My full-circle moment for Mother of All Shows and Brooklyn
It's hard to believe that I'm finally going to get to share my debut feature film, Mother of All Shows, with an audience next week! That the world premiere is happening in New York is a dream in and of itself, but the fact that the screening is taking place at the iconic Cobble Hill Cinema, as the opening night film at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, is a full-circle moment I wasn't expecting.
I grew up studying musical theatre and dreamed of one day being on Broadway, as most musical theatre majors do. In fact, as a teenager I basically wanted to have the career of Bob Fosse: directing and choreographing for stage and screen. I was pretty obsessed. After theatre school I moved to Toronto from the suburbs and started building a career there, but never lost sight of that NYC dream.
In my late-twenties I started to spend a lot of time in Brooklyn; some of my friends had moved there, and I was thinking of making the move myself. I would usually stay in Carroll Gardens, cat-sitting for some wonderful friends I met through the Toronto theatre scene who lived there now. My visits were always a mix of meetings with people about jobs and opportunities, catch-ups with show biz friends who were building lives and careers there, and solo journeys around the city to get inspired.
One of my favourite destinations was the Cobble Hill Cinema. I remember walking to it the first time and seeing that old, beautiful building and being in awe. It was absolutely my jam: the marquee, the Old Hollywood murals and images... I was in love. I took myself to see so many movies there.
Here I am just after watching Sherlock Holmes at the Cobble Hill Cinema in 2009.
I remember one night I went to see Julie and Julia (which I like to call Julie vs. Julia, because I think it's a more appropriate title, but that's a different story), by one of my biggest inspirations, Nora Ephron. I sat in the theatre, ate my popcorn, and took in the beautiful romance between Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci (the two stars of that movie, as far as I'm concerned). A perfect night at the movies.
On the walk home I thought about the prospect of making a movie one day. It would be a musical. It would be colourful. It would be something I would want to take myself to see at a theatre just like Cobble Hill. It seemed at once so close and yet, very far away. I was just an actor from Canada, cat-sitting in Brooklyn, watching a movie like millions do, with no clear, obvious pathway to becoming a writer/director in the movies like Nora. Just a gal with a dream. I went home, cooked some not-nearly-good-enough French food and did some writing. Something was activated in me that night.
I never did end up moving to New York: I met someone in Toronto and fell in love. Part of falling in love included making some short films together. And then those films become feature films, and here we are today: a studio and streaming site of our own, making our dreams come true, on the precipice of the world premiere of my first solo directing outing: Mother of All Shows, starring the incredible Wendie Malick!
As I sit here, and think about that younger version of me - walking around Brooklyn, fantasizing about making movies - I'm overcome by the fact that it actually happened. I not only managed to make a motion picture; I get to screen it in a place that holds so much majesty and magic for me. I get to share it with an audience in a space that has screened films since the 1920s. I get to be part of the legacy of that building and this industry in my own, small way. I hope there's someone in that audience that wants to make movies. I can't wait to see what story they tell...
If you want to join us on June 1st, tickets here.