Filming "The Upside of Iris" in Georgetown
D.C. is widely heralded as the home of government, power, influence, and (occasionally) a good sports team or two, but certainly not film. However, local filmmaker Jennifer Schwed is trying to change that.
On Monday, writer, director and producer Jennifer Schwed started shooting her feature length film, The Upside of Iris at the Pie Sisters shop in Georgetown. It is a quirky and loveable tale about Iris (a hopelessly romantic woman who sees the world upside-down) and how she uses her unique perspective to reconnect with her childhood love, and change the lives of those around her. The film that Iris has most been compared to is the French classic, Amélie.
In one of the more humorous (and touching) scenes filmed at the Pie Sisters shop on Monday, Iris gives her magical “perspective-enhancing glasses” to Mrs. Stanislav (the shop owner) and urges her to gaze upon her husband. After about 50 years of marriage (apparently the last couple decades of which have been spent constantly bickering) the last thing Mrs. Stanislav wants to see is see is Mr. Stanislav. However, under the pleasant pressure from dear Iris she gives in, dons the glasses and is absolutely floored! Through the specs she sees her husband, but not the crotchety old grouch she was expecting, but she sees him as the young, strapping man that she fell in love with so many years ago. She remembers what things were like, and the flame of love is reignited.
This is a truly local, indy film, and nearly the entire production team is from the D.C. area. The beautiful young woman playing the lead (Ms. Charley Tan) was actually “discovered” walking on M Street!
Schwed admitted, “Charley is absolutely perfect for the role of Iris. When I saw her walking in Georgetown, I literally said out loud, ‘That’s Iris. That’s our girl…’ The only problem on-set we’ve had is that her romantic interest in the film, well, his character’s name is ‘Charlie,’ so when I say, ‘Hey Charley, I need you to do this or that,’ two people turn and say, ‘Okay!’”
Having written, directed or produced 12 short art films that have played at over a dozen international film festivals, Schwed was asked, “What is the biggest challenge so far in making a feature length film?” Her response? “Raising money.”
Although her team has not yet reached their budget goal, they are forging ahead, but are keeping a keen eye out for those who can help. “We are definitely interested in talking with patrons of the arts, film investors and even local companies regarding sponsorship or some type of ‘tasteful’ product placement.”
You can see an earlier promotional shoot and get more information on the film and how you can help support The Upside of Iris here.
By Doug Bradshaw, associate producer of The Upside of Iris