Wed 8.6.2014

Husband-Wife Collaborators Make a Film That’s a Raw Look at Marriage

This past June, Mark Webber did something different as he introduced his third directorial debut, The Ever After, at the Los Angeles Film Festival. He wrote a heartfelt speech. He said typically he would just tell the audience “I hope you enjoy the film,” but The Ever After is a different beast. It’s such a personal film and there was a lot of love and excitement in the room. Webber told the audience that the film is truly independent because his wife actually paid for it. All jokes aside, the film is authentic to the reality of relationships, temptation, sanity and the peaks and valleys that create a map of our lives. In it, Webber and his real-life wife, actress Teresa Palmer (who co-wrote and co-produced the film with him) play a married couple, Ava and Thomas. By all appearances, they are living the good life, but something is lost. Ava has placed her acting career on hold to play the mother and good wife, while Thomas’ job as a fashion photographer puts him in dangerously tempting situations. When trauma strikes, they must confront their innermost vulnerabilities to recover their disintegrating marriage.

During the Q&A moderated by Roya Rastegar, Webber was joined by Palmer, actor Joshua Leonard and composers Moby and Daniel Ahearn. (Melissa Leo and Rosario Dawson also star.) Webber explained that he wrote the film long before he met his wife but when she came on board, they had some intense writing sessions that helped the script get better. They had a way of balancing each other out, he said, which may have been one of the many reasons why Webber proposed to Palmer during production.

An audience member commented on the genuine the portrayal of mental illness in the film. One particular scene shows Ava taking prescription medication and getting caught by her young daughter. She gently explains that her mind was sick and she was given pills to get better. She then told her that you end up 30 years later stuck in the dependency of these pills and have no sense of who you are or what you are or what you were. Palmer revealed that the scene mirrored a conversation she had with her own mother when she was a child.

Rastegar asked what it was like to direct and act with his wife. Webber explained how directing this film was challenging and rewarding. “It was such a challenge because you are working with the love of your life and you want to impress her so much,” he said, but they held each other accountable to tell the story. It was clearly evident through their chemistry and honesty that they did just that.

Danielle Mitchell / Intern Blogger