Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Romance Novel Industry Documentary

A new documentary exploring the diverse and financially lucrative romance fiction industry is in the works. Cindi Finneran and Charley Reeves of Norman, Oklahoma had read maybe half a romance novel between them. They didn't know much about filmmaking, either.

Despite their lack of experience, they went to Houston intent on making a documentary film about the romance novel industry. Finneran, a hairstylist and single mother of three, had done professional freelance photography for years, but never video. Reeves, her fiance, is a graphic designer and 3-D modeler for an architectural firm. His main leisure time passion: music. Creating a documentary? Not on the radar, until Finneran came home and suggested it.

The two share a couple common interests: They love to learn new things, and they never pass up an opportunity to have an adventure. So when a client of Finneran's, Sharon Sala, published author of more than sixty romance novels, suggested she and Reeves team up and document an upcoming romance convention, Finneran and Reeves knew that was a project they should take on together.

Two weeks later, the two were headed to the 2007 Romantic Times convention in Houston. Finneran said it was an eye-opener. "Here was a whole world I didn't even know existed,” she said.

Hundreds of romance novel enthusiasts roamed the convention floor, most of them in costume. Finneran and Reeves soon learned that for one week every year, romance writers, fans, publishers and the male models who pose for the books' covers converge at the convention to walk, talk and act out romantic fantasies. Captivated, Finneran and Reeves grabbed a video camera and started shooting. They had no agenda, no objective, but a lot of curiosity.

Reading, Riting, Romance: Taming the Alpha Male, is the result of that first shoot, a documentary covering the 2007 convention and more than a year's worth of interviewing and filming, including a follow-up visit to this year's Romantic Times convention in April in Pittsburgh.

"This year it was almost like coming home,” Finneran said. "When I arrived in Pittsburgh, I found myself getting excited. I realized I knew how they felt. I got it. I got the sense of community these people have. They see each other only once a year but they share this great passion. I respect that. I want to capture that passion on film.”

The premiere of Reading, Riting, Romance: Taming the Alpha Male is planned for March, 2009 at the Cut Film Festival in San Diego.


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