‘Raven’s Touch:’ LGBT Weekly talks to director Marina Rice Bader and actress Traci Dinwiddie about Soul Kiss Films’ fourth lesbian feature-length movieSection 4A, Entertainment News, Entertainment Feature Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
Probably the most remarkable thing about Raven’s Touch is how unremarkable their road to victory was. The idea that a picture could get made simply by donations from hundreds of people is less a tectonic shift in the marketing of movies – it was being done long before this picture – than a clear affirmation that people will always support honest stories told well. And in Raven’s Touch, the honesty and wellness vibrates.
But this isn’t a movie review. I haven’t seen Raven’s Touch in its entirety. For the record, however, I was invited to the Los Angeles premiere which debuted Aug. 1 at the Laemmle Music Hall on Wilshire Boulevard. A subsequent premiere happened five days later in San Francisco at the Victoria Theater.
Still, I was concerned less with the fourth effort from Soul Kiss Films’ Marina Rice Bader itself than by the state of lesbian storytelling. I had recently gorged myself on well-told but unequivocally heterosexual storylines – Game of Thrones, Ray Donovan, arguably Hannibal and just about everything from Hollywood – so, when given the opportunity to speak with the cast and crew of Raven’s Touch, I raised my hand.
The PR tells us the following: “The film tells the story of two women who find healing in the most unexpected place. Blaming herself for a tragic accident, Raven Michaels (Dreya Weber) secludes herself at a remote family cabin. She wanders the woods on the verge of a breakdown, seeking peace in isolation. In a last ditch attempt to save her family, Kate Royce (Traci Dinwiddie) takes her two teenagers camping far from the distractions of technology and young romance. When Raven and Kate’s worlds collide they offer each other unexpected opportunities for intimacy and healing.”
Don’t be tricked. You are most assuredly not being sucked into the dark recesses of some touchy-feely Oxygen Channel cliché. The women behind this picture are all gifted in their own right. Dinwiddie is known for her work on The Notebook, Mr. Brooks and for her recurring spot as blind psychic Pamela Barnes on the CW’s Supernatural. Weber, meanwhile, is a well-known Bay Area actress/producer and aerialist. She has worked as an aerialist for celebrities including Madonna, Cher and Pink, for whom she choreographed several aerial acts including the performance of Pink at the 2010 Grammy Awards. She also performed aerial silk at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. She produced and starred in The Gymnast which took home 28 festival awards, including Best Feature at Outfest, Newfest and Frameline.
And there is also nothing clichéd about how Dinwiddie and director Bader responded to our questions when we called upon them to do so.
San Diego LGBT Weekly: If, women tell stories differently from men (and we know they do), what do lesbians do that differentiates themselves from straight women in conveying a narrative? Are there any differences?
Traci Dinwiddie: To be completely blunt, lesbians have a different narrative only in the fact that their love interest would be another woman. Otherwise, it’s the same struggles. I believe that is the point we are all trying to make. We love. We laugh. We make mistakes. We try to heal and help. It’s all a human journey.
Marina Rice Bader: Great question – I’ve never gotten this one before! For starters straight women just see the world a little differently. The females in their lives are sisters or mothers or friends, not lovers. Their narratives will likely incorporate intimacy and love in a very heterosexual way, but I’m not sure there’s a big difference other than that. Women’s journeys are very similar no matter who they love.
Can stories told from the LGBTQ perspective ever be mainstream?
TD: I think we, as a nation, are realizing that the world we live in has been misrepresented due to fear. Today, thanks to our bold leaders in the LGBTQ community as well as our straight allies, there is less fear of people with varying sexual orientations or identifications. There is more curiosity and eagerness to learn, grow and change.
MRB: Sure, but at this point in time I think you need big names attached for our films to be seen as mainstream. Lisa Cholodenko, who is a storyteller from our community, had great success with The Kids Are All Right, which was a very star driven film. Of course the recent Carol comes to mind as well, but I’m not sure if Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara weren’t on board it would have been a film a straight audience would run to see.
How is what your story is telling a singular experience?
TD: I know that when I have watched this film, I become inspired to be in nature more often. Tal Lazar captures the twisting, fragmented trees, leaves and light as a mirror for the constant shifting of life. This film is about the process of healing, and uses nature as a reflection of our imperfect beauty.
MRB: People responded really well to the tenderness of this story – the real, the good, bad and ugly parts of it, and it reminded a lot of people about how one connection can change you. Heal you.
Which reaction to the picture pleased you most?
TD: My favorite reaction was hearing the laughter from the audience over the family arguments. It felt like everyone could relate to that experience and got to celebrate that connection.
If a gay man and a lesbian woman made a picture, what would it be called and who would star in it?
TD: I’d get a kick out of seeing Wanda Sykes and Nathan Lane in a Trading Places type film.
MRB: SMACK DOWN! I swear this is the first thing that jumped into my head so I’m going to run with it: An outrageous comedy about two ex-pro wresters – one super-out lesbian amazon and one super-closeted stud (who are best friends in real life) who are both on the outs and need money fast. Lightbulb moment! You can imagine what happens next. Good Lord, did I just think this up?
How was making Raven’s Touch a unique experience for each of you?
TD: It was unique in being the first time I had two directors. Spending two full weeks in the woods with my cast and crew was super special and rare. Lastly, I have never played a character quite like Kate. So, I’ve got a new notch in my actor’s belt.
MRB: This was my first time collaborating with someone – Dreya is such a pro and a magnificent human being all round. I loved working with her so much!
For more information on Raven’s Touch visit soulkissfilms.com/ravens-touch
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