Saturday, July 17, 2021

Movie Minute: My Divorce Party

Ever wonder what would happen if female filmmakers were put entirely in charge? Well, in the case of the upcoming comedy My Divorce Party, diversity got put front and center.

In the comedy My Divorce Party, the protagonist Xan blows through her savings with her friends in an extravagant weekend to ensure her soon to be ex-husband cannot seize any of the money in a settlement. She encounters Ajax in a seedy, desert strip club, where the undeniably attractive exotic dancer stands out amongst the eclectic locals.

The entirely female creative team considers diversity paramount to the structure of the movie. My Divorce Party executive producer, writer-director Heidi Weitzer, says, “It's gross that we have to still talk about diversity as an out of the ordinary thing. Having a cast that wasn't homogeneous was very important to me, because it reflects the world we live in, the world I live in.”

I had a chance to interview Sam Fox and Desiree Staples to learn more.

What is it like having an all-female creative crew?
DESI: It’s been so spectacular having an all-female creative team! And also, extremely unique, as we are rarely in rooms that are entirely female or have a majority of women. It’s been such an exciting and incredible experience, especially because women in film and television are extremely dedicated, passionate, and resourceful geniuses - we’re all used to having to work twice as hard in our respective industries and roles! So, I’ll tell you what, get five women in a room, and watch out, it’s majorly epic teamwork and collaboration!

SAM: I’ve always felt a sense of family when working amongst women. There tends to be either a motherly dynamic, of taking care of each other as well as watching over the whole team. They make sure everyone is respected and their needs are met, while also at the same time, create these sister-like bonds with the other women in the office. Almost every female work relationship I’ve had has blossomed into a beautiful friendship. I trust these women and I know that they have my back, on set and in everyday life.

How will this film resonate with viewers?
BOTH: We’re very excited about this film and how it will resonate with viewers. Divorce is something we feel has only been tackled at the surface level in mainstream media and especially comedy, although it’s something that’s extremely common in our culture! We believe every woman on the planet has gone through some kind of heartbreak, it is in our nature as women to be extremely giving and nurturing in our relationships. This film is very heartwarming, healing, and empowering to those that have gone through a divorce or a breakup, and this film’s message is about coming out the other side of those breakups with joy, self-love, fulfillment, and the goal of becoming the best version of ourselves. That excites us. And what better way to achieve personal growth than humor, debauchery, and with a group of best friends causing chaos in Joshua Tree?!

What has been your favorite thing about working on this film?
DESI: So far, my favorite thing about working on this film is our ability to change the game, break glass ceilings, and evolve out of the “norms” we’ve seen previously in film/television, while at the same time having so much FUN, and getting to create a film that exalts female voices and creatives. We think there’s still a long way to go for female representation in the comedy space: specifically, women behaving poorly on screen and being just as complex and dangerous as their male counterparts in the comedy genre. Pushing the envelope has been an absolute dream, getting to be a part of this film with so many powerful, intelligent, mischievous, hilarious, and complex female roles on screen is incredible.

SAM: From the moment I read the script, I fell in love with this film. It never gets old, the jokes always land. It brought me so much life as I was hiding in my apartment, away from the world and the people I love, during the height of quarantine. I feel that’s a metaphor for this story. Our main character is in such despair, but the friends that surround her bring laughter and light, at the end of the day, everything is going to be alright. Living with this fun, uplifting and hilarious story about friendship for the past year, during what has been one of the scariest and uncertain times in my life, has been my favorite part of working on this film.

Why is it important for people of all backgrounds to see themselves reflected on the screen?
BOTH: It’s so unbelievably important for people of all backgrounds to see themselves reflected on the screen because of the power art has in connecting us all as humans and expressing our authentic stories. For example, we know so many of our LGBTQIA+ friends who had very few queer role models growing up and thus would look to film/tv for community and connection. And in the opposite, but similarly powerful way, I think film/tv can open people’s eyes to communities and people they may be foreign to, encouraging people to be more open, understanding, and accepting. The media should much more accurately reflect our current world and the diversity in it, when we bring in new and underrepresented voices to the forefront, we have the potential to create a whole new era of storytelling in film/media. As recent data from The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media expresses - there’s quite a way to go in terms of parody for women, the LGBTQIA+ community, and people of color in leading roles and representation across the board on screen. We aim to change this - starting with “My Divorce Party,” and will continue to be part of the change, consistently, throughout the work that we do!

Learn more about My Divorce Party:
Find My Divorce Party on Instagram

Sam Fox was born on a farm at the top of Malibu’s infamous Mulholland Hwy. Due to the farm’s remote location, long moments of extreme boredom, and friends consisting mainly of animals, Sam developed a wild and untamed imagination. Naturally, this led to a career in the arts. Over the last 15 years, Sam has worked in all areas of filmmaking ranging from writing, production, directing and acting. In 2016, Sam developed her own production company Foxy Films, under which she has released WOWZERS and UNAGI. She also produced CIRCUS PERSON, which was selected to Tribeca’s 2020 N.O.W showcase and world premiered as part of the We Are One: Global Film Festival. She is currently producing the comedy MY DIVORCE PARTY, which is set to go into production this fall. A hustler by nature, Sam is also currently developing her mother’s memoir, Blood is Thicker than Vodka into a mini series. She resides in Venice Beach and while not entertaining, spends her time painting, surfing, sailing, watching psychedelic horror movies and going to the disco.

Desiree Staples is a producer, filmmaker, actress, and writer multi-hyphenate, who has spun gold in short-form, episodic, and feature film making whilst wearing many hats.
She is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA, a Co-founder of the Female Filmmakers Forum on Clubhouse, and is the Co-President of Northwestern University’s Entertainment Alliance - NUEA West.
Desiree recently produced “Circus Person,” which premiered at Tribeca N.O.W.’s 2020 showcase, and also produced and acted in the feature film “Take Me To Tarzana,” distributed by Gravitas Ventures in 2021.
Staples' dramedy pilot “It’s What She Would Have Wanted” premiered at multiple film festivals and is a part of the 2021 Tribeca Creators Market. She also co-created, co-wrote, and starred in “The Influencers,” which has been selected in over 20 other festivals in the US and internationally.
She is currently producing and set to star in the comedy female-driven feature film “My Divorce Party.”

No comments:

Post a Comment