Squirrels

July 14, 20120 Comments

A Perfect Ending,  for most

It’s about that time again. Outfest time!  Time for my visit to the mothership – Great Britain of Englandshire. It also happens to be the time when Soulkiss Films get their latest feature out to the world in LA, (A Perfect Ending) which premiers this Sunday at 6.30pm at the DGA.

When I go home, I stay with dad, who is 87 and lives practically a hermit’s existence. No internet, no cell phone reception, no car. He walks to the shops. He frets about getting a cab to get to his favourite walks. He knows that I live in the USA where they put jam in the fridge, think Dublin is in London and are Solution Orientated, but is not sure what I’m doing there really. I don’t blame him. The life of an actress is unconventional at best, and I am my father’s daughter in that regard. One day I will come home and stay home, when he needs my help. Until then its one strategy after another to create choice and community in my creative world, to lay the groundwork.

Today I found a catapult in the kitchen. It turns out dad is taking pot-shots at squirrels who are stealing nuts from the bird feeder, as a morning pursuit. (Interventionism 1, Darwin nil.) He goes about this in the same way one in LA might meditate, blog, do affirmations or a few downward dogs.  It not the first time I realise where my sense of stubborn pursuit comes from. What is supposed to happen a certain way should happen that way, dammit.

I am surrounded by women further on in their careers who exhibit the same sense of stubborn determination about their career path – even the pedigree of Morgan Fairchild – but in combination with lateral thinking.  They must constantly reinvent the wheel so life can stay afloat and work can get out there. I look to them for a sense of how-to. What is spectacular about the run up to Outfest this year is the sense of support, cameraderie and community that have srpouted around the film we are offering this year, called ‘ A Perfect Ending’ – which is truly magical. Especially for LA, a place notoriously difficult to create such things.  I left that feeling behind in the UK and until now, have not been exactly sure how to create it in stateside.

When we opened A Perfect Ending in San Fran, our audience flew from Australia, from England and drove through the night from Boston, and the South. All for a little indie film which painstakingly raised its money on kickstarter! And that is the key of course – our audience was very invested in seeing their film do well and live up to the dreams we all have for it.

As a result the connection made with the individual has made a unprecedented turn in the film-making world.   Many of the people who funded the film hung out on set, or came to dinner or breakfast with us and we actually got to know them. (And don’t forget that the 2 film-makers at the helm are moms with 6 children between them, who manage to make films and time for all of those people. Where they drop the ball is a mystery to me). As a result, we connected with what was truly important to them and why they travelled so far to see a film like this – its themes of female sexuality, identity, and orientation.

One thing my dad’s generation doesn’t understand is that a woman might want to sleep with another woman, that they actually have sex, rather than just titter and braid each other’s hair. Dad wouldn’t raise a catapult to defend these views, but it might baffle him a bit that someone could find out they are attracted to the same sex later on in life, or just once – that sexuality is a personal continuim.  His perceptions come from an era where being gay was once a crime, and so we come to blows often.  But when I speak to some members of the gay community, understandably passionate to defend their rights, there is just as much judgement expressed from within about being bisexual. Pick a team! etc. Its the younger generation who doesn’t give a shit: thank god for them.

The thing I love most about this film is that is doesn’t matter where you are on the continuim. It only matters if you aren’t living your life honesty. In it, my character suggests that if hetero sex isn’t working, then lesbian sex is going to be better: a contentious view for some, until you know the history of the filmmakers. Marina was heterosexual and fell in love with Nicole, a lesbian, which gives these statements a little more authority when critics jump in. I then discovered that there are many studies that conclude that women are ‘more likely’ to turn gay then men are, as female sexuality is more fluid than male sexuality, but I wonder if this was true because of something inherrent about female sexuality, or because we live in a patriarchal society still, where the profile of what men do is more evident. They are still expected to lead the way and know what they are doing more than women, and like my dad’s garden, perhaps get attacked more openly for touching someone else’s nuts. Perhaps society at large is more permissive about what women are allowed to do, as there is not the same value on their pursuits? I muse out loud that if a woman made it to president and had an extra-marital affair with another woman I doubt people would react as blisteringly as they did when Clinton did it.  Also, if any of the male presidents had turned gay for a while, he would need military protection, or at least Scientology’s PR dept. But here in the rain-muffled countryside, even the squirrels ignore me. No-one finds this remarkable, as if I have stepped into a brilliant future timewarp. Until I put a DVD of A Perfect Ending into the bird feeder. That gets them pretty excited.

A Perfect Ending from Soulkiss Films premieres in LA on Sunday 15th july 2012 at the DGA. Mary Jane Wells co-stars.

www.maryjanewells.org

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