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Female buddy comedy is a labor of love

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It’s been a journey for June Diane Raphael and Casey Wilson.

The two actresses have worked hard for nearly three years to get their feature film “Ass Backwards” finished.

After turning to Kickstarter to gain support to finish the film, it’s currently on the festival circuit. The comedy will screen at its third festival when it comes to the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. It will screen at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20 at the Center for Contemporary Arts. Tickets are $10 at

“We’re excited to come to Santa Fe,” Wilson says. “We’ve been to Sundance and OutFest where it got a positive response.”

The film, which was written by and also stars the duo, follows two best friends, Kate and Chloe. The pair embark on a cross-country trip back to their hometown to attempt to win a pageant that eluded them as children. (For “Breaking Bad” fans out there, Bob Odenkirk, yes, Saul Goodman, plays the pageant host.)

Casey says it feels great to have the film out because all independent films are a labor of love.

“To do an R-rated female buddy comedy is a win in itself,” Casey says. “Then you add that we wrote it and star in it. It’s amazing.”

Wilson says the film is based on a time in the pair’s lives when they were right out of college.

“We were just up to strange stuff,” Wilson says. “Sometimes your friends are the closest to you and we were building each other up in all the wrong ways. We had creditors calling us and we even rented out some room in our apartment and became landlords.”

Raphael says it was a horrible way to live.

“We basically thought that kind of life was OK,” she says. “It really wasn’t.”

Wilson says she loved the idea of using the pageant to serve as the traumatic moment.

“It’s not really about winning the pageant,” she says. “It’s about finding yourself and being comfortable. There’s a point in the movie where we ask, ‘Why do you get to decide if I’m pretty?’ I think it speaks volumes about the film.”

Raphael chimed in and says the duo are hooked on “Toddlers & Tiaras.”

“It’s a fun show and it’s hard to believe that there is a world like that,” she says. “It’s really fun to watch and see what happens.”