A Perfect Ending’s Perfect Family Pt1 of 2

Every time I blog I’d like to introduce you to more of our film family — in this case my manager and dearest Confident Melanie Rice who along with Philly Q-Fest was mostly responsible for the phenemonal screenings that were all sold out (Three in Philly ) as well as in her own backyard, Atlantic City.

After we left all our lovelies (Soul Kiss Family that joined us both in SF and for our LA OUTFEST Premiere we (Marina, Barbara Niven, Co-Producers, Fontessa DeRidder and Melanie Rice) jetted off to Philly for Q-Fest and the Atlantic City Premieres of “A Perfect Ending.” Ohhh the nostalgic briny boardwalk, flashing neon lights and endless ka-ching, ka-ching of possibility (and desperation) at the slots against the endless sea of blue which I watched from the hotel room (as my bad back transgressed to pinched nerve).

Because Melanie is a Big Deal in AC, her friend (and now ours) the handsome debonair Joel Ballesteros from Resorts Casino Hotel provided us these gorgeous suites and we cannot thank he and his staff enough for our phenomenal visit and it was there that I spent my alone time and spent some big-time gratitude prayers for all the love around me.

Melanie Rice is one of a kind. She’s the Bomb! She’s not only the best manager EVER, far more importantly she is one of my dearest friends and we were now on her side of the red states (‘How u doin’”) and I noted a bit more Jersey Girl in her swag.

This was Melanie’s town and it has been her amazing Philly connections that she brought into to help us. The night I broke down in the middle of the 14th rough cut, when I didn’t think I could handle one more technical issue in post production. Or when I realized we would never get the music finished in time. Need another composer? No problemo. Twirls her magic wand, a composer pops out of her hat by the name of Bob Fowler who along with Stephen Ridley has produced the most beautiful score EVER!! Need the most amazing voice you’ve ever heard? No problemo! Melanie (we simply call her The Knight in Shining Armor “ride-into-save-the-day?”) tosses Bob’s wife, Kathy Fowler, into the mix, who sings the spiritually divine Pavane you hear in the love scene.

Melanie Rice Bob Fowler and wife Kathy Fowler

Melanie Rice, Bob Fowler and wife Kathy Fowler

And after the screening as we were revved by the best feedback from a predominantly straight audience… I had the opportunity to see Melanie’s heart and soul.

You have to understand in the Soul Kiss Family we have been so busy making “A Perfect Ending” for you all that our tunnel vision (which gets the job done) doesn’t allow us sometimes to see the passion and heart that drives our supporters. Melanie sang, “Over the Rainbow.”

I sat stunned. I know Melanie sings. I know she gigs every week. I know she plays for bands all over the eastern seaboard and is at the epi-center of Atlantic City’s entertainment bookings. But I had NEVER known she possessed the voice of an angel. Two bars in I cracked…balled like a baby hearing HER passion…HER reason for being here, and who she is and how she helps everyone around her, plays warm and wise counsel to so many, feels pain deeply, loves even deeper — every nuance of her performance was — …well — all Melanie…delicate, tender, sultry, and with a heart that knows no boundaries to how much she loves. But what I adore, is her radiant smile — it is the purest of joy – a five year old tasting cotton candy for the first time, it’s full of “wow, who knew it could be this good?” She always always makes me feel better. ANd no matter what, younger. Because there is always a bit of mischief lurking around that twinkle in her eye, she is no stranger to adventure, NO matter what’s going on.… I will never forget that night — finally seeing the whole of my dear friend.

Synchronicity has been one of the most abused words in our film family, cast and crew. But that’s how “A Perfect Ending” became possible. As in every city we were joined on the east coast by another one of my dearest life long pals and original friends and supporter of “Claire of the Moon” Betsy Koffman in Atlantic City as well as the young dynamo Jade Gasper who’s been there from the Kick Start (pa-da-dUMB!) on — filled out our gang in Philly with her tech partner Lisa.

Yes, and while me and my pinched nerve had to be schlepped around by wheel-chair all over the place (ohhh so humbling!!!) I began to really wonder why I was feeling so differently about all the premieres and festivals I have been to and it, (DUH!) finally came to me.

I have festied for over 20 years from “Claire of the Moon” on…But “A Perfect Ending’s” festival experience, has been unlike any other. Don’t get me wrong. The night COTM premiered I was out of my mind with glory…(before I was humbled by the birth of my children and premature sun) and have shed many a tear with fellow preemie Moms during “little man’s” run.

But this festival circuit truly became a celebration as much about the PEOPLE involved in the making of “A Perfect Ending” – as it was about the film which at its core is a film about love and passion empowering one to never settle as seen through Barbara Niven’s COURAGEOUS and exquisite portrayal of Rebecca. The film”s theme, at it’s core, is that love can pretty much heal anything as witnessed by Jessica Clark’s brilliant first feature role as the sultry and mysterious Paris.

We did all the same things we usually do; With all the flash and glam of step and repeats, the hugging and sharing with supporters, the wonderfully sold out Premieres~ Still… it was different. As if we were their in solidarity – one body — all bloody proud that we took a risk, a gamble, whether it was 5$ or 15K and it paid off…

I would like to thank everyone in Philly at Q-fest – Thom Cardwell and Ray Murray for the BEST & LARGEST EAST COAST festival available to our community. But the person to whom my heart goes out to and thanks a million times over and should be running Sundance~~in my perfect world– is Carol Coombes the warmest and most filmmaker oriented programmer in the circuit. She so cares about the filmmakers she truly makes sure everything is perfect right down to whether you have enough pillows in your room. Carol…I love and adore you…

Many thanks to Larry Sieg (pres of the Greater Atlantic GLBT Alliance for sponsoring our special screening in Atlantic City where we played to a predominantly straight audience and proved what we all know to be true: “A Perfect Ending” is DEFINITELY CROSSOVER!!

I loved being able to see the ocean again… and it was watching this other side of the coastline, sunrise mornings – the only time I was ever alone that I realized why this circuit with “A Perfect Ending” has been so very different….which will be part 2 of this never-ending blog… so much to say…so little time to say it! …to be con’t

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