Screw the Title, See the Movie

Sarah Kernochan’s “All I Wanna Do” (as it is currently known) is a movie that I’m incredibly proud of, for all the reasons that attracted me to the project to begin with. It was a very personal story, from an accomplished, Oscar-winning filmmaker, who had yet to be given the opportunity to direct a fiction feature. The script was funny and entertaining, geared toward an underserved audience (young women) and dealt with a moment in history (the birth of feminism) that would be enlightening to the target audience.

The trials and tribulations of getting this film released have been well documented in Peter Biskind’s book Down and Dirty Pictures, but suffice it to say that it had something to do with the myth that young women were not a sufficiently large audience to support a substantial theatrical release–this, in spite of having an amazing cast of well-known stars that included Kirsten Dunst, Gaby Hoffmann, Rachael Leigh Cook, Heather Matarazzo, Merritt Weaver, Monica Keena, Vincent Kartheiser and Matthew Lawrence, and for the grownups, Lynn Redgrave. Ironically, the film was a hit in Canada, where it was released broadly, and the film is considered somewhat of a cult classic by Canadian women who were 12-15 years old when it was released.

The original title was “The Hairy Bird,” a sly, slightly racy, slang reference to male genitalia. This was deemed by the folks at Miramax to be too obscure. They changed the title to “Strike,” which “tested better,” but only served to make the film seem like some kind of social issue drama. When I finally got permission to release the film myself, we reached a compromise that both our filmmaking team and Miramax could accept, which was “All I Wanna Do”–which is the title by which the film is available in the U.S.

All these many years later, I’m pleased that Columbia University is including the film in a day of films directed by women that they’ve entitled “Visionary Women.” The 35mm print that is being shown is from the Canadian release, which includes a couple of scenes we were forced to cut from the original U.S. release. So, even if you’ve seen the film on some other platform, you owe it to yourself to see it in its original form.

Here is the schedule of events, with direct links to buy tickets:

Saturday, September 15
Visionary Women
Presented by Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP

12 PM: Tanya Wexler’s “Ball in the House”

2:45 PM: Sarah Kernochan’s “All I Wanna Do”

5:45 PM: Joan Micklin Silver’s “Chilly Scenes of Winter”

9 PM: Gillian Armstrong’s “Starstruck”

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