Oh, to be artistically relevant. And engaging. And funny. And smart.
We are talking about a romantic comedy. That magic formula. What is it?
Winning "Most Awkward Sex Scene" at the 2015 Canadian Film Fest?
Visualize that for a moment.
Take one more.
Putting all that aside for a moment though.
WILL PEOPLE GO?
Will people book a few hours, perhaps book a babysitter for some, make a 45 minute trip fighting traffic and pay money out of their pockets to go see a film?
Canadian films have historically fought uphill battles when releasing theatrically. It's like David and Goliath when they compete to get audiences every weekend with U.S. and international releases. They are continually outspent on the marketing side, and frankly, an eighth of a page ad in any daily is not going to motivate many. Yes, some films are finding audiences in innovative ways. But big budgets buy share of voice and audiences are consumed by messaging about other films.
We have seen some break outs and indie darlings find audiences, and we jump for joy when that happens.
Pretend We're Kissing is one such film that has just completed its opening weekend. The good news for you is that if you haven't seen it, you still can.
Any filmmaker wishes to make their first feature film.
It becomes a dream come true if they get to make it, and when it is released, they get the call saying five simple words.
"YOU GOT A SECOND WEEK."
That call came and to writer/director Matt Sadowski, this is a big deal, and legitimizes him as a filmmaker who is making films that audiences are not only coming to support. They are coming because plain and simple, the work is compelling, memorable and worth their time and money.
Sadowski no doubt has a strong team behind him, and he has been smart about that. Add in a compelling cast that features stand out performances from Dov Tiefenbach, Tommie-Amber Pirie & Zoë Kravitz (yes, Lenny's daughter) and you have a film that has been racking up some pretty stellar reviews and audience raves.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Matt Sadowski to further understand how his film got to this point and frankly, why this is worth audiences time to go see it.
So you got a second week for your film. Impressive threshold to breakthrough. How did that happen?
Regardless of the truly amazing reviews and media attention we got, I am an unknown director to the general population. I believe regular audiences are thirsty for new stories told in a unique way, but nobody was out there marking days off their calendar until my film was released -- even if they came across it in the press. I think for any new filmmaker, you really depend on your friends and family to support you and I'm extremely lucky to have had them. Now we need that word of mouth to spread and for people to take a chance.
Three things you learned about making the film about the business of storytelling?
I've learned that if you make a film that speaks to you, you are also making a film that can speak to "everyone." As soon as you try and tell a story, thinking about the audience first, you're not making it for anyone.
Some people are saying the film is a modern take on the classic from Woody Allen called Annie Hall. Fair?
I think Jason Anderson's comments from the film really ring true. He said, "somewhere between the neurotic humour of Manhattan and the loquacious earnestness of Before Sunrise. Devotees of either film ought to be charmed."
Why are audiences responding to the film?
I think people are responding to the film because it really put them inside the head of the main character. The most consistent feedback I've heard is how awkward and uncomfortable they felt the whole time, as if they were the main character who is trying to overcome feeling that way. But mostly, I feel like audiences and critics are responding so positively to the film because it turns the romantic comedy genre a little upside down and sideways.
Twenty-five words. Why should people see your film?
Pretend We're Kissing is a romantic comedy for people who like romantic comedies but have never felt like it resembles anything from their own relationships.
Three things you would do differently next time?
More rehearsals. More steadicam. Not shoot right after having a baby.
Will there be a next time?
I really hope so.
Pretty We're Kissing continues this week through Sunday. It is playing in Toronto, Whitby, Vancouver and Ottawa. Movie times are here. And who knows, if audiences continue to come, the run will continue.
Here's betting that Sadowski would have a whole lot of kisses for you if that happened.
Make him pucker up, Canada.