‘Forev’ a rare comedic film fest gem

“Forev” co-directors Molly Green and James Leffler. (Submitted photo)

Film festivals aren’t typically a breeding ground for great comedies, as brooding dramas and thought-provoking documentaries are more the norm.

Even the ones that do get selected are often overshadowed by their darker or more serious counterparts from other genres by film festival crowds.

“We were worried about that initially,” Molly Green, co-director of “Forev” said. “It’s really hard for festivals to program comedy.”

It would seem that the early concerns Green and her directing and writing partner James Leffler had are being put to rest as their independent romantic comedy makes the festival rounds and wins over crowds and critics alike.

“Forev” has already brought home the Audience Award at the Portland Film Festival and the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Tallgrass Film Fest in Wichita, Kan. In addition, the film was a selection at the Los Angeles and New Orleans Film Festivals.

If there were a “Sun Media Best Feature Award” handed out at the Twin Cities Film Fest, “Forev” would have been the 2013 recipient.

“Forev” was shot over the course of 19 days, mostly weekends so cast and crew could keep their day jobs, near Joshua Tree National Park in California.

The cast and crew of “Forev” shoot on location near Joshua Tree National Park. (Submitted photo)

It features Noël Wells (a featured cast member of “Saturday Night Live) as Sophie and Matt Mider (“Cracked,” “Funny or Die”) as Pete, neighbors who get engaged during their first date – a road trip to pick up Pete’s sister, Jess (Amanda Bauer, “Mad Men,” “The Myth of the American Sleepover”), from college.

Green and Leffler have been collaborating on projects since their time at the University of Texas, where they also met Wells and Mider.

Wells and Mider approached about Green and Leffler about directing a sketch for them. The pair wasn’t interested in that, but they were keen on a feature film.

“We built the idea around them and their dynamic,” Leffler said of where the story came from. “And around that same time we started getting wedding invitations from our friends.”

When it came time to add dialogue to the story, the directors pulled out some scenes and allowed the actors to improvise. A lot of the dialogue that came out of those improvised scenes ended up in the final product.

“We wanted it to feel tight and natural,” Leffler said. “But we did leave them some room to do some more improv during filming.”

Despite the actors’ enthusiasm to improvise, it didn’t take long for the hot desert sun and the cramped space of a vehicle with the air conditioning turned off to sap some of that gusto for multiple, improvised takes.

Still, the duo is happy with how natural the characters and dialogue seem in the final cut.

“Forev” will continue making the festival rounds, after which Green said it will be available on multiple platforms including iTunes, Video on Demand and Netflix.

For more information on “Forev” go to forevmovie.com.

Contact Jared Huizenga at [email protected]