Everything Adam knows about love, he learned from the movies. Unfortunately, Adam is no Cary Grant, and the closest he’s come to experiencing true romance is one drunken night with his unrequited love, Kate. But that evening was not exactly An Affair to Remember, so he casts himself and Kate in a movie recreation of their one night, hoping for a better ending. It’s a total flop, and Adam is forced to cast a new Kate when she no longer wants any part of her part. But re-casting Kate leads to an ending that even Adam never saw coming, in this playful comedy about love, movies, and how our love of movies affects how we love.
My love of great screen romances started at a very early age. I can still remember sitting between my mother and my grandmother when I was a child and crying along with them at the end of Romancing the Stone. Growing up, I always felt like falling in love would be as natural for me as it seemed to be for all of my favorite characters on screen. But I was one of those shy guys that never really got the girl, and I started to wonder what happened to the happy ending that so many of my favorite movies had promised me.
After a while it became clear to me that part of my problem was that I never really recognized the signals that were being communicated to me when I’d meet girls. That, or I would simply misinterpret the signals completely. Subtleties of human behavior were completely lost on me as a young man, and any romantic scenario that didn’t remind me of some scene I had watched in some movie left me in completely foreign territory. I would often feel lost and unsure of how to respond, and wonder how Cary Grant or Humphrey Bogart would handle the situation.
As I became increasingly frustrated over the years with my romantic flops and mishaps, I questioned how many romantic possibilities I had missed out on over the years as a result of my obsession with movies and what they had (and hadn’t) taught me about love. I also wondered how many relationships struggle as a result of the exact same thing. All of these questions about movies, and love, and the relationship between the two influenced My Movie Girl, a film that explores how I overcame my addiction to “movie love” and was able to experience all of the beauty and complexities of “true love” for the very first time.
- Adam Bronstein
About the Production
My Movie Girl started as a desperate attempt to rekindle an old romance with a crush that I was still in love with. My crush, Kate, was going to play herself, I was going to play myself, and we were going to make a romantic comedy together that would involve us reliving our single night of passion on film. I hoped this dramatic reenactment would lead to her finally realizing that we were meant to be together. Of course that’s not what happened, and what was meant to be a sweet little romantic comedy with a happy ending (both on-screen and off) became something far more personal and autobiographical than I could have ever imagined.
When Kate left the project, we had to question whether we still had a film or not. My co-writer and I talked about losing our leading lady, and realized that the events transpiring in my own life in the months following the fallout with Kate were far more interesting than what I had initially scripted.
We spent a year developing new writing and began to rehearse with actors to see how the material was working. It became clear to us that the script was perhaps too autobiographical, and that I was too stuck on trying to recreate all the moments from my life exactly how I had remembered them.
It wasn’t until I was able to start seeing “Adam” as a character (and not really me) that the movie started to come together for us. We threw out half of the script and started more re-writes based on my life, but with a level of drama and intrigue that isn’t naturally present in most people’s day-to-day lives. We were finally making a movie and not just filming a diary.
The blend of real life drama and classic silver screen romance that became our aesthetic called for production values greater than we felt we felt we could capture on digital video. We chose to shoot the majority of the film on Super-16mm film to create a richer cinematic experience. This forced us to be very strategic with our shooting. We did very few takes to conserve film, and even went so far as to pre-edit the film so as not to shoot complete takes of any one shot. Shooting on film today is a nearly impossible option for a micro-budget film, but in the end we’re all happy we took the gamble.
A number of years were spent developing the project from script to screen in and around San Francisco (we often filmed in the actual locations that inspired the story). Finances were always tight, and there was a lot of starting and stopping for us that frequently stemmed from my own struggle to let go of my reality in favor of a story that would be more appealing to an audience.
In the end, I didn’t get the girl, but we did make the movie. Our small village of incredibly devoted filmmakers saw something at the heart of My Movie Girl, and remained faithful to the project through completion in May of 2009.