Get ready to see yourself on the indie screen, Miami. After the Wedding, an independent film written and directed by Claudia Cifuentes -- one of three sisters behind Pink Forest Films -- will start production in the 305 this summer.
There's only one thing. They can't do it without our help.
After the Wedding is a dramedy that follows newlywed Diego Diaz (Nick Puga) as he heads down to Miami for a few weeks to finish his latest novel before his wife (Edy Ganem) comes to meet him to attend a friend's wedding. But when he becomes emotionally intimate with a sexy bartender (Krizia Bajos) upon his arrival, he and his new wife are left to examine the true state of their young marriage.
Sounds good, right? (We're just about ready to pass the popcorn.) But here's the challenge: Unless the sisters raise the funds to back it up, they can't start production.
It's a good thing moviemakers no longer have to rely on big movie production companies to make a movie. With help and support from the community, little guy moviemakers can fund-raise their own production budget with Kickstarter, the all-or-nothing fundraising strategy that has worked for over 10,000 projects since the website launched in 2009. But like all good things that seem too good to be true, there is a catch. If Pink Forest Films are able to reach their goal of $75,000 within the time period set, then their project is funded. But if their project fails to reach it's goal, then they get nothing.
The Pink Forest Film sisters are hoping to attract support for Latinos in Hollywood. After The Wedding is being made by a Latina writer and director, Latino producers, and features an all-Latino cast. Compared to the past, Latinos are enjoying an bigger presence at the box office; however, they are still underrepresented in front of and behind the camera. The Cifuentes sisters are also proving that the world of filmmaking is not just a man-dominated world. With big-name movie directors like Scorsese and Spielberg running the show nowadays, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow are making feminist history with critically acclaimed films. And now, the ladies behind Pink Forest Films are also wearing the pantalones and showing the world who's boss.
We chatted up After The Wedding screenwriter and director, Claudia Cifuentes to talk about the film as well as her fundraising efforts.
New Times: What was your inspiration in writing this film?
Claudia Cifuentes: The inspiration came from a few elements. I started writing the script a couple years ago after I got married and kind of knew that I wanted to write something romantic. I wasn't really seeing movies about newlyweds--usually movies tend to cover up to the part where there's a wedding, but doesn't really show what happens after the wedding and what the marriage is like. And then also, I was really inspired by the city of Miami. I've wanted to do something in Miami for quite a long time, so I sort of organically just started putting these pieces together and came up with the concept of After The Wedding.
How far along are you in the filmmaking process?
Right now, we launched the Kickstarter campaign and we are looking to raise our funds of $75,000 by May 26th so that we can shoot our movie in July. We are moving slowly but surely along, and we're really hopeful that Miami is going to come out and show their support of a small, but independent film in Florida.
Where do you plan on shooting in Miami?
We're looking to shoot specifically in the Wynwood and the Design District area. It's a very exciting place to be right now and I feel like there's a lot of really cool stuff coming out of that area. We would love to showcase that area as well as Miami Beach.
Can you tell us more about the leading star of the film?
The film stars Nick Puga, who I actually went to Palmetto High School with. He was the typical class clown and I was a quiet introvert. We kind of just stayed in touch through Facebook and over the years, I would see his commercials when he was making it in L.A. Then when it came time for casting, I knew I needed to get somebody kind of charismatic and funny to bring the role to life, so I kind of just messaged him through Facebook and told him, "Hey, I'm putting together this project, do you want to get yourself on tape?" In 24 hours, he took a rather serious piece I had written and put a spin on it -- it was really hilarious and I knew he was right for the role.
What is the entertainment industry lacking that you feel you and your film can help change?
I just feel like we're at a point now where there is definitely a lot more Latinos and diversity in the industry, but in terms of the way Latinos are portrayed, I kind of would like it be a little more contemporary. I believe that in the next few years we're hopefully going to see a lot more voices coming from Miami and people telling their story. There are just a lot of points of view I feel are not really being captured right now, and I feel like in the past it's been a little limited, but now we should be moving towards the point where we're focusing on the characters' humanity, not their nationality.
Is there a message you hope After The Wedding will help get across?
I think it's really just a story of hope and ultimately, a love story. The story is about a guy who goes to Miami to work on his novel and he becomes emotionally intimate with a sexy bartender while he's down there. Without giving too much away, the whole incident serves as a catalyst for them to kind of be a little more real with each other. I personally like stories that are real, but that are also hopeful.
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Are you confident you will meet your goal?
I do. We're putting a lot of faith in Miami. I feel like there's kind of a spark and movement in Miami happening that my sisters and I would really like to be a part of. I mean, people like the Borscht kids are doing an amazing job of producing content, and people like Diliana Alexander are doing an amazing job of promoting the industry down there. We just really want to be a part of that movement, so I think that for us, we're just really relying on Miami and hopefully, we get to work with Miami on this.
What do you have in store for donors to your Kickstarter project?
We've got some really fun incentives -- everything ranging from signed copies of DVD's to attending our wrap party hosted by Sebastian Puga, to my mom teaching how to make empanadas. It's really a kind of grassroots, fun Miami project so I really hope that people will check it out. I also really hope this encourages Miami in general. I feel we're kind of a tap resource, and a way for Miami to say, "Hey, let's make some noise!"
Want to see After The Wedding on the big screen? Visit the Kickstarter campaign here.