I remember I was sitting in a restaurant exactly a year ago talking to a friend over lunch about Twilight. Right then, another friend called me and said that she had a friend who was having some serious marital issues and reading Twilight was bringing up a lot of emotions for her. Right then I thought "this is incredible. This must be the fifth time I've heard this in months." I had a flash about how interesting it would be to do some sort of investigation or study and then I thought "documentary." I practically had the whole vision of the documentary right there and then and started the process that night.
The process of selecting women was challenging. I wanted to interview women of all ages and ethnicities, but I also wanted them to be somewhat insightful about why love Twilight - I would ask them: Most of the time, they would say "Oh my G-d I love Twilight so much. I could NOT stop reading it when I started." And I'd say "Wow...so what do you think it is about Twilight that affected you so intensely? What did it bring up for YOU?" Once we would get to those kinds of questions it was pretty clear whether it would be an interesting enough interview!
Many of them said they actually never thought about it before and even when prompted, had difficulty tapping into it. So that's pretty much how we screened women. I didn't want it to become a situation where I was pulling teeth in the interview, so I tried to select women who had some initial insight into their love of Twilight. With practically no budget, we could not afford to have a ton of interviews that we were not going to use. I think we only had one interview that we did not end of using. In terms of the women we did interview, there were moments where it was clear that they had reservations about getting into certain issues and I respected that. But for the most part they were all pretty open about their thoughts and feelings.
As you can imagine, some were more comfortable talking about deeper feelings than others, which was fine. I have tremendous respect for the women who let us interview them and talked so openly about their personal lives.
I think on all accounts it is a positive thing; however one of the issues that the film explores is what this "desire for something more" really entails. Sometimes it is simply a desire for more connection, excitement, and/or more intimacy in a relationship, and sometimes it can be more symbolic of an underlying need for something to be fulfilled within oneself. This is something that comes up for most people at various different points in their lives (a need/seeking for "more") and often it is tricky to decipher between whether that need can be met by someone else, within one's own self, or both. Again, we explore this balance in a fresh and interesting way that most people can relate to on some level - whether they are Twilight fans or not!
Absolutely. For one thing, Dawn felt that she was alone in what she was experiencing. In reality, numerous women (and men) go through what she is going through. Sometimes people hold it inside and never talk about it. They may act out or just feel perpetually dissatisfied. I think Dawn was brave to speak so openly and I think one of the messages that come through with her is that it is possible to question and challenge status quo. To think that one person can give you everything or compare your partner to Edward or Jacob is certainly unrealistic; but to make a decision that something in your life needs to change is one of the most challenging and sometimes necessary moves. Whether Dawn leaves her husband or not is not as much the point as that she will no longer accept how things have been. Ideally they will go into some intensive couples' therapy before deciding if it is "too late," as she said. I would say that her message of empowerment in a nutshell is to challenge complacency and work on the things that are making you or your relationship feel stuck.
I thought it was too important a topic to not do anything about it. It was clear to me that for many women Twilight was a vehicle, if you will, for exploring some of their own longings and questions about relationships in general. It would be too simple to say what some critics say about Twilight depicting some sort of societally driven desire in women for a man to be their "everything." There has to be balance for most things in life and the balance of feelingwhole within one's self and feeling satisfied in a relationship is certainly a big one. Also, the process of romantic to companionate love is a wonderful yet challenging experience for countless people. Many women in long term relationships feel that Twilight triggers a longing for the first stages of their relationship and this is an issue that often does not come up until something triggers it. I wanted there to be a platform to talk about these matters and what better vehicle to do so than Twilight?