There’s nothing like a feel-good movie to brighten your day. Showbiz Cheat Sheet chatted with Ryann Leibl about her new film Mags and Julie Go on a Road Trip. The movie follows two friends who go on a long-overdue trip to Wisconsin for some rest and relaxation.
Ryann Leibl’s inspiration for ‘Mags and Julie Go on a Road Trip’
Leibl, who was born in Wisconsin, says she desired to return to her roots. She wanted to make a film that not only reminded her of home but also echoed the old-school comedies she grew up with.
“I was born and raised in Wisconsin, but I lived in Los Angeles for most of my life,” Leibl told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “And I like the idea of going back to my roots and telling a story that could be shot in Wisconsin and could also be really humorous. I was sort of missing the old-school comedies that I grew up on and loved so much, and I wasn’t seeing comedy like that in the industry at all.”
Liebl says she was hoping to evoke the “vibe” that can be felt in comedies such as the 1987 movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles starring Steve Martin and John Candy. She started out with the idea of two friends fighting over something ridiculous, and then she built on that concept.
On being a producer and director
Leibl has been producing and directing for more than a decade. She has directed everything from music videos to short films and commercials. At the beginning of her career, Leibl says she focused more on acting than making films. However, she began to put more emphasis on her work as a producer and director about five years ago.
“The transition was very easy for me because I had directed and produced theater and all these other things,” says Leibl. “And it was me just taking all those skills and putting them together and just saying, ‘That’s it. I’m going to do a feature now and that’s what I’m going to do from now on.’”
Overcoming challenges as an independent filmmaker
Although Leibl succeeded with making her film, there were challenges along the way. She says one of the big challenges that she and many other independent filmmakers face is raising enough funds to produce the film. “You’ve got to transition from being someone who people are unsure of taking a risk on to someone that they want to take a risk on,” says Leibl. Fortunately, she was able to secure the funds needed to make her film.
Another challenge Leibl notes is the COVID-19 pandemic. She says the current health crisis has greatly altered the entertainment industry. She had to re-think her marketing strategy after in-person film festivals were put on hold and movie theaters closed. Leibl had to talk directly to distributors so she could try to get her film featured online.
What Ryann Leibl wants audiences to take away from this film
When asked what she wants audiences to take away from the film, Leibl says she hopes people will see the film and get a laugh. Her goal is to uplift, especially during these challenging times.
“I want them to laugh,” says Leibl. “I want them to forget their troubles and their worries and be able to go into this world of Mags and Julie and go to Wisconsin and to this beautiful landscape and just not think about the things that are troubling them and really be able to escape from those worries.”
Mags and Julie Go on a Road Trip is set to be released November 24 and can be pre-ordered on iTunes now.
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