“”…Despite the fact that I’m playing June and share a similar loss , I’m very different… I don’t think a person like June could write about a person like June.”
When I last talked to director Rebecca Weaver, she and producing partner Chris Irwin were in the middle of their second crowdfunding campaign. After raising $8,000 on IndieGoGo, the pair were ready to go back to the same niche generosity that shifted their feature-length debut from dream to reality.
Seven months, another $5,000 and one sold-out Wisconsin Film Festival screening later, and things are looking pretty good for June Falling Down. A humble homecoming for its title character (Weaver, as well), June Falling Down dresses its whirlwind of a personal crisis in flannel shirts and country music, as the directionless June returns home on the one-year anniversary of her father’s death for the wedding of Harley, a friend she might be in love with.
About as “Wisconsin’s Own” as a film can get this year, June Falling Down gets the absolute most out of its Door County setting, drifting in and out of local businesses with a cast of predominantly local talent. Ahead of two festival screenings and an appearance on the Sundance-hosted “The Life of a Wisconsin Filmmaker” panel, Weaver talked with me about her surprise sell-out for “5 Questions:”
1. How does it feel to have a second screening added? I can’t remember the last time that’s happened with a Wisconsin’s Own selection at the festival.
It’s pretty wonderful and overwhelming. We were completely shocked. June Falling Down is a very, very low-budget, practically homemade movie – so we’re obviously thrilled just to have an audience. I don’t know, the rush for tickets (our first screening sold out on the first day of sales) seemed, from our perspective, to come out of left field, honestly! But it is exciting to see movies made in Wisconsin, by Wisconsin people, so I’m really glad that folks are coming out to see this little indie movie. It’s a very humbling experience.
2. June Falling Down deals with these safe, cozy expectations about what life is, like getting married and then having a kid. Knowing everybody in the neighborhood. Being satisfied with settling down. June’s character is pushing up against that as a free spirit and since so much of this film seems guided by your own experiences, I’m wondering if that give-and-take with home is something you wrestle with too, especially now that you live in LA.
Well, I essentially made a love letter to Wisconsin in some ways, so obviously I love where I’m from (the traditional and the not so traditional aspects)! And I miss it terribly, living out in LA. I would say June’s stance against a more traditional lifestyle is something I definitely related to more as a teenager, so I kind of took that rebelliousness and exaggerated it in June. It’s just more interesting to have a character with a dramatic point of view, especially when paired up with Harley’s more traditional life choices. And I should say, despite the fact that I’m playing June and share a similar loss (of my father to cancer), I’m very different from this character! I don’t think a person like June could write about a person like June… if that makes sense.
3. We’ve talked about the influence of your own father on this project. How important was it for you to show June’s father in flashbacks?
The flashbacks to June’s father are essential to this movie. June’s grief is the underlying current to everything she does. I don’t want to say it explains her character necessarily, because I think her rebelliousness is part of who she is, but her terrible memories of her father’s sickness absolutely influence her behavior throughout the movie. The painful flashbacks that June experiences back home are exactly what drove her to leave for a year in the first place.
4. So much of your production was affected by the Door County area. What was that early premiere like last fall for your cast and crew?
It was wonderful! I will say, though, it was less a premiere than a private screening – it was just for cast and crew and contributors to our Indiegogo campaigns. So of course everyone there was rather biased. But it was an incredible night. We put it up in the Camp David barn (great summer music venue in Fish Creek for “Fishstock”) and had a keg of Spotted Cow. It was pretty magical. Door County is just full of incredible artists and art lovers, and we’re so grateful for all of them.
5. When I talked with you last year about your crowdfunding campaign, you described making June as a “marathon.” Do you see yourself starting another “marathon” anytime soon?
I’m definitely planning on making another movie in the next couple years, but I’m praying it won’t be another marathon quite like this one! I’ve started working on a feature script that I also want to direct – a little darker, more of a rustic, crime-based, suspenseful kind of story, also in Wisconsin. I’d love to shoot in Door County again. June had a crew of about two – my goal is at least five for the next one!
- June Falling Down plays Sat, Apr 16 at 7:00p and Sun, Apr 17 at 8:30p in the Union South Marquee.