Crazy, Winnipeg, love

New romantic comedy highlights Winnipeg’s cultural diversity and sexual attitudes

Best known for his award-winning films Inertia and My Awkward Sexual Adventure, director Sean Garrity brings a fresh look at romantic-comedy films with his new feature I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight, highlighting Winnipeg in a very special way.

“It is a fun rom-com, very cute and heartfelt,” he says.

Along with most of the main cast being former or current University of Winnipeg theatre students, Garrity highlights the uniqueness and need of what he describes as his most “Winnipeggan” film yet.

“I moved back to Winnipeg two years ago after living in Toronto for a spell, and I really felt that I wanted to make a very Winnipeg movie. I put together some pieces that I thought would be the beginnings of a Winnipeg story, and I wanted some of the characters to be Filipino and some Mennonite, which I felt would be important for this city.”

The movie focus on a young adult couple as they navigate their relation- ship, and as the movie tackles sex and romance and the nuisances that can arise from them, it also highlights the cultural boundaries and expectations interracial couples can face.

“We (film producers and directors) want our films to reflect the reality of our city, which is a very diverse reality,” Garrity says.

Speaking on representing Filipino culture, Garrity says that he was very conscious of having sit-down sessions with his Filipino friends and other groups to collect the right information to portray the Filipino community in Winnipeg, and the director says that the Filipino cast members had a directorial role in the film as well.

“When we were on set, the scenes where most or all of the characters were Filipino-Canadians, I handed it over to them,” he says.

“I wanted to work with them collaboratively and let them tell it from their own perspective. How is it for a young woman to come home, telling her family what she is about to do with her boyfriend, and the family does not react well? How does that play out in a Filipino family?”

The director confidently says, “Well, they are the experts, not me. So, we let a lot of things play out that way, giving them agency to tell their own story.”

Lead actor Hera Nalam says that while tackling issues of sex and relationships with different cultures can be uncomfortable topics, it is still important to have these discussions. The Daniel McIntyre Collegiate alum says that audiences should come with an open mind.

“There may be some people who say ‘heck yeah, this is great, and we are finally breaking these standards and expecta- tions of people,’ but there may be a group of people who think that this may not be okay to discuss,” she says.

However, Nalam points out that the movie should not only be viewed with a cultural focus.

“I think the movie is more about the character Iris,” she says.

“She changes from someone who initially cannot decide her own fate to become a stronger person, able to stand up for her own choices.”

The movie premieres at Cinema City Northgate on March 20 with showtimes at 7 and 9:15 p.m.

Published in Volume 74, Number 21 of The Uniter (March 11, 2020)

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