Logline: There goes the Neighborhood. Kendall, a real estate agent from Miami, moves to the suburbs of New York and immediately finds she has to join forces with Brooke, a competitive rival agent, to sell one of the most expensive mansions in Long Island.
Length: 99 minutes, Romantic Comedy
Director: Kevin Arbouet
Producer: Judy San Roman
About the director and producer: Kevin Arbouet is a writer, director, producer and film executive whose career has been about expanding the idea of what diversity in filmmaking really means. With surprising influences that range from Nora Ephron to Mike Nichols to Bong Joon Ho, he is not only a rising African-American writer/director with a penchant for classic storytelling, but one who is slyly defying stereotyped expectations. With two feature films about to be released and a Super Bowl commercial this year, Arbouet stands on the cusp of a breakthrough.
Judy San Roman wrote the story and produced Fair Market Value. She is an award-winning author, writer and producer. She has made a significant impact despite spending only a short time in the industry. Major inspirations are Ron Howard, Jerry Bruckheimer and Scott Rudin. Founded Reelhouse Productions in 2014. Releasing three feature films and a web series this year, Judy is ready to soar. This is her calling. Practical and artistic, she loves creating jobs as much as she loves telling amazing stories.
Funder and production company: Reelhouse Productions www.reelhouseproductionsnyc.com
Where can I watch it @Bentonville FF? Friday evening timeslot, 7:30pm May 6th
Is this a World Premiere: Yes
Why did you make FAIR MARKET VALUE?
Judy : I have been telling friends the story that would become Fair Market Value for years. People always ask me why I’m single. Well, I’m happy and I wanted to share some of my dating relationships with the world. Married, divorced, bad and good relationships, we’ve all been there. Embrace the confidence in yourself to be successful in life and walk away from what doesn’t make you better. Why not entertain with a strong romantic comedy?
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Because it’s a great story that will touch you. It’ll make you think and laugh as well. It will empower you to see three strong, independent women living life to the fullest but also making bad choices, like most of us do.
What does FAIR MARKET VALUE mean?
In real estate terms, it’s an estimate of the market value of property, based on what a knowledgeable, willing and unpressured buyer would probably pay to a knowledgeable, willing unpressured seller in the market. Our film revolves around three real estate agents who team up to sell one of the most exclusives mansions on Long Island, New York.
How is FAIR MARKET VALUE both a personal and a universal story for you?
Judy: It is loosely based on my experiences with marriage, getting divorced and dating again. Sometimes we stay in relationships where we aren’t given close to 100% or where we don’t have the right partner. Sharing the story can be hilarious when you are looking from the outside or have walked away to be in a better place. I feel it became a more universal story when Kevin changed the third lead to be a lesbian. You aren’t looking for stereotype silly banter but something relateable yet also unconventional. And wow we got it. But ultimately it’s not about gender or sexual orientation. It’s just a good story.
Can you tell us about the lead actresses and why they were cast?
Judy: We had a fabulous Casting Director in Patricia McCorkle for the film. We had auditions for two weeks in New York City.
Kevin, Patricia and I unanimously chose Wendy Makenna from Sister Act and Sister Act 2 to play Jessica. Most of the actresses auditioning came in with a strong Long Island accent, so Wendy made Jessica British. She has a lovely energy and is a very funny lady.
We fell instantly in love with award-winning actress Tina Benko, who is on so many TV shows like Flesh and Bone, The Good Wife, Vinyl, and now on Broadway in The Crucible. Tina reminds me of a young Kathleen Turner. She’s magnificent to say the least.
Lastly, what can I say about Luisana Lopilato? We’re both Argentinian, and when I found her I so wanted to work with her.
I loved her work in the Argentinian remake of Married with Children (Casados con Hijos) as Kelly Bundy (Paola). She has over a million Instagram followers throughout South America and Europe. I knew America was going to fall in love with her too. She’s beautiful, genuine and her comedic timing is impeccable.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on this platform?
Kevin: It's important to me that the movie industry understands that it needs a wide range of diverse voices telling stories. This movie was produced by a Latina woman, stars three women of various backgrounds and was written and directed by a Black man. I can't even begin to think of a movie that comes close to this type of diversity and I long for a day in which this type of production is commonplace.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We are currently working to get distribution for this film. We’re very excited about the buzz with this film and where it will take us.
What type of impact would you like this film to have?
Kevin: The term 'independent movie' can mean a lot of different things but for me it was important that the audience sees this film as a viable commercial property and I think we've achieved that.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view regarding FMV?
Kevin: If there's one thing that surprised me about the feedback to this movie is how positive it's been.
Judy: I feel really great about how amazing people think it is. They couldn’t believe it was an indie film. We had 17 locations.
What's a key question that will help to spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Kevin: Well, to be perfectly honest Fair Market Value is a comedy so its intention isn't really to spark a debate--it's meant to entertain. I mean if there's one debate or conversation one can have, which I can't believe is still asked in this day and age is "Are women really funny?" I feel confident that when the world sees this movie, the answer to that question will be a resounding yes.
Judy: You won’t exactly leave the film debating, but maybe a little more open minded having seen a strong Spanish woman in the lead, and LGBT relationship not portrayed in the typical way one would expect on TV and in film. Ha! Maybe you can debate if our film really was budgeted as an indie?
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Judy: It’s a magical feeling of accomplishment and pride to have our premiere at Bentonville. Geena Davis isn’t just one of my favorite women, but people. She does so much to help bridge the enormous gap in the indie film world. I’m so grateful for her vision to make a significant difference in film.
Where to find us:
Dir. Reel: http://www.kevinarbouet.com/videoreel/
Judy San Roman IMDB