I learned some interesting factoids recently. Only 4% of Hollywood films are directed by women, but women buy 52% of the movie tickets. Hmmm. It seems that there are few females who crew on film sets and that only 15% of the major speaking roles in films are enacted by women. Double Hmmm.
Hollywood's Cathryn Michon, director, co-writer and actress of the movie Muffin Top: A Love Story, is trying to change all that. On Muffin Top, which she is also currently promoting around the country through an impressive Kickstater campaign, Michon claims to have hired the first all female artist Soundtrack/Score of a Romantic Comedy. In addition, 50% of the crew on Muffin Top was women, reflecting the percentage of people who actually buy tickets.
These are staggering facts, of course, but what really struck me is how laugh-out-loud funny Muffin Top: A Love Story is. And not just for me. My boyfriend and the whole audience was howling.
I knew that a film that has a tag line, "Love hurts. Cake helps," would resonate with me. However, I didn't think my male friends would engage as much. Michon explains that, "Men are also tired of hearing how women hate their bodies and how they wish they were supermodels." So they can relate to the hilarious trials and tribulations of the average female's journey to accept her own body, and ultimately, her life.
Muffin Top is the story of Suzanne who, while going through a divorce, also goes through a period of self criticism and insecurity, which sends her down the path of mild self-destruction, but also self-discovery, coming out stronger and more grounded on the other side. She experiences some liposuction, chicken cutlets as breasts, dating younger men and a series chocolate cravings to get there, keeping us in stitches along the way.
It is remarkable and commendable that Michon put her labor of love , Muffin Top, together on the smallest of budgets with the smallest of crews, and yet the film overlooks no detail. The result is a film that looks like it was made for 10 times the budget.
Ah, but Cathryn hails from Chicago. She studied theater at Northwestern and went on to perform with Second City before moving to LA and writing for such TV hits as Designing Women, China Beach, Sisters, South Park and Diagnosis Murder. So it should be no surprise that she has an insatiable work ethic and that no stone was left unturned in making Muffin Top into a funny and smart film, as slick and professional as any Hollywood romantic comedy blockbuster out there today.
Enjoy the trailer for Muffin Top above and my interview with Cathryn Michon and James Beard Award winning Chef Mindy Segal for our mini Dinner Party over sweets from Mindy's Hot Chocolate below. In the podcast, Cathryn and Mindy share some words of wisdom for young female directors and chefs.
Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that there were no females hired to write music scores.
Muffin Top: A Love Story is available on On Demand, iTunes, Amazon.com and more. Cathryn Michon will return to Chicago on February 16th as a guest on The Dinner Party.