Crafting a Midnight Kiss - Behind-the-Scenes of a Lo-Fi Indie

The director and stars of In Search of a Midnight Kiss tell us about making the movie.

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Sara Simmonds
AH: It was a chance to make the movie better because at that point we had the money to do those shots properly. There are loads more extras in the mother scene, and there's also a big moment with Vivian that we ended up cutting from the original cut where she's in the theatre and she takes the sunglasses off and has a good look around. I think it was the tipping point of her character's transformation and I really wanted to go back and do that properly. I'm probably the only one who cares about it, if you've seen the other cut it doesn't matter, but it makes a big difference to me.
In the end, we stuck to our guns and convinced the US distributor to release the black and white version of the movie and they gave it the full treatment on a colour correction system so it just looks beautiful now, but it was great to get the opportunity to go back.
SS: The festivals were really fun though. I remember getting to Tribeca and thinking, "Oh shit, if they hate it, we're stuck here for nine days." But it was incredible; we completely sold out the premiere and then sold out every single screening after that. We'd stand in the side aisle and watch the movie with everyone, and they just got it from the very first moment.
AH: When I read the first review I cried. My last two films have had attention but they never got a chance to survive outside of the festival world and so I knew how critical it was that it was well received. It is the type of film that needs to be championed by critics because otherwise it will never see the light of day. Distributors won't take the time to take a chance on a black and white movie without name recognition in it. I was scared shitless that I was going to have to go back and wait tables again, which I've had to do after every movie. After the last one the paper even did a write-up on "Alex Holdridge will not have to take out the trash anymore," but sure enough, two days later I'm back waiting tables, you know. The manager of the restaurant even put it up on the wall out back so I'd walk past it every time I was taking out the trash.
SM: That's how they encourage you in LA, you know, by rubbing things in your face...
A still from In Search of a Midnight Kiss
SS: It brought tears to my eyes too when I saw the laughter off the bat when the words came up on screen. It was an overwhelming joy, it was insane. All of the hard work we'd put it had its chance to shine.
SM: It wasn't until the next morning when we started getting all the phone calls that we realised people had loved it.
Alex Holdridge
Alex Holdridge
AH: After three films going nowhere with all this VISA debt on my back, if this film hadn't done well it'd have been a disaster, so from the end of the screening until the next day I was just terrified.
BM: But as all the reviews came in I remember joking with you, like, "There's got to be a bad review coming in eventually! Are they just hiding the bad ones?"
SM: They called us and said that the four interviews they'd scheduled for after the screening had changed into 24 interviews.
AH: It wasn't until I read the first review from a serious critic, on the streets of New York reading it on my phone and just crying my eyes out. You live your whole life on how your movie is going to be received; your career, your life, your family, your friends, your finances, it's all riding on this being a success and you're working in such isolation that you just don't know for months on end. It was such a rush, even finishing it. I didn't sleep for three days on end getting the sound mix done. The fact that it was received and went over well was an enormous relief.
The fact that we brought it over here to Edinburgh and it went over, I think that was the best week of my life. But the movie's coming out properly here for the first time anywhere so this week is really the moment.
In Search of a Midnight Kiss is released in the UK on 13th June and the US on 1st August. Find out more here.