Ever since her first visit to the Avon Theatre, Emily Wachtel dreamed of screening her film, then a work-in-progress, at the historic art house, not far from her two-bedroom apartment in Stamford.
However, at the time, the chances of it making it onto the Avon’s big screen, let alone any screen, seemed depressingly slim: funding was scant, threatening to derail the project.
It’s amazing how far a dream can take you. After a 12-year odyssey to secure financing, as well as a cast and crew, Wachtel is finally releasing her indie comedy “Lucky Them” in theaters this year.
“I fantasized about it for so long,” she said of bringing the film to the Avon. “There’s a surreal quality to the whole thing. I’m just trying to enjoy it.”
The screening will take place on Monday, June 16, in an event hosted by the Greenwich International Film Festival. It will be preceded by a cocktail hour featuring Moet and Chandon champagne and hors d’oeuvres by Food Design. Wachtel, who co-wrote and produced “Lucky Them,” will join members of the cast and crew for a post-film discussion.
The film, which is directed by Megan Griffiths (“Eden,” “The Off Hours”), tells the story of down-on-her-luck Seattle music journalist Ellie Klug (played by Toni Collette) on her reluctant mission to track down and write an expose on a cult rock hero who vanished from the music scene 10 years ago. The musician also happens to be an old boyfriend who broke up with Klug — hence her objection to the assignment. Along the way, she’s forced to confront her troubled past and the limbo she’s been in ever since.
The film is part autobiography, as Wachtel fell into a period of limbo herself. Though she was reticent to reveal the specific details of the parallels between Ellie and Emily, the filmmaker did say that “everyone can relate to having something in their past, whether a person or an experience, that has shaped their future, or where they are, that they don’t necessarily want to look at it.”
Wachtel was referring to an experience from years ago. But she could just as easily be talking about the making of “Lucky Them.” From the moment she launched the project, Wachtel faced hurdle after hurdle. There were the investors who made promises they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) keep; there were the people involved with the film who left to pursue other projects; there was the death of Paul Newman, the father of a childhood friend and one of her biggest backers.
Wachtel may not have been able to control the setbacks. But she could control her reaction to them. That realization, she said, is what “kicked things into gear.