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Tucson filmmaker Chorney releasing finale of 'Saving Bernie' sitcom

Tucson filmmaker Chorney releasing finale of 'Saving Bernie' sitcom

Linda Chorney’s little online sitcom has had more twists and turns than “Survivor” has alliances.

The plot line — that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is kidnapped on the orders of the current president and shrunk by a mad scientist in an effort to destroy his run — was dramatically altered when Sanders withdrew from the race months ago.

But the Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Chorney has gone with the flow, writing in those real life plot twists. Her latest addition: Tucson’s Bighorn Fire, the Black Lives Matter protests and the coronavirus pandemic.

The series’ final episodes — No. 10 dropped last week, 11 is set to post next weekend — are available on Vimeo, where you can stream the whole series.

Chorney said that despite the changes, the story’s main theme remains unchanged: Bernie is out to save the world from the current president.

“I don’t mention Trump,” Chorney said, noting that the story is “fictional” and so is the unnamed villain president.

“The plot shifted from he has to be the president to he has to help Biden win by uniting the party,” Chorney explained. “If Bernie’s people had gotten behind Hilary (Clinton in 2016), we would have won. This is my logical opinion, that a lot of Bernie’s people decided to sit that one out. ... With his influence to unite his supporters to be behind Biden, he truly will save the world.”

Chorney and her husband, Scott Fadynich, set out in February 2019 to make the series, which she wrote. They spent months traveling the globe to shoot scenes and B-roll footage for “Saving Bernie ... and the World.” In all, they visited 12 countries on five continents including Cambodia, Malaysia, France, Iceland, Antartica, England and, of course, Tucson, where the Massachusetts transplant Chorney has called home for the past seven years.

Using an iPhone, they filmed scenes of rescuing the shrunken Bernie from monks, a mad scientist and other ne’er-do-wells trying to destroy our democracy. Chorney admits the movie is silly and exciting and dumb — her words — “which is what we all need right now.”

“I make fun of everybody. I make fun of Bernie; wherever he goes I make fun of him in a loving way,” she said. “It’s an escape.”

Chorney released the first of the 11 episodes on March 1 and has released subsequent episodes every week or so since. When the coronavirus pandemic led to a two-month statewide stay-home order, Chorney got behind in editing the final two episodes. The shutdown was followed by the killing last month of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, which led to nationwide Black Lives Matter protests including in Tucson. Chorney decided to add those events into the final episodes that have Bernie and Chorney making their way to Mexico to find the antidote to reverse the shrink formula.

Chorney released episode 10 last week and the finale will post on Vimeo July 10.

This is Chorney and Fadynich’s second filmmaking venture. The couple released their indie biopic “When I Sing,” that recounted Chorney’s improbable Grammy 2012 nomination, in 2019. The movie, available on Amazon, snagged a number of film festival prizes.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch

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