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Slamdance: Shoot to Marry

“I was hoping to be married by my next colonoscopy.”

Steve Markle

Steve Markle wants to get married. After his disastrous Christmas day proposal to his longtime girlfriend ends in heartbreak, the 42 year old filmmaker goes on a journey to learn more about women, relationships and himself. Over the course of a year he interviews a variety of interesting women, either to date them or to be educated by them. These women include his elementary school crush, a lumberjack, a pilot, a heart transplant recipient, a professional cuddler, a hat designer, a sensual massage coach, a dominatrix, a tattoo artist, another filmmaker, a sex club owner, etc. Steve is willing to try new things and put himself outside of his comfort zone. In traveling to meet with these women, he finds disappointment and enlightenment along the way. Of all the women he meets it’s Erin, the serial date who blogs about only dating for the free meals, whom Steve finds a meaningful connection with. Ultimately, Steve has to learn that his desperation for marriage won’t get the final result he desires. Instead he has to be content with the present if there ever is going to be a future.

Shoot to Marry is a heartfelt documentary that is equal parts introspective, quirky, funny, sad and joyful.

Usually in a review like this I would refer to the filmmaker by his or her last name. But this is such an intimate documentary that in a weird way I felt like I really go to know Steve and through his film I made a new friend. I found myself rooting for him from the very beginning and even felt second hand embarrassment at his failures and sheer joy at his accomplishments. Steve is genuine and funny. I found myself heartily laughing at his one liners. Going for a routine colonoscopy he jokes “it’s probably just cancer.” While filming a tattoo artist named Danielle tattooing another Danielle he observes that what he’s doing is “fucked up” and quips, “I should be making a real documentary about climate change or spelling bees.”

Steve wrote, produced, starred, directed and edited Shoot to Marry. The film chronicles his year long pursuit, which is fascinating on its own, but it’s the coda that comes 5 years later that really makes the documentary something special. And I’ll admit it, I had a good cry by the end. Bring some tissues for this one.

Shoot to Marry premieres at the 2020 Slamdance Film Festival. You can find out more information about this documentary at the official website.

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