With hundreds of movies catering to people’s love for on-screen holiday romance, a group of women decided it was time to include a reflection of their own lives under the mistletoe.
“We’ve all grown up watching straight rom-coms,” says Danielle Jablonski, co-producer for Season of Love, the first feature holiday romantic comedy film to focus entirely on queer women. “It’s good for our community to have these fun, cliché moments because our community never really gets to see them.”
The film follows three storylines focused on different women. Film Director Christin Baker says it’s like a gay Love Actually with a long-term relationship facing difficulties, a more comedic couple sharing cute blunders, and a will-they-won’t-they tension ready to tap into anyone’s heart.
“At the most basic level, I hope people laugh and find themselves smiling at these hopelessly romantic scenes,” Baker says.
Season of Love premiered in November 2019 in Los Angeles and has since screened nationally and internationally throughout the holiday season.
As a new decade starts, Baker says it’s important for the LGBTQ community to have movies that aren’t just “downers” or full of tropes. By creating a holiday movie, she says this is a chance for the community to enjoy something light and heartwarming with no political message other than its existence.
“At this time when it is so heteronormative, it’s important to show these stories,” Baker says. “I hope young people see their love is just as important.”
Jablonski says the film was born because her co-producer, Ashley Arnold, was tired of feeling excluded from holiday movie line-ups.
“I love, love romance movies,” Arnold says. “It’s something we see every year and we don’t ever get one.”
Arnold identifies as queer, and says last year she just started brainstorming a holiday romantic-comedy featuring women. Roping in Jablonski, who also identifies as queer, and Baker, who identifies as lesbian, Season of Love became a reality.
“I learned we could conceptualize and produce a movie in a year, but I never want to do it again,” Baker says with a laugh.
Baker has written, directed, and produced various web series and short films before, but this was her first feature film. She co-founded Tello Films, a digital platform showcasing works by queer filmmakers.
Arnold and Jablonski are co-directors for ClexaCon, an annual convention celebrating LGBTQ fandoms and representation for LGBTQ women in the media.
While each woman has experience sharing and showcasing LGBTQ stories, they say this was a big learning curve for each of them. Baker says part of their success was due to the “amazing” cast and crew they worked with.
Emily Goss plays Iris in Season of Love, a woman whose life is turned upside down ahead of the holidays. Goss says the relatability of the characters drew her to the project.
“This is how we talk, this is how we act, and this is how we could fall in love,” says Goss. “We all deserve to relax, laugh, and celebrate love, especially those of us in the queer community who are often pressed to make everything an important point.”
Jablonski, Arnold, and Baker are working on their next holiday film, I Hate New Year’s, which will premiere in late 2020.
The last stop on the Season of Love holiday tour is January 30 at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, and Baker will be attending and answering questions at the end.