Cheri Oteri discusses growing up in Philly, new film "Turkey's Done"

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Upper Darby native and 'Saturday Night Live' alum Cheri Oteri is starring in a new short film that premiered at the Women's Film Festival in Philadelphia Thursday.

The short called "Turkey's Done" is about a housewife who welcomes her cheating husband home on Thanksgiving Day for a dinner he will never forget. The hope is to turn it into a feature length film.

It is produced by Philly natives Monique Impagliazzo, Jennifer Tini, and Krystal Tini.

"Turkey's Done" has another showing Saturday at the Drexel URBN Annex Screening Room.

In an interview with 6abc, Oteri discusses growing up in the Delaware Valley, filming in South Philadelphia, and the difference between Upper Darby and South Philly accents.

Watch the full interview in the video above. If you'd rather read it, here's the transcript:

Cheri: I live in Los Angeles, but driving through town, it's beautiful. I'm staying in the arts district and I want to go to so many restaurants. Nothing beats the food here. I'm back with these girls that I met from Philly in LA.

6abc.com: How did you guys all meet?

Cheri: Jennifer Tini was walking her dog and I overheard her talking to the dog. And I heard her accent. (In her best South Philly accent) "You got to go pee-pee, Mommy?" I said, 'Are you from Philadelphia?' She said, 'Yes, I am. How did you know?' And then - Upper Darby - (she begins her Upper Darby accent), 'Oh, I know. I know.' (Continuing her UD accident) You want extra provolone on your hoagie? That's an Upper Darby accent. That's different than a South Philly accent.

So we just became friends and the girls, Jennifer Tini, Krystal Tini, Monique Impagliazzo, they had a script that they had written. They wanted to do a short from the script to kind of get it out there to raise money to make the feature. They wanted to center it around this character Peaches. The four of us got together and wrote the short. It's a world that I was very familiar with. It was really fun. It's called 'Turkey's Done.' It's a slice of life.

It's about a neighborhood in South Philadelphia where there's no world outside of it. She waits for her husband, he's (air quotes) away (end air quotes). He's not home for even a couple weeks and he's cheating already. It all goes down on Thanksgiving Day. And, of course, the neighborhood's involved.

6abc.com: How could they not be? They all know everything's that going on.

Cheri: Yeah. So the great thing is these four women, we put our resources together. When we got to Philly to shoot, we shot it on the street, we used some houses in South Philly. You'll see a woman still had the phone cord which was great to add to it. Everyone just donated their time and food. It was a real collective endeavor. We raised money through a Kickstarter and I said, 'It was all legit.' (She gives a sincere smile.) It was all legit money.

6abc.com: You were welcomed with open arms in South Philly?

Cheri: People thought they were helping by screaming down the street while we were shooting. It was so much fun. People who did come out to see what was going on, it only helped the film, because anytime anything is going on in the street, everyone just opens the door or window. It was perfect. It was the feel that we wanted.
6abc.com: Authentic.

Cheri: Very authentic.

6abc.com: Was Peaches based on anybody?

Cheri: It was based on the character in the original script. But I knew that person very well.

The greatest thing was coming here and having it premiere at the Women's Film Festival because it was shot and all done by women - though we had a great editor Dale Pavinski who helped so much in the editing process. It was just perfect timing to be featured at the Women's Film Festival.

6abc.com: It shows what a group of women can do - especially from Philly. Strong women from Philly.

Cheri: Strong women from Philly and everybody's going to eat.

6abc.com: You do have some funny male costars in this movie, too.

Cheri: Vic DiBitetto. A doll. He's the warmest, most p--- off person, the most beautiful p--- off person ever. And we had Al Sapienza. He was perfect as this character. They brought so much to it. We did some improvising, it was hard not to. All of us all wore different hats.

6abc.com: Your background - the Groundlings and 'SNL,' you did a lot of improvising, so you did some in this film?

Cheri: You can write a script, but when you're in the moment and you also know the world, it lends itself to improvisation. But we all knew these people so well, it was kind of easy to write. And Peaches, considering herself very successful, she climbed the corporate ladder at Adore-me Cosmetics; you know, she's a corporate woman. They were just so much fun, these characters to play.

6abc.com: You said it didn't take too long for you to relate to this character, do you think the Philly viewers who are going to watch the film are going to relate to the characters, too?

Cheri: I think so. I remember growing up in Upper Darby, everybody knew each other. When you walked down the street, if you didn't say hi to everybody's mother on the porch - and after dinner was always a big thing, everybody came outside and sat on the porch. Everybody now is in their backyards, in Los Angeles it is, but everybody wanted to be seen and know everybody's business.

So you walk in and everybody's mother and grandmother is in a housecoat. You're walking up the street and they say, "Hi hon." (Her Upper Darby accent returns) And it's like "Hi Mrs. Ru-(trails off)." "Tell your mom I said hi. Tell your mom I said hi. How is she? How's the hip?" It's just a neighborhood feel.

It's funny. In LA, I know all my neighbors because it makes me feel safe. My neighbors will invite each other over for cocktails.

6abc.com: Is that unusual for LA?

Cheri: I think it is. People only know each other in LA usually if there's an earthquake or some kind of natural disaster. It's like, (Wildly shakes hand) "Hi, I'm Ron. Do you have a flashlight?" "Yeah, I've only lived across the street from you for 20 years." But in Philly we take that for granted, and it's beautiful. The whole neighborhood thing.

6abc.com: People can go see this movie at the premiere Thursday night and again on Saturday at Drexel University.

Cheri: It's such a thrill to be back here and everyone who participated in the film when we shot is coming tonight. It'll be like a reunion.

6abc.com: You mentioned people from South Philly came out while you were shooting, are there people from the neighborhood in the film?

Cheri: It's mostly the actors. But there was a shot we had of a group of guys sitting on a stoop and I had my hair set in curlers. I was sitting with them cause we were waiting to shoot. They took pictures of us. I thought to myself, I don't think this was planned, and it was the best pictures because you are just sitting out on the stoop shooting the -

6abc.com: Breeze.

Cheri: Breeze. (Smiles to the camera)

6abc.com: The Philly breeze.

Cheri: Shooting the Philly breeze.
6abc.com: Even though it's 17 minutes, just looking at the trailer, I can only imagine the number of funny moments in the movie.

Cheri: Can you imagine if we get the feature made? I mean, c'mon.

The great thing was the show "Right This Minute" did a segment. From there, the Women's Film Festival saw that. We had just won at the Vancouver Comedy Festival. We placed in the top 3 out of 200 submissions. We were in the top 3. I'm sure the people who were No. 1 are not saying 'we were in the top 3.' You can tell when you say you were in the top 3, you were either two or three. OK, we were three. Even if we were two, I would've said we were in the top 2.

6abc.com: You were the top tier.

Cheri: We were in the top 3 and I'll let you guess where we came in.

6abc.com: Maybe the people who came in No. 1 say they were in the top 3.

Cheri: Oh, they were from Denmark. They don't know what they're talking about.

But c'mon. Out of 200 submissions? We were really happy about that. So it's starting to snowball.

6abc.com: So what's the goal? With the popularity of this short, it becomes a feature film? What needs to be done for that to happen?

Cheri: Oh, just a little financing.

6abc.com: Oh, so maybe if Bradley Cooper sees this film?

Cheri: Wouldn't that be great. Yeah, he's Philly.

6abc.com: Tina Fey.

Cheri: Right.

6abc.com: Everybody in the newsroom wants me to ask about your friendship since you're both from Upper Darby.

Cheri: It was funny because when Tina first came on the show, we were both coming home. She and my sister are from Drexel Hill, so she came over my sister's. We ate.

6abc.com: Did you get Pica's?

Cheri: We used to go to Pica's pizza all the time. So whenever I'm home and I go to Delaware County, I go to Pica's. I think I'm having lunch at Domenic's in Morton. Just going to get a little broccoli rabe, nobody gets hurt.

6abc.com: Anything else about 'Turkey's Done' we haven't stuffed into this interview?

Cheri: Awwwwwww! Sha-ding! Look at you.

We do want to say thanks to Pastificio. They actually sold turkey sandwiches and gave all the proceeds to the film. Now, c'mon it doesn't get anymore neighborhood than that. Anybody who dared order ham was like get the f- "You're having the turkey! We're trying to help, people!"

6abc.com: Well, this isn't Ham's Done.

Cheri: This isn't a honey baked film!
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