award-winning producers and directors best known for "Knuckleball!," "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work," "The Devil Came On Horseback," "The Trials of Darryl Hunt" and "Burma Soldier." (Tribeca Film Festival) 

The following answers are provided by co-director Ricki Stern on behalf of Anne Sundberg and herself. 

"In My Father's House" will premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival on April 16. 

W&H: Please give us your description of the film playing. 

RS: Set against the crumbling landscape of Chicago’s battered South Side, "In My Father's House" is a year-long journey from homelessness and alcoholism to self-discovery and redemption as Grammy-winning rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith reunites with his homeless father in a quest to reclaim his neighborhood and discover his true self as a father and son.

W&H: What drew you to the story?

RS: We met Che through a friend. Che told us about moving into his father’s childhood home, feeling the loss of not having seen his father for over 25 years and how he was beginning on a journey to reconnect with his father. While Che has a rapper persona, he was very honest about the impact of growing up without a father and his fear that he might repeat similar patterns. We were drawn to him as a character -- someone who was willing to be very open and vulnerable while he explored failings in his past and approached uncertainty in the future. While the story is set in the South Side of Chicago, we felt that the universal message of understanding legacy was one everyone could relate to.

When we learned about the story, it was already unfolding, so we didn’t have time to raise money. We had to dive in and begin shooting. Shooting an unfolding story is always a challenge because you are always afraid you will miss a crucial moment in the narrative. This was compounded by the fact that the story was unfolding in Chicago and we were based in NYC.

We were back and forth a lot and we had marathon phone calls with Che. We would check in daily to find out how things were going, how his dad was, how he was feeling, and what important life events might be coming up. Over time, we developed a very trusting relationship, which provided us all with a certain level of comfort when we would show up with cameras. By being in constant contact, we had already created a sense of intimacy and shared bond.

Filming Che’s father Brian was a challenge at times because he was just coming off alcohol and had [been] homeless for 25 years. But Brian is a warm, funny man and was very open to having us around, so over time, we were able to spend a lot of time alone with him, which allowed us to tell the story from his perspective as well.

W&H: What do you want people to think leaving the theatre?

RS: I hope people leave the theater with a sense of these characters’ resiliency. I believe people will feel the resiliency in both Che, for growing up on his own, and Brian, who has survived on the streets for most of his life. Through their journey, I want people to see the value in forgiveness and acceptance, and that although there were many obstacles for Che and Brian, the impact of their reconciliation will have a resounding effect on the next generation. Family is being redefined, and being a role model, mentor or friend to a young person can have immeasurable value. Finally, I hope people will consider the homeless with more compassion.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

RS: It’s probably the same advice I’d give to a male director. Find a mentor, work hard and be true to your vision but realistic about your audience. Eventually, I hope we do not call women directors “women,” but just directors. Most of our films are about men, and we don’t ever consider our sex when we go after a story.

W&H: What is the biggest misconception about you and your work?

RS: I guess that we can only make documentaries. Annie and I have been doing TV series, webseries with animation and short films. We like to tell stories, and we hope to be able to tell stories [in many forms of media].

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

RS: Initially, our company invested in the film using our equipment and edit equipment to get going. Our DP, Charles Miller, was amazing about investing his time and energy into the film. Our co-producer, Jameka Autry, started as an intern in our office and worked long nights for free in the beginning. Ultimately, we received funding from the Sundance Doc Fund, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Fledgling Fund and The Union Street Fund.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

RS: Again, I really don’t think, “Oh, I love this film and a woman directed it,” but if I had to name some films I liked that happened to be directed by women, I’d say I really liked characters in "The Kids Are All Right," "Lost In Translation" and "The Hurt Locker." {All of these films have] great characters and each film felt authentic to its time and place. They all had depth but didn’t take themselves too seriously.