It’s the Wednesday of the Festival. This is when most of us filmmakers relax. Our films have all screened. The projector didn’t explode during the climax of the film. The audiences didn’t turn against us. None of our actors forgot their lines. We’ve all had a few screenings, with a few to go. We can breathe.
It’s the Wednesday of the Festival, and for me, I could not be more nervous. You see, my parents get into town today, and tonight at midnight they are going to see my film for the first time, up on the big screen, at the Egyptian Theatre. They’re spending the entire day flying from Boston to Vegas to SLC to sit in a theatre with 285 strangers. For nine minutes.
The film I’m here with this year is a short called EX-SEX (“like sex with your ex” is what I tell everyone on the bus), and it’s probably the most personal story I’ve told. As the title suggests, there is indeed a sex scene. That was actually one of the reasons why I wanted to make it – I wanted to portray sex in a way I simply haven’t seen before. And now my parents are going to bear witness to this.
Thankfully, I already had a near heart attack experience earlier this week when the parents of my actress (Kristen Riley) came into town. We weren’t sure if they should come to the screening, so we sent the film to Kristen’s sister in New Jersey to get her advice. She thought it would be okay, as long as they were prepped beforehand.
Before the screening, we all had dinner on Main at Taste of Bangkok: Kristen, myself, her parents, and Jacob Womack, the actor that plays Kristen’s ex-boyfriend. I learned that Kristen’s father was a bit of a daredevil and that everything has been crossed off his bucket list. He’s jumped out of planes, raced Nascar, and explored underwater caves. This was slightly reassuring, as perhaps seeing his daughter naked on screen might not even compare to some of the crazy experiences he’s had.
We got to the Redstone Cinemas and soon learned that the screens are MASSIVE–like six times the size of the screen we had played on before. As the film unfolded, we huddled in the aisle listening to the audience’s reaction. It was huge. Before our premiere screening at Prospector, I had only seen the film on my laptop. And seeing it here, the film played far more intense than I had ever imagined it would. It was inescapable. It was huge.
During the sex scene, I envisioned Kristen’s father jumping up, grabbing my neck, and basically scolding me Homer Simpson style. The worries were for naught: after the screening, they were more than complimentary. They loved it. We all breathed.
Until today. Now it’s time for my parents to see it. You see, my parents have had sex exactly twice. Once when they got pregnant with my sister. And once when they got pregnant with me. And even though I’m married, I am very much still a virgin. At least that’s what we think of each other.
And tonight, even though it’s not literally me on screen disrobing, it really feels like it. Wish me luck.