Romantically ready Andrea is days from marrying picture perfect Brent, when her first love, Gabriel, walks in to her pre-wedding photo shoot, turning her libido up and her world upside down.
Andrea reaches out to successful oldest sister, Lori who is having her own problems as she is suffering, alone, through premature labor. Middle sister Charlotte is overwhelmed by her career, kids and commitment-phobic boyfriend, Isaac and wonders if now is the time to break free of their relationship. Surprisingly, these three intelligent, charismatic, independent women are all manipulated by their overbearing Mother, Miranda, and her archaic archetypes of womanhood.
We spoke with the film’s writer/director/producer Kiara C. Jones exclusively on the red carpet for the Urban World Film Festival Opening Night presentation for “Beyond the Lights. UWFF is presented by BET and HBO.
Q: So tell me about the film you’re premiering?
The film is called ‘Chrismas Wedding Baby’, it’s a romantic comedy – it’s actually a relationship-family-drama packaged in a romantic comedy wrapper, about three women who are struggling to close the gap between the women who they are and women they wanted to be.
Q. Did you write it as well?
A. I am the writer, director producer, and editor. I did the original music for the film.
Q. You sang on it?
A: (Laughs) Well, I wrote songs.
Q. What inspired you to write this story?
A: You know, I’ve gone through a lot of changes in my life recently, being a woman, I wrote the film about three sisters, and I have two sisters, and people who ask me ‘is this about you and your sisters?’ but my sisters will tell you, it’s more ‘three versions of Kiara’. I’m realizing as a woman in my twenties how different it is than being a woman in your thirties, and now compared to a woman approaching her 40’s.
Society’s vision of you and your vision of yourself are in a constant evolution, and I wanted to write a film that explored those different states of womanhood.
Q. Interesting, tell me about your role as producer as well and what that process is like, what are the challenges of doing it all yourself?
A: There are many challenges to doing it all yourself, I don’t recommend doing it all yourself. The producer’s job is to make sure everything keeps spinning- all the plates keep spinning, so you never really get to focus on one particular thing. Your job is to make sure the wardrobe is in, the money is in, the talent is satisfied, and the craft services is there. I wore many, many hats during this production, but I’m glad and really proud of how the film came out, even though I had to take on all those roles.
Q: Can you speak about how you got started in film and entertainment?
A: Absolutely. I’m a veteran; I was in the Air Force. I did broadcast radio and television for many years and then I went onto live shows and events. I was living in Las Vegas and I wasn’t really happy there, so I wanted to move to New York and I needed a really great excuse, so I decided to apply to film school and I got accepted at New York University, one of the best film schools in America. The whole point was I wanted to tell my own stories – I was using all my talent to tell other people’s stories, but I really wanted to say some things from my own heart, and that’s why I became a filmmaker.
A: That’s awesome! Looking forward with this film your premiering, are you taking it to more festivals? What are your hopes for it?
Q: We’re really hoping for a distribution deal, and I’m open to many different platforms of distribution, not only theatrical but, you know, there’s lots of VOD options right now, there’s the way the whole internet has changed the game, so I’m open. We’ve got some people asking the questions, which makes you feel really good, but we’ll see what the answer comes out to be.
A: Absolutely. What’s next for you after this project, there’s always something next?
Q: Well life imitates art; I’m engaged (laughs). But what’s next for me? I’m working on another feature script; I have a couple of projects that are in production right now, that are going to be coming out, so it’s just continuing to keep the plates spinning.