‘Bite Me’ RomCom screening at Glenwood Vaudeville Revue
What: Film screening of Naomi McDougall Jones’ new romantic comedy
Where: Glenwood Vaudeville Revue theater
When: Thursday, July 11. Dinner at 6 p.m., screening and Q&A with Naomi McDougall Jones at 7 p.m. Joyful Vampire Ball at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets: www.gvrshow.com/reserve.html#reservations or 970-945-9699
In her new film “Bite Me,” writer-actress-producer-activist Naomi McDougall Jones wanted to make a romantic comedy like the one’s she loved growing up in the ’90s, but with a twist.
“There’s those certain notes that every great RomCom hits that you wait for and you ache for and make your heart pull at the end,” Jones said. “We hit all of those notes, but I think we also managed to update it.”
Jones, who grew up in Woody Creek and initially developed her acting chops in local theater, is currently on a “Joyful Vampire Tour of America,” which is a “49-screening, 40-city, 3-month, RV-fueled, old-school, carnival-coming-to-town extravaganza” that arrives at Glenwood’s Vaudeville Theater this Thursday.
“Bite Me,” which has the subtitle “A Subversive Romantic Comedy,” is about “the real-life subculture of people who believe that they’re vampires and the IRS agent who audits them.”
“It’s about outsiders seeking acceptance, being seen and loved for who they are, which feels like a pretty urgent theme right now in the world,” Jones said. “The film addresses those themes, but in a hopeful and comedic way.”
The initial idea for the film came to Jones through a conversation about the vampire subculture with another actress while Jones and she were on the set of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.”
Jones began researching vampires through their internet vlogs, and reached out to them before making the film. But she found them “extremely cagey” about it, because they’d been burned by pop-culture representations spoofing them before. (The vampire community has since embraced the film as a representation of them that feels realistic, Jones said.)
So as part of her research for the role, Jones began walking around New York City in character, with blue hair, a face tattoo and goth clothing.
“It was so shocking to me the way people reacted to me when I looked like that,” she said. “I began to develop an attitude like ‘how dare you judge me!’ which was useful because that’s what the character begins the film with.”
Jones initially got into filmmaking as a reaction to the lack of quality film roles for women. After graduating from New York City’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she spent years taking the roles that were offered before deciding that if she wanted better roles, she’d have to create them for herself.
She wrote a feature film called “Imagine I’m Beautiful,” and then she and a friend went to “film school by coffee dates.”
“We cold-called film producers we found on the internet and got them to have coffee with us and tell us how to make a movie,” she said. “As soon as I started making that film, I knew that that’s the thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
The “Joyful Vampire Tour of America” is actually an innovative idea that runs contrary to the traditional method of distribution for independent films. Instead of putting the film in the hands of a distribution company, Jones decided to tour the film around the country, making its screenings more of an event.
“What you’re asking people to leave their houses for is not just the screening of a movie that they could watch on their couch, but truly an evening and an experience and a chance to meet the artists,” she said.
As such, Glenwood’s Vaudeville Theater will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 11 for dinner, followed by a screening of “Bite Me” and a Q&A session with Jones. Then at 8:30 p.m. the Joyful Vampire Ball begins. Everyone is invited to wear “whatever makes them joyful” whether it’s vampire-related or not.
“It’s been incredibly special to go to community after community and get to have this intimate and moving and human experience together,” Jones said. “So that thing that you love but have thought, ‘when the heck am I ever going to wear this?’ Wear that. Now.”
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