ATLFF 2010: "Love" Rocks Festival

Rebound relationships can be a real bitch. So goes the theme of the RomCom/Horror mash-up Love on the Rocks which is written and directed by Georgia Tech grad Justin Edwards whose feature film marks his debut at the Atlanta Film Festival.

The film tells the story of Amber and Gavin who are ending their relationship for presumably greener pastures. Not so fast, my friend. Amber meets Patrick, an unexciting but thoughtful man that appears to be the kind of guys she’s been seeking. However, Patrick’s relationships never seem to end on friendly terms. Meanwhile Gavin meets Yasmine, a hypnotist who needs her mates to become her pets, literally. Fatefully the lives of the two new couples intersect.

Justin assembled a veteran cast and crew from the Atlanta area including Producer Kapil Gandhi (Rex), Cinematographer Jon Swindall, and Justin Welborn who’s no stranger to Atlanta Film Festival audiences with prominent roles in past festival favorites like The Signal and Dance of the Dead.

I asked Director Justin Edwards a few questions about his film.

This is your third feature film as a director, correct? Was it easier this time around or were the challenges more complex?

Second actually... My first film was a student feature, "John's Blender" which was done through Buzz Studios, the filmmaking club at Georgia Tech. This is my first film with an actual budget though, and it certainly was nice to be able to solve a problem during production by throwing money at it (albeit a small amount of money). With no budget, the smallest things can hold up production, so it was reassuring to know I had reserve funds I could tap into in an emergency. But of course (to quote the late Biggie Smalls) "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems".... A bigger production definitely brought about a myriad of logistical headaches. Luckily I had an extremely dedicated cast and crew, so we were able to collectively "share" this headache together.

You currently live in Boston but decided to come back to Atlanta to film “Love on the Rocks” what factors helped you make that decision?

I've lived in the Atlanta area most of my life, and it’s the place where I know the most people. And on a low-budget feature, friends and family are your greatest assets. We also were able to pick up Kapil Gandhi as a producer, who after just coming off the Union Feature "Rex," had made a lot of connections in the Atlanta film community. He was able to assemble a fantastic production team in the Atlanta area.

What were the biggest challenges in getting your film made?

Casting gave us a bit of a scare... I remember being two weeks from production and still not having three of our principle actors. The same thing with locations... some scenes we were able to find locations for only a day before shooting. Those are the kind of things you laugh about at the wrap party when it’s all over, but at the time, you tend to lose a lot of sleep for it.  Editing was another big challenge, a two year endurance run, many different cuts, many arguments, many punches thrown, many makeup hugs over a beer... and in the end we all got what we wanted.

What was the inspiration for the movie?

I remember five years ago, when I first came up with the idea, how I thought it would be fun to take two genres (romantic comedy and horror) from complete opposite sides of the spectrum, and see how they would react to each other. From this the character of Patrick was born, and the idea of a "hopeless romantic turned psychopathic killer" really intrigued me.

What are the next steps for “Love on the Rocks” and you as a filmmaker?

For "Love on the Rocks" we plan to continue our festival run, and hopefully somewhere down the line land a distribution deal. As for me... well, I'm gonna keep on truckin' I suppose....

Martin Kelley is Editor-in-Chief of He's also a local screenwriter and filmmaker who co-founded the Atlanta Screenwriters Group, one of the largest screenwriting organizations in the Southeast. His latest film "Battle" is in post production