[Editor's note: Out Twin Cities Film Fest is hitting the Theatres at Mall of America next week with special screenings and events showcasing LGBTQ-themed cinema. Leading up to the festivities, we'll be highlighting a few of the participating filmmakers.]
Screwball comedies are a dime a dozen. Oftentimes they are all hype, and fail to deliver anything original. So it's understandable if there was any skepticism when the Out Twin Cities Film Festival announced Denver-born Stewart Wade's upcoming film, Such Good People, would be screening at the event. What could Wade create that hasn't already been done? Fortunately, Wade delivers. Such Good People is a hilarious tale full of greed, sibling rivalry, twists, turns, orphans, and, obviously, porpoises. The flick stars Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) and Randy Harrison (Queer As Folk), as a house-sitting couple who find $1 million. Scott Wolf, Ana Ortiz, James Urbaniak, and Lance Bass also make appearances.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, Wade caught up with City Pages to discuss not only his film, but also his film background, how he used Kickstarter to fund such a huge project, and what is was like to work on such a tight schedule.
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City Pages: What is your background in filmmaking?
Stewart Wade: I have a MFA in playwriting from UCLA, and while I was there I also took film courses. Later, I went back and took additional film writing and directing courses through UCLA extension. It was in the program that I directed my first short film, "Coffee Date." It went on to become a big hit on the festival circuit, and made me realize that filmmaking was something I could do.
What was your inspiration for Such Good People?
I have always loved the screwball comedies of the 1930s, as well as the later versions like What's Up, Doc? When I was approached with the script for Such Good People a few years ago, it felt like a contemporary version of those movies I'd loved, with the added benefit of having a loving gay couple as the central characters. I also thought the movie, despite being a delightful romp, had something real to say about our need to "keep up with the Joneses."
What are you hoping people takeaway from the film?
I'm mostly hoping they laugh and have a great time. But I'm also hoping it shows them that gay people can be as crazy and screwed up as anyone else, as well as showing them to be as caring and as human as everyone else.
What was it like working with this particular cast?
This cast was amazing. They were so much fun to work with; often as funny offset as on. Everyone knew it was a low-budget picture being shot on a very tight schedule, so no one was a diva. Everyone really was just there to make a great movie, and I think we did.
This film was funded by a Kickstarter, was that your first experience with it?
Yes, this was my first experience with Kickstarter. It was nerve-wracking, but also very exciting, and so gratifying to see that there was so much support out there for our little movie.
Why do you think LGBTQ film festivals are so important?
Festivals like these are important both as social events for our community, and also for the chance for us to see our stories brought to life. Humans need to experience art to help them process their lives, and LGBTQ people need that just as much, if not more, than other folks.
What's next for you?
I just directed a short film, which I'll begin editing soon, and I'm in various stages of development with a few different features. Fingers crossed; I may be shooting another feature before the end of the year.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
Stop making excuses for why you can't get things done and just go do them.
If you could collaborate with someone who would it be and why?
I had a terrific time collaborating with David Avallone and David Michael Barrett. I'm hoping we get to do it again soon. But I'd also love to collaborate with a host of other talented people. Off the top of my head, I'd have to say Joss Whedon. He's just so fun and has a great sensibility.
IF YOU GO:
OUT Twin Cities Film Fest
Theatres at Mall of America
For tickets and info, visit www.otcff.org
$10 for single screenings; $200 for all-access pass
Wednesday, June 4, through Sunday, June 8