A few weeks ago, I was pleased to hear that Sarah Kernochan’s “All I Wanna Do” (as it is currently known in the U.S.) was going to be screened at New York’s Metrograph Theater. I reached out to them to let them know that I had a 35mm print they could use, and that I would see who might be available to introduce the film and do a Q&A. Sarah, my co-producer Peter Newman, and Tony Janelli, who was the DP, all agreed to come. It turned out that I couldn’t be there because I tested positive for Covid. But reports from the screening reinforced my contention that this film is a classic and deserves to be seen more widely.
“All I Wanna Do” 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 we finally got permission to release the film ourselves, 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 has been available in the U.S.
Apparently, the screening at the Metrograph was packed with fans of the film and the response was very emotional, so much so that the theater has scheduled an encore screening for August 23rd. 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. I’ll be there to introduce the screening. Tickets are available HERE.