What if it Works?

The colourful dramedy What If It Works? will release in cinemas on 12 October. It’s the debut feature film for Melbourne-based writer and director Romi Trower who describes her journey to filmmaking.

What If It Works? is a colourful dramedy about finding the courage to love and be loved, against all odds. 

“I was always a story teller as a child and I loved going to the cinema from a very young age,” Romi says. “My parents often took me along as a child, with their friends to see films and plays and whilst I loved the theatre, there was nothing like the darkness of a cinema to lose myself in a story.”

Romi’s childhood fantasy of writing and acting on the stage progressed to school plays which led to a university degree in performing arts with a focus on writing and film subjects. She got an agent and began working in TV and film as an actor.

“I did a Masters with a thesis in Film Distribution, you know, the old safe back-up-plan option,” Romi said. She also did some screen writing courses and her next natural step was making a short film. 

“Next thing you know you’re fighting like a bat out of hell for eight years to get your first feature film off the ground and you sometimes wonder, in a haze of exhaustion, rejection, and just enough exhilaration to keep you going – when did I make the conscious decision that this was a sensible life plan?”

Romi’s hard work and persistence paid off with What if it Works? being well received around the globe in its initial screenings, including a world premiere at the 2017 Cinequest Film Festival in California and numerous awards including Best Australian independent film at the Gold Coast Film Festival.

Filmed in in the heart of Melbourne's art filled laneways in inner city suburbs of Northcote, Collingwood, Fitzroy and Brunswick, Romi says being a film about a street artist couldn’t have been shot anywhere else.

“Finding the vibrant, authentic locations was crucial to the tone, feel and colour palette for the film. We HAD to find a real street, that felt more like a laneway, full of painted walls and street art, and then convince two houses opposite one another to let us take over there places for many weeks. The whole street needed to come on board and they did!  I will be forever grateful to them as the location where our two main characters live, is…well you’ll see…it’s awesome.”

Film Victoria provided support for What if it Works? through its Marketing Low Budget Features program which will assist Romi to realise her marketing and distribution plan for the feature.

When it comes to words of advice for other early career filmmakers (particularly women) Romi says “Never ever stop pushing if you believe in the project. Do not take ‘no’ for an answer. Join organizations such as the Film Fatales or WIFT where you will feel supported and can learn a great deal about how to navigate the industry as a female filmmaker.

“Stay hopeful. Surround yourself with people who enable you to laugh, even in the hardest of circumstances. A little laughter gives you so much strength to keep fighting the fight. And when things get really tough during development, and you wonder if anyone will ever open a door to you, or just answer your phone calls, get a friend to recite this over and over: Michael Jordan was rejected by his high school basketball team. It helps! I’m serious!”

Click here for information on participating cinemas and screening times.