Filmmaker Doug Block has spent much of the past 20 years making wedding videos to help finance his documentaries, which include the highly regarded “51 Birch Street” and “The Kids Grow Up.”
Now, Block rounds out that film trilogy with “112 Weddings” (premiering Monday, June 30, on HBO), a poignant and often ruefully funny piece in which he reconnects with nine of the 111 couples whose weddings he filmed, as well as a young couple who will become the subjects of Block’s 112th video.
Three years in the making (including a full year devoting to editing the copious available footage), “112 Weddings” fell into place pretty quickly,” Block tells Zap2it. One of the trickiest challenges he faced was finding couples who had since divorced, a lot of whom simply didn’t want to rehash their marital mishap on film.
Among the couples who didn’t make it were the very first clients Block filmed: Sue and Steve of Mamaroneck, N.Y., who split after 19 years.
“I called Sue on what turned out to be the day after she found out that her husband wanted to get a divorce,” Block says. “She was in a very raw, almost hysterical, state and wanted me to come over immediately, but I actually waited about six months before I interviewed her. … I felt it was very important to get Steve in there, too, because as much as you’re inclined to empathize with Sue, there are two sides to any story.”
Block limited his reunions to a single interview, seeking to capture a “snapshot” of the marriages. He hopes that the finished film is both a celebration of marriage as well as a cautionary plea for couples to come together sans rose-colored glasses.
“I didn’t have a message in mind, but a theme that keeps emerging is the work required to keep a marriage going,” Block says. “I used to tell people that the ‘money shot’ in a wedding video is the bride walking down the aisle, but by the end of the movie I had come around to thinking that the real money shot in the couple leaving together after the wedding, walking off hand in hand into this blind future.”