Always, Already

  • Director

    Ken Sackheim

  • Country, Year, Length

    United States, 2023, 28:06

  • Category


  • Format

    16mm Film

  • Festival Year


Film Screening & Ticket Information

When & Where to See this Film!

ON BECOMING: 6 films about what happens when we change.

April 24, 2024 @ 7:00PM • Kaufman Astoria Studios – Zukor Theatre

View the Trailer


“Always, Already” is a captivating and innovative short film that explores the nature of identity and the ways in which it is shaped by experiences and memories. Starring Cara Buono (“Stranger Things”, “Mad Men”, “The Sopranos”), John Schoenthaler, and featuring Friedrich Ulfers, an expert in post-classical philosophy and its relation to modern science, the film takes viewers on a multi-layered journey through the complexities of the human experience.

Shot almost entirely on 16mm film, it seamlessly blends narrative, documentary, and animation elements. “Always, Already” creates a truly unique cinematic experience that blurs the lines between fiction and reality, jumping through time to explore the intricate and ever-changing nature of identity.

At the heart of the film is the silence between Cara and John, which draws on Wittgenstein’s idea that when words fail, we should remain silent. This introspective and meditative atmosphere invites viewers to reflect on their own assumptions about identity and selfhood.

Adding to the film’s emotional resonance is the story of a family murder-suicide, which is both a fictional narrative element and a factual piece of history. This serves as a powerful reminder of the fragility of identity and the ways in which our experiences can shape and redefine who we are.

Ulfers provides philosophical insight into the nature of identity, while Lester Gobrecht’s collection of old farm equipment serves as a metaphor for the collection of experiences and memories that make up our identities. Ukrainian animator Daryna Kudenko’s animation brings to life the abstract and intangible aspects of identity, illustrating how it can be both elusive and transformative.

“Always, Already” explores the complexities of the human experience in a truly innovative way. Its boundary-pushing blend of storytelling techniques creates a cinematic experience that is intellectually stimulating, emotionally resonant, and visually stunning. The film’s exploration of identity and selfhood is both thought-provoking and deeply moving, leaving a lasting impression on audiences and sparking conversations about what it means to be human.


Ken Sackheim, Director, The World is that which is the Case (2014)
Scott Bankert, Producer, Culling Hens, The World is that which is the Case
Dalton Helms, Producer
Cara Buono, Key Cast, Stranger Things, The Sopranos, Mad Men
John Schoenthaler, Key Cast
Bart Freundlich, Key Cast, The Myth of Fingerprints
Ken Sackheim, Writer
Scott Bankert, Writer
Joaquin Baca-Asay, Cinematography, Super Troopers, We Own the Night
Ki S. Hwang, Cinematography, Another Child, Saint Jane

Director Statement

Note: While this may not conform strictly to a traditional “director’s statement,” I wanted to take this opportunity to share a crucial perspective that I believe adds significant depth to the context of “Always, Already.”

During the creation of “Always, Already,” our talented animator, Daryna Kudenko, fearlessly worked on the film while facing the harrowing reality of bombs falling around her in the city of Kharkiv. Her dedication and unwavering commitment to the artistic vision of the project serve as a testament to the power of creativity amidst chaos. It highlights the immense dangers that individuals face when their identities and existence are under threat.

In the film, we explore the dangers of identity thinking, which resonate deeply in light of recent events in Ukraine. There have been repeated attempts to deny Ukraine’s existence by Kremlin rulers, including Putin, who have propagated pseudohistorical essays and speeches. However, the enduring resilience of the Ukrainian nation across centuries of failed attempts to destroy it underscores the undeniable reality of Ukraine’s existence.

One of the profound insights provided by Friedrich Ulfers, who is featured in the film, is the connection between identity thinking and the Holocaust. Ulfers’ conclusions shed light on the destructive consequences of rigid and exclusionary identity-based ideologies. This revelation holds significant relevance in understanding the complexities of Ukraine’s situation today, where the dangers of identity thinking continue to be a pressing concern.

As Ulfers says at the end of the film, “…maybe, what we have produced on the basis of achieving certainty or purity or identity, maybe that should scare us out of our wits.”

Thank you for indulging me, and I sincerely hope that you enjoy the film.

Director Biography

Ken Sackheim is a filmmaker renowned for his ability to push creative boundaries and explore new frontiers in cinema. His visionary approach to filmmaking resonates with audiences, as he fearlessly challenges conventions and offers unique perspectives. His latest work, ‘Always, Already,’ exemplifies his ability to create thought-provoking narratives that leave a lasting impact.

Ken Sackheim’s artistic versatility as a painter and composer adds depth to his distinctive approach as a filmmaker. As Sackheim continues to evolve in his filmmaking career, his diverse artistic background remains a source of inspiration, allowing him to create resonant and immersive experiences for audiences.