It’s being described as ‘Bridesmaids’ meets ‘Sex And The City’, and if that’s not enough to make you immediately make plans to watch indie rom-com ‘The Wedding Invitation’, which is now available on iTunes, we have no doubt learning about the film’s female-powered team certainly will.
It’s the kind of film we want to watch over and over again, a story that almost any girl can relate to. Filmmaker Rainy Kerwin is the writer, director, producer and star of the award-winning ‘The Wedding Invitation’, and is the embodiment of what female filmmakers are doing right now in Hollywood – making space for their own stories, characters and busting down traditional industry barriers to create opportunities for themselves.
The film is about three best friends and their plight to get dates to the wedding of a lifetime. They have one week to track down their crushes and turn them into plus-ones. Their mission, splattered with drunken-dry-heaving, walk-of-shame moments will require them to break all of the dating rules to make it happen. It’s awkward and embarrassing and cringe-worthy and slightly raunchy, but with a dose of courage, the support of their girlfriends, and a few shots of tequila… anything’s possible.
We spoke with Rainy Kerwin not long after the film was released on iTunes to talk about her journey in getting ‘The Wedding Invitation Made’, and how the story itself has some strong feminist narratives which put women in the driver’s seat, particularly in the world of dating and relationships. But first, the trailer…
After playing the Film Festival circuit and racking up a number of awards and nominations, ‘The Wedding Invitation’ has just been released on iTunes for wider audiences. What are you hoping new viewers will enjoy most about the film?
First of all, I hope that women will watch this movie together. My dream for the film is that it unites women with their girlfriends. Ya know.. grab a bottle of wine & some guacamole and chips and make an evening of it. The film was so well received on the festival circuit. My hope is that it will continue to touch a chord with new audiences and that they’ll see their own friendships in these three women, Oh, and laugh. I hope that people will laugh. I watch movies so I can be transported into another world for 89 minutes. I hope I can do that for someone else.
Was this always intended to be an Indie film or did you initially approach bigger studios to get it made?
I tried to make this film before ‘Bridesmaids’ came out. Female-driven-comedy was not a genre before the film. At that time, I had a big director attached, a couple of bigger producers. We even had an A-list casting director on board and were making offers to huge names for the lead. But in the end, we couldn’t get it past the money men.
We kept hearing that women meant very little in the foreign market, and nobody wanted to finance a feature with three female leads. The project fell apart. But I knew it was a good script, and that women had related to the characters and the story on paper. So a few years ago I took it back, financed it, and made it. And here we are on the cusp of release.
You have a female driven cast and predominantly women behind the scenes, why was this important to you?
I wrote this script with the sole intention of writing funny roles for women. I was disenchanted with the roles out there for the ladies. As an actress, I wanted to be able to play the funny roles that were written for men. I wanted to be the silly, the inappropriate, the raunchy character. I wanted to have the prat falls and the head butts.
The reason I used an entirely female production crew was because if I was going to be at the helm of this project, I wanted to make a small dent in the gender parity gap that plagues our industry. But not only in our industry, I wanted to empower women on a broader scale. That’s why I created this project on a promise to donate 5% of the net profits of the film to 10 women’s charities and organizations.
We’re so used to seeing romantic comedies where men make all the decisions and women have very little agency. In ‘The Wedding Invitation’, it is your character taking the lead. Was this an intentional theme you included?
Yes. This has always been a metaphor for a bigger theme of empowerment sandwiched between one-liners and hysterical crying. The film follows three best friends who need dates for an 80’s prom-themed wedding. And rather than sit back and let guys choose them, they decide to take control of their dating lives and go out and hit on guys.
But you could really swap out the guys for anything. The idea is that we have more control in our lives than we think, and when we step into that power, we feel whole and strong. So, get out of that bad relationship, quit that terrible job or start that Etsy store. It’s in that vain that I finally made this movie.
Right now there are a number of dating apps aimed at empowering women to “make the first move” and dismantle societal stigma around traditional gender roles in dating. Do you think it is important for audiences to start seeing this as the norm, especially in films like yours?
There are so many single people in the world. So many people looking for love. I encourage every avenue that promotes more connections, more relationships, more happiness. I love what Bumble is doing. I find it very empowering.
You mention in your press release that you have received pushback from people in the industry claiming audiences don’t necessarily want to see female-driven films. How do you prove them wrong and how will this attitude change?
Money. Money will change that attitude. Female audiences are thirsting for it. We’ve just always watched male-driven content because that was the only dish at the buffet. But over the past few years, female-helmed projects have rocked at the box office, and that’s what will move the dial. Money talks. And those numbers mean something. There has been a big shift since I started making TWI. But here’s the problem…We need to get to the point where it’s not called “Female-driven-content” the same way we need to get to the point where I’m not called a female director.
5% of the proceeds from your film will be going to women’s charities. Can you tell us which organizations you chose and why you are doing this?
In the way that we shot the film with an all-female crew in an effort to make a small dent in the gender parity gap that plagues our industry, we’re donating 5% of the film’s net profits to 10 women’s charities and organizations in an effort to move the dial forward for women on a broader scale. The complete list of organizations is listed on our website. But a few are: Women Empowered, Glam-A-THON, Women In Film and GLAAD.
How much sleep did you manage to get while writing, directing, producing and starring in this film? Seriously, how did you juggle all these roles?
You don’t wear that many hats without a lot of help! So I’m grateful to Sage Scroope, one of my producing partners, who sat in on rehearsals so she’d know what I wanted. And when I was on camera, I relied heavily on her and my DP, Alicia Robbins, to be my eyes. I also watched playback on set on every single take. But the truth is, I haven’t had a lot of sleep. It was big bite to take for my first feature.
But the hardest part has been carrying the torch through post-production and distribution. Movies are like babies, and I’m constantly trying not to drop the baby. There are so many ways that films can fall apart. I feel like I’ve been pushing a boulder up a hill for the past two years and if ever I take a day off the boulder rolls back down the hill. I look forward to resting soon. But you know what? I’m so happy with how the film turned out and what this team created. It was all worth it.
You can watch ‘The Wedding Invitation’ out now on iTunes.