A Perfect Reception

So far, this has been a perfect festival for Ed Gaffney.

He got to show the world premiere of The Perfect Wedding, the movie he co-wrote with his wife and son, in the town where it was primarily filmed. He got one of the major stars of the film—namely Kristine Sutherland— to attend the festival. The show sold out its first and second screenings, and after Sarasota Film Festival officials slotted a third showing of the film, that sold out too.

“We just hope the next festival goes as well as this one,” Gaffney said.

The movie, shot entirely in Sarasota County, tells the story of a gay man attending his sister’s wedding and dealing with the consequences of an ex being in attendance. But while the film has a gay storyline at its core, the screenwriters consciously tried to put the characters’ sexuality in the background. Gaffney hopes the approach can mainstream the view of gays in society the way The Cosby Show normalized the view of the black middle class in America.

Sitting in the Filmmaker’s Lounge with director Scott Gabriel, the two plot out any number of places the movie can go from here. The next stop, most likely, is another festival circuit trip to Frameline, an internationally-renown gay festival in San Francisco. But Gabriel sees the movie reaching mainstream audiences as well. “We are open to all different ways of getting this film to an audience,” Gabriel said. That could meaning getting an agent and signing a DVD distribution deal or connecting with a television network. Of course, if the film can go to broad theatrical release, that would be fine.

For now, the film is enjoying a successful run here, and enjoying attention for the high-power players involved. Sutherland (Legal EaglesBuffy, The Vampire Slayer) was a sought-after star on the film festival’s Opening Night. Gaffney’s wife Suzanne Brockman has been a New York Times best-selling writer for more than a decade.

This post originally appeared in SRQ Daily. To subscribe, visit SRQMAG.COM

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