Monday, Sept. 16, 2013

Date America

Milwaukee film on dating debuts at Milwaukee Film Festival

By David Luhrssen
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  It’s a common crossroads in life: you’ve turned 30, most of your friends are married and most of them are already buying strollers, getting that nursery ready and worrying about saving for their kids’ college. You begin to wonder: should I go all out and find the right partner? Is the dating game the way to go? Should I expand my search beyond my hometown?

 Such were the roots of Milwaukee filmmaker Bob Murray’s cross-country quest to find the right woman, documented in Date America. “Pressure was building to progress my life, so to speak,” he explains. “At first I was going to take a cab across America just to see what would happen. Then I thought, why not go on dates in each city I stopped in?”

 Hiring a crew from Craigslist to trail him with videocams, Murray set out in spring of 2011 from Milwaukee, intending to date his way westward through St. Louis, Kansas City, Dallas, Amarillo, Santa Fe, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. “I tried to compare every city to Milwaukee and was pleasantly surprised at how much Milwaukee had to offer,” he says, albeit marriage age is a bit higher on the west coast. “Living in Milwaukee puts a little more pressure on making major life decisions by the time you are 34.”

 Murray arranged his dates in advance by email. “There were a couple times that I was one day away from hitting a city and I still didn’t have a date,” Murray recalls. “In Amarillo I couldn’t find one girl to date me! I thought it would be a lot easier to find the dates, but then I read that only eight percent of women are attracted to redheads and it all made sense.”

 Did he find noticeable socio-cultural differences in the dating scenes as he wound his way westward? “I was expecting more of a difference than I did,” Murray says. “A common theme was that not many of the dates felt the city they lived in was good for dating. The grass is always greener and for the Amarillo residents, the grass is greener somewhere else. We interviewed a lot of people in that town and they were not happy.”

 Date America will screen at 2:45 p.m.. Sept. 28 and 9:15 p.m., Oct. 2 at the Fox-Bay Cinema; and 8:30 p.m., Oct. 6 at the Oriental Theatre. For more information go to www.facebook.com/dateamerica.

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