Rom Com Fest announces Call for Entries for 1st edition
of film festival celebrating the romantic comedy
Make a date for the first annual Rom Com Fest! You, too, can be a loud and proud romantic comedy lover and be surrounded by like-minded fans and filmmakers come June. This fun-filled and unique festival will not only have the usual moderated Q&As with filmmakers, panel discussions, red carpet, and additional networking events, but it will also include speed dating, craft night, and a pajama party! You had me at, “Hello”, Rom Com Fest! It aims to celebrate womanhood, love and life through visual medium including film, film art, music videos, and screenplays – anything with a romantic comedy theme. The film festival will also have a dedicated focus toward female filmmakers and strong female characters. I was lucky enough to pick the brain of Founder and Executive Director Miraya Berke about the upcoming event. Here is our interview and information about how you can submit your film for the Rom Com Fest‘s debut year. Of course, we’ll be bringing you all the updates and coverage as the details unfold. See you in June, Movie Lovers!
What was your personal inspiration in creating Rom Com Fest?
I am an experienced designer with a background of planning community events and festivals and always am thinking of new ways to experience events. I personally love romantic comedies and feel they don’t get the recognition they deserve. Recently with the success of CRAZY RICH ASIANS and TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE, I’ve noticed a new excitement around the genre and was inspired to create an experience to celebrate rom coms through programming of films (new + classics) and experiences to connect the community. 2.5 years ago I launched Dessert Goals in NY and since have planned 7 dessert festivals bringing together over 20,000 dessert lovers to celebrate all things sweet – my goal is to create a similarly beautiful and joyful experience for rom coms!
The rom com industry usually pulls in a fair bit of the market. Last year, CRAZY RICH ASIANS blew away the competition globally. Why do you think they are often dismissed as fluff and how do you think filmmakers can attract a wider audience?
I think CRAZY RICH ASIANS served as a reminder to studios and production companies of the natural widespread appeal of a great romantic comedy in the marketplace. There are so many iconic rom coms over 20-years-old that have been our longstanding classics. Because romantic comedies are focused (obviously) on the pursuit of love and happiness in relationships, they can be dismissed as frivolous entertainment. And yet, the desire to find one’s true love or make those kinds of connections is something that pretty much unites us all, right? I see an opportunity now for more films in the genre to emerge and in order for them to succeed I think they need to be inclusive, representative and relatable, still with a satisfying ending.
What can we expect to see from the fest in terms of classics?
We plan on programming a few classic films but, we are far from solidifying our schedule. I can say, though, that we hope we can showcase anniversaries some of the classics.
Will we see any familiar faces on guests’ panels?
We’ll see. Oftentimes, the ability to have appearances by filmmakers and actors are dependent on a lot of things. While, we are thinking about what we can program in terms of panels to talk about the art of romantic comedies, and of course, have filmmakers here to participate in Q&As following our screenings, there is still much that has to be determined yet when it comes to our programming.
What are your favorite genre films?
My all-time favorite rom coms are 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU and 500 DAYS OF SUMMER. I’m a big JGL (Joseph Gordan-Levitt) fan!
To take a page straight out of the WHEN HARRY MET SALLY playbook (and at my husband’s request), do you think men and women can just be friends? That really is the burning question in so many of these films. The “will they, won’t they?” of it all.
I do think men and women can just be friends and hope to see new films that can show a realistic and relatable storyline with friendships. To be a rom com though there does need to be the romantic element, so the guy friend who would a part of the story but there should still be a happy ending.
Music is a huge part of romantic comedies. Some of the most iconic soundtracks come from our favorites. What are three that you still play?
I adore the music of rom coms! Some of the songs on my regular playlists include I Want You To Want Me (10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU), I Say A Little Prayer (MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING), and I’ve Had the Time of My Life (DIRTY DANCING).
Some perhaps less familiar French titles that (as a film critic) I’ve been exposed to are LET THE SUN SHINE IN, AMÈLIE, ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS, and, A FAITHFUL MAN. Will there be any international selections this year?
We’ll see. The idea of romance has no language boundaries, right? Of course, we are still accepting submissions and scouting at other film festivals so our program isn’t set yet. I do hope we’ll get some international submissions and be able to program an international selection.
What do you think is the rom com’s enduring appeal?
I think we all crave a feel-good ending and an opportunity to escape from the stress of reality, and rom coms provide the perfect treat.
Los Angeles-based film festival will shine spotlight on the genre as well as those rethinking the form and embracing it on new media platforms. In addition to screenings, highlights will include speed dating, craft night, and a pajama party.
Los Angeles, CA (January 9, 2019) – Rom Com Fest today announced a Call for
Entries for the inaugural edition of a brand new film festival focused on and celebrating
the romantic comedy, which will take place at Downtown Independent in Los Angeles
(251 S. Main Street) on June 20-23.
Led by Founder and Executive Director Miraya Berke, Rom Com Fest will screen a mix
of new and classic romantic comedies, as well as hosting filmmaker panels, parties, and
other events to celebrate the genre and offer a touchstone on the West Coast for film
fans and filmmakers that love and create romantic comedy films and film art. Highlights
will include speed dating, craft night, and a pajama party, as well as the expected
moderated Q&A’s with filmmakers, panel discussions, red carpet, and additional
Berke said, “We’re looking for empowered and uplifting stories that have us re-thinking
the romantic comedy genre. We will showcase all types of film (feature film, foreign,
shorts, music videos, web and television series), and even include a screenplay
component. If you’re doing something different, we will take a look. Turn in interesting art about love. Rom Com Fest is designed to both celebrate romance and the romantic
comedy, as well as examine the form, explore its future, and give it the respect and yes
– the love, we feel it deserves. You could say we take our romantic comedies seriously
at Rom Com Fest.”
Berke is a female entrepreneur – founder of Pop Productions event boutique studio and
co-founder of Dessert Goals, the popular dessert festival in New York and Los Angeles.
With a background in events and partnership and a personal love of romantic comedies,
she is passionate about the romantic comedy genre and its legitimization in the eyes of
film fans, filmmakers, and critics, in addition to the pure enjoyment of the films
Berke added, “There’s a film festival for everything it seems – even in this city (Los
Angeles), but what about the romantic comedy? Especially nowadays, we all need
something uplifting to escape to. Routinely dismissed by film critics as a lesser genre
artistically, romantic comedies aren’t simply traditionally beloved, but also a true art form
which has produced some of the most classic and enduring films we know today. These
films should receive the recognition they deserve along with an experience to bring
together a community of film fans that flock to them. Thus, we created Rom Com Fest.”
All films submitted must have a romantic comedy theme. Films can vary in length from
two minutes to two hours. Categories will include feature film, foreign, shorts, music
videos, web/TV series, screenplay, etc..
Rom Com Fest will look to showcase female filmmakers and strong female characters.
While open to all genders, the film festival will lean towards stories that are directed
and/or written by women or have female-driven plots with dynamic female leads.
• Early Bird: February 14, 2019
• Regular: March 10, 2016
• Late: March 30, 2019
• Extended: April 20, 2019
ABOUT ROM COM FEST
Rom Com Fest celebrates womanhood, love and life through visual medium including film, film art, music videos, and screenplays – anything with a romantic comedy theme. The film festival also has a dedicated focus toward female filmmakers and strong female characters. For more information about Rom Com Fest, visit romcomfest.com.