Brooke and Doug Purdy’s comedy/drama hybrid about a couple managing her reoccurrence of breast cancer at the same time her father is on the decline with Alzheimer’s and possibly most alarmingly, their daughter has an all-important 8th birthday party coming up, made its Los Angeles premiere at NewFilmmakers L.A. on Saturday, December 16.
A film festival that more or less, never ends, holding screenings throughout the year, in Los Angeles, New Filmmakers L.A. emphasizes promoting the filmmakers and their films at their screenings and events the way every film festival should (but somehow don’t always remember that should be a priority) with a personal and enthusiastic approach. While managing the red carpet entrances (I have been assisting the QUALITY PROBLEMS crew with their film festival run and press and PR needs), I saw NewFlmmakers Executive Director Larry Leboe at the screening’s pre-reception ushering filmmaker after filmmaker toward some production exec or agent/manager-type or other VIPs to introduce them and talk about how amazing he thought they were. As someone that constantly preaches about the need for film festivals to offer “concrete” benefits to the directors and actors and film artists that attend their film festivals, it was heartening to see. I was impressed.
The screening itself was very much a family affair. The film naturally lends itself to that by both its subject matter and style and the way it was conceived and brought to fruition, but the audience was filled with supporters of not just the Purdy family (Brooke and Doug co-directed and starred in the film with their son Max and daughter Scout), but the dynamic producing trio of Jen Prince, Jhennifer Webberly, and Colette Freedman, as well as the several cast members that attended. Needless to say, there was a lot of love in the house before the film even started.
Afterwards, I was graciously invited to co-moderate the Q&A with New Filmmakers’ Board Chairman Danny De Lillo. At a point toward the end of the Q&A, Brooke was asked, “Why do it?” “Why write the script and go through everything one has to in order to make a film a reality?” Her response was to ask anyone in the audience that had actually lived through a cancer diagnosis to raise their hands. About a dozen hands were raised in the audience of several hundred. Then she asked anyone that had gone through the experience of having a family, member, a friend, a loved one go though the experience of being diagnosed with cancer and everything that follows. easily two thirds of the audience raised their hands.
“That’s why,” she said.
Her son, Max moved over to Brooke and hugged her in the moment. It was appropriate on almost every level that the exchange had more or less closed the evening. The film will continue what has been a successful and award-winning film festival run into the first part of Spring before moving into the domestic release phase. I am, unabashedly, a fan of QUALITY PROBLEMS, and the collective group – or I should say, family – behind it.
All that being said, here are the photos from the red carpet: