Director to screen locally shot film in Stamford
What’s a bride to do when a joke goes awry and threatens her special day? Jonathan Smith’s passion project “Batsh*t Bride” will be heading to the big screen on Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Avon Theatre in Stamford to explore that very idea.
Heather, the bride, tries to prove her friends wrong about her type A personality and decides to prank her finacé Bryce, by telling him on April Fools’ Day that she doesn’t think they should get married. Her fiancé, agrees and shares his very real doubts about the wedding, which incites a series of will-they-won’t-they hijinks.
Smith, the director, writer, producer and overall mind behind the eye-catchingly titled film said he spent an estimated 15 years of intermittently working on the film from the original inspiration to the final tweak in the editing room. This is Smith’s third film that he has written and directed and said the process of making the film was alternately a joyful and trying experience.
Smith said he wanted to screen the film in Stamford to thank all the Fairfield County residents who helped him make the film while he was shooting in Westport, Norwalk, Stamford and New Canaan.
“We wanted to bring the home to Stamford, to the Fairfield County area because so many people in and around Fairfield County helped with this movie in ways that they were in no way required to help. So many people went above and beyond,” he said.
Smith said that during one of the wedding scenes he had planned to shoot creatively and juggle the handful of extras he expected to have so it made the church seem fuller. Instead locals turned out in droves to help him film the scene.
“Lo and behold the person who runs the church emailed her congregation and contacted a local blog to post for extra and much to my surprise I showed up at 8 a.m. at the church and I expected to see a dozen people instead I think there was close to 100 people all dressed to the nines like they were going to a wedding, smiling and ready to be in a film. It was unbelievable. I never expected, it was a minor miracle.”
Given that the “Batsh*t Bride” crew shot the entire movie in under two weeks, Smith was understandably under a considerable deal of pressure to get the film completed.
Lead actress Meghan Falcone, who plays Heather, described the breakneck shooting schedule as “a real mental challenge” given that the movie revolves around her character. However, she was quick to note that they all worked on a fun and chummy set.
“I feel like that’s the thing about shooting a movie in two weeks, you have to have incredible people and everyone gets really close really fast. My main memories of shooting this film were the times I spent with Patrick, with Josh, with Jonathan [and] with the girls who played my bridesmaids,” she said. “It was this huge undertaking for everybody and I was just impressed from top to bottom with everyone’s professionalism and the way that people came to make Jonathan’s vision a reality. When you watch the movie, it is a real love project in that people gave so much of themselves and their time to be part of it.”
Josh Covitt, who plays Bryce, Heather’s financé, said he enjoyed making the movie but noted that the production schedule was “crazy.”
“I think what Jonathan was able to pull together on such a fast timeline was pretty remarkable. I don’t know how [Meghan] and Jonathan pulled it off but they did.”
Patrick Collins, who plays Heather’s father, Mr. Papadopoulos, described Smith as “a gentle soul” and commended his directing skills.
“I don’t ever remember feeling rushed and he always asked if you were happy with what was shot. He was calm and on the inside I’m sure he was going crazy because you only have certain locations for a certain amount of time,” he said. “I never witnessed him really harried or anything.”
While his cast thought Smith was impeccably poised, the director doesn’t share the same perspective.
“In the two weeks that we shot this in — which is insanely fast to shoot a feature film — it broke my back, it kinda broke me as a human being. After a couple weeks of depression, basically thinking ‘man, I just finished this huge task and I don’t know what to do with my life.’ I think it’s true that once you finish monumental endeavors, you don’t quite know what to do for a little while. I started to edit the film as quickly as possible,” Smith said.
Falcone described the film as “the story of how the wedding complex can get in the way of the actual marriage. It’s about two people, who in planning a wedding, are forced to part and the worst parts of them are brought to the surface and they sort of lose sight of the relationship that they had.”
She noted that her character has a type A personality, which contributes to some of the zanier moments in the film, while Collins referred to Heather as “an out-of-control bride.”
He noted that he felt the father/daughter relationship in the film added a humanizing element to Heather because while the character isn’t always the best person, his character still loved her unconditionally.
“It’s really a nice story that takes you on a journey. You’re rooting for her, you’re not rooting for her and then you’re rooting for her [and] the crazy bridesmaids are the wackadoodles,” Collins said.
Both Collins and Smith said they hoped the audience gets a laugh out of the film. Covitt said he hopes people come away from the romcom with “little warm feeling in their heart.” Falcone added that she hopes the film makes the audience walk away appreciating their loved ones more.
“As someone who is married, I can say this movie totally speaks to the way it is so easy to get caught up in these stupid details that blur the love story behind any marriage or any relationship,” she said. “I hope that when people leave, they remember all the great things about their partners and not that they didn’t take out the trash or whatever the stupid thing of the moment is that makes you forget how great they are.”
Falcone, Collins and Smith will be in attendance at the screening. Chez Vous Bistro will offer a $25 prix fixe two-course dinner prior to the screening. After the screening, Flinders Lane Kitchen & Bar will offer happy hour drink prices and complimentary appetizers to those with ticket stubs. To purchase tickets to the screening, email email@example.com. For more information about the screening, email firstname.lastname@example.org.