LOS ANGELES – Making one film is hard. Try making a trilogy. Actor Lynn Chen starred in Surrogate Valentine and Daylight Savings, two films in a planned trilogy by filmmaker Dave Boyle. But after waiting seven years for the third and final film, Chen decided to write and direct it herself, but this time with a twist.
“In this movie, I take the three female characters from the first two movies, and one of them is Rachel who I play, and I tell the story from their perspectives instead,” said Chen.
Chen grew up in New York where her mother sang for the Metropolitan Opera House, but since moving to LA 15 years ago, she’s always wanted to direct.
“I had a lot of different types of actors in this movie, everyone from people playing themselves to very seasoned actors,” said Chen. “Because of that, I had to figure out how to talk to each person.”
What Chen couldn’t have figured out or planned for was a pandemic.
I Will Make You Mine was scheduled to premiere at South by Southwest, but COVID-19 canceled the festival so she had to rethink how to promote her movie. Without word-of-mouth, it can be impossible to sell an independent film.
“When I talk about indie film, I talk about movies where the people who are making it are making it because they have to make this movie and they want to tell it their way and they’re not answering to a studio,” explained Chen.
Without a studio, Chen is taking on all the risk herself.
“We Kickstarted half of the budget and then the rest of it, I paid for myself,” said Chen.
The entertainment industry across the board is to a standstill, and now COVID-19 is putting stories by and about communities of color at risk.
“Especially indie films by marginalized communities, they already have to work twice as hard to get half as far and that’s unfortunate because we are at a time when audiences are craving diverse narratives and inclusive stories,” said Dino-Ray Ramos, Associate Editor of Deadline.
Stories like Chen’s film and since her movie's entire festival tour was canceled, no one will have a chance to see it in theaters. Still, Chen feels lucky.
I Will Make You Mine will be released digitally on Apple TV and cable Video-On-Demand.
“I’ve had no facetime with any audience,” said Chen. “It really feels like I’m throwing the baby into the pool and seeing if it can swim.”