Miguel Ali, Director/Writer: CONFESSIONS OF A WOMANIZER
1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of CONFESSIONS OF A WOMANIZER, from concept to financing.
Confessions of a Womanizer was motivated by an entirely different film. At the time, I was developing a biopic about Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto – and since Bhutto’s story was based on fact, there was no way to mask the drama. She dies at the end of the script, no matter what. Although I loved the story, it was still terribly depressing, and to balance out my mind, I decided to write a comedy. Confessions of a Womanizer, in a small way, was my personal biopic, about my life in Orange County, at times. Most importantly, I wanted to write a comedy about coming to grips with yourself and learning to love and forgive oneself. My main creative collaborator, Erick Crespo (who co-produces all of my films) was the first person who encouraged me to write an indie comedy, over dinner in Orange County. Up to that point, we had won many awards for our short films, but Erick wrangled me and told me that we now had to graduate to features… the rest is history. I’m lucky to have Executive Producers like Erick Crespo, Gary Quick and Matt Pena who put down the investments and time to bring this story out. I’m also lucky to have producers like Tim Schaaf, Julia Haye, Pauline O’Con and Rosalinda Morales who really did everything possible to push the film. If you want to have a ‘chance’ at being successful, you need to surround yourself with good people, and the easiest way to do that is to write a damn good script.
2 Q: Cinequest is proud to host the World Premiere of CONFESSIONS OF A WOMANIZER. Explain to us how it feels to bring this film before audiences for the first time, and what do you think their reaction will be to your film?
I can’t wait to hear their laughter, because I’m pretty sure that no one has ever seen a film as funny as ours. We’re also deeply proud to premiere at Cinequest too, especially since it’s an Oscar-affiliated film festival. For us, it shows the world that our film is not only comedic, but that it’s also full of depth. When you hear a title like “Confessions of a Womanizer starring Gary Busey” you might instantly think it’s a B-Rated comedy, but we have so much more depth than that. Cinequest is a validation for us.
3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making CONFESSIONS OF A WOMANIZER?
The best experience was, truly, every day on set. We had a very small set – literally a full staff of around 10 people (for a feature film, that is tiny). We all became very close on set, and there was a family-like atmosphere where we really looked out for each other. There was a lot of laughter between takes. Andrew Lawrence and Andrew Caldwell also made the set an absolute blast because they’re both so hilarious and team-oriented. Any day with them was always a pleasure. The worst part? Honestly, nothing about the process was the worst. I will say though – when we offered roles in the movie to major actors, the waiting that ensued for them to get back to us – that was anxiety-ridden. Ultimately, we ended with people like Gary Busey, C Thomas Howell, Jillian Rose Reed and The Bella Twins. But there were a lot of moments where I worried that we wouldn’t have a recognizable cast, and those were sleepless nights. Come to think, there were a lot of sleepless nights, but those all happened during pre-production and post-production. During production, we made a solid game plan and made sure the necessary funds were in the bank, thus, there wasn’t a single roadblock (at least during the actual production).
4Q: Festival audiences often have to make hard decisions about what to see, and the catalog descriptions sometimes run together. In your own words, why should people see your film?
People should see our film because Gary Busey has given us a performance that is worthy of an Oscar (I am not kidding – it is that good). I also promise you – you will have never seen a funnier movie than Confessions of a Womanizer. We are a hilarious film, that also carries a touching story. Of course, this is the feature film debut for The Bella Twins, as well as the feature film debut for Kelly Mantle, who is a transgendered rising star – she also gave us a performance that is worthy of Oscar consideration.
5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Best Director Oscar for CONFESSIONS OF A WOMANIZER. Give us your acceptance speech.
My speech? I hope that history never writes of me as an “auteur” but rather, as a “collaborator.” I love telling stories, but that’s not what truly drives me. What truly drives me? Collaborating with other artists. Working with other artists is what makes film fulfilling for me – it’s the second best feeling in the world, behind being a good father to my little boy, Seneca.
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