This weekend is the first annual Rom Com Fest, where lovers of romantic comedies can join together for great films (new and old), fun podcasts, and delicious treats. romcomfest.com In preparation for the 'Fest, I chatted with some of the stars and panelists of the event to learn about their favorite rom-com movies, moments, and memories! Rachel Bloom Amy Sussman / Getty Images Where she's from: Rachel is best known for starring in and creating The CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.Fave rom-com: Forget Paris. Fave rom-com moment: The moment that Laney Boggs walks down the stairs—post-makeover—as "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None The Richer plays in the background in She’s All That.Rom-com that made you feel ~seen~: She’s All That, because I was basically a more unpopular version of Laney Boggs in middle school. IRL rom-com moment: The first romantic day with my now-husband consisted of us making out at sunset on the beach as my sandals almost floated away. After that moment, I was so happy that I rode around on a child’s tricycle that I just found (then I realized the owner was right next to me). That night, we rode the rollercoaster at the Santa Monica Pier. What a perfect “fun and games in the middle of Act 2” day. Rom-com pet peeve: The waking-up-to-the-alarm-clock trope. We get it. People sleep and then they wake up. Let’s introduce characters in other ways, please. Sarah Ramos Emma Mcintyre / Getty Images Where she's from: She's best known for her role as Haddie Braverman on Parenthood.Fave rom-com: Clueless. Fave rom-com moment: When Elle Woods is chosen for the prestigious internship and tells her ex-boyfriend that feeling is so much better than those four amazing hours they spent in a hot tub together after winter formal in Legally Blonde, or when Cher Horowitz realizes she’s totally, majorly crazy in love with Josh in Clueless, or when Heath Ledger sings "You’re Just Too Good to be True" to Julia Stiles on the high school bleachers in 10 Things. There are too many! Rom-com that made you feel ~seen~: I really connected with how the Rom Com Fest's film In Reality depicted the delusional fantasy that finding love will solve all of our problems and turn our lives into fairy tales. I’ve definitely dealt with wanting external validation to save me, but as RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love somebody else?" Rom-com that made you want to pursue your chosen career: After seeing Legally Blonde in theaters as a kid, I desperately wanted to do “that” with my life. I had to find my inner Elle Woods! IRL rom-com moment: I have that quality where everyone I meet sees past my awkwardness and social anxiety to the true, uniquely special and lovable person I am deep down. Just kidding. No, I've never had one. That’s why I watch rom-coms. Fave rom-com moment you participated in: Immediately after seeing Legally Blonde in 2003 when I was 12, I got to work on writing a 50-page rom-com script about a Manhattan furniture store owner who gets migraines and falls in love with her doctor. The script, City Girl, sat in my childhood closet for 13 years until I produced it without changing a word in 2016! Rom-com pet peeve: When people lower their standards because it’s a rom-com. IMHO, rom-coms should still be well-written, sharp, smart, and funny —not just cute and escapist! Analeigh Tipton Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images Where she's from: Analeigh rose to frame during Cycle 11 of Americas Next Top Model and has gone on to star in Crazy, Stupid Love, Two Night Stand, and the upcoming Summer Night.Fave rom-com: You've Got Mail Fave rom-com moment:The final few moments of Pretty in Pink. Rom-com that made you feel ~seen~: Ah, Never Been Kissed? I'm not sure what that says about my formative years, eek... Rom-com that made you want to pursue your chosen career: Miss Congeniality. For me, it was watching a female character-type in a rom-com I hadn't seen before. She was strong, funny, chaotic, and even in a dress, Sandra Bullock didn't lose her character, but rather she stayed strong and funny, clumsy...I always want to see more of that in rom-coms. IRL rom-com moment: Yes. Happily, I have.Fave rom-com moment you participated in: Crazy, Stupid Love was full of fun moments and it was my first real introduction to the film world so it holds a special place in my heart. Just Keep Going is a little film I did and we filmed at all these different roadside attractions — I got to roller blade and I filmed in a go-kart. But then, there's Two Night Stand...I can't choose. They all mean something unique and special to me. They're some of my favorite moments from my career thus far. Rom-com pet peeve: Flat female characters and female characters whose humor, physically or otherwise, has been toned down in order to be more traditional. I may be expanding the question to the rom-com space in general but I'm going to include critics who use the term "manic pixie dream girl" when they write about female characters in all genres, but it's most prevalent in rom-coms. That's a few. Try and get a straight answer outta me for any such question where I have to rank things — we could be here days :) Ella Hunt Cindy Ord / Getty Images Where she's from: She's starring in the upcoming film, Summer Night.Fave rom-com: Notting Hill. Fave rom-com moment: The first 15 minutes of Four Weddings and A Funeral. I cry with laughter every time. Rom-com that made you feel ~seen~: 10 Things I Hate About You. Rom-com that made you want to pursue your chosen career: From as young as I can remember, I’ve watched and quoted Richard Curtis’s rom-coms, from Four Weddings and A Funeral to Notting Hill to Love Actually. I’ve always been completely inspired by his writing, his wit, and how lovable every character that comes on screen is. IRL rom-com moment: When I was 13, on the bank of a river in the south of France, a Millennial-aged Tarzan-lookalike swung from a rope, triple somersaulted into the water in front of me before declaring in his best and only English phrase, “I love you!” before riding off on his moped into the sunset. (THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED!)Fave rom-com moment you participated in: The skinny dipping scene in Summer Night with Callan McAuliffe, The water was truly freezing and I felt sure I was going to catch pneumonia, but it's such a beautiful scene, our director Joseph Cross is truly wonderful and acting with Callan is a joy every time. Rom-com pet peeve: I grew up in the English country side, far from any towns, and rom-coms are always set in the city unless its a costume drama. I’d love to see a rom com set on a farm! Miraya Berke instagram.com Where's she from: Miraya is the director and founder of Rom Com Fest.Fave rom-com: 10 Things I Hate About You. Fave rom-com moment: In 10 Things I Hate About You, when Heath Ledger sings "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" in the stadium and crashes Julia Stiles' soccer practice. The way he looks at her is the dreamiest.Rom-com that made you feel ~seen~: 13 Going On 30. When I was younger, I always wanted to look and be older and I always tear up when Jennifer Garner is crying at her parents' house because she just wants to be a kid again.Rom-com that made you want to pursue your chosen career: Watching To All The Boys I Loved Before and then Sierra Burgess Is A Loser back-to-back on Netflix made me realize how comforting and happy rom-coms make me and sparked my desire to create experiences for people to connect around the genre. IRL rom-com moment: I met my current boyfriend of three years in high school and I was obsessed with him back then. I wrote him a letter when he graduated, when I was 15, that we were meant to be together and that he would realize that one day. We always have stayed friends, but 11 years later we did the "36 Questions That Lead to Love" from The New York Times and it totally worked, we're in love!Fave rom-com moment you participated in: Watching many, many rom-coms together with my boyfriend, who isn't the biggest fan of the genre, in prep for Rom Com Fest. It's been my mission to find one he loves!Rom-com pet peeve: Damsel-in-distress ladies who need a man to rescue them. Kristen "Kiwi" Smith Valerie Macon / Getty Images Where she's from: Kristen co-wrote the screenplays for 10 Things I Hate About You, She's The Man, Legally Blonde, and Netflix's Trinkets.Fave rom-com: The Philadelphia Story, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Ninotchka, and When Harry Met Sally. Fave rom-com moment: The Heath serenade in 10 Things will always hold a special place in my heart. Rom-com that made you feel ~seen~: Probably Desperately Seeking Susan — it’s not really a rom-com, but it was about a woman trying to adopt another woman’s identity in order to find herself and then she falls in love with Aidan Quinn along the way. Rom-com that made you want to pursue your chosen career: I worked in a video store throughout high school and I remember watching Crossing Delancey over and over again. It's a great '80s rom-com written and directed by Joan Micklin Silver. Amy Irving plays a curly haired bookstore worker in New York torn between two different guys who both want her. She was such an unorthodox character and the movie was so smart and sweet that I got hooked on the idea of trying to tell stories like that. IRL rom-com moment: Pre-internet, I wrote a fan letter to a male writer I admired and then ended up in a long epistolary relationship with him before finally flying to New York to meet him; needless to say it did not end up like Sleepless in Seattle. Fave rom-com moment you participated in: Probably writing the poem in 10 Things I Hate About You. I also really love the date with Anna Faris and Colin Hanks in The House Bunny where she pretends to be super brainy and it unravels in a totally screwball way. Rom-com pet peeve: I used to hate the trope of “the girl character is cool because she likes sports” but then I actually started becoming obsessed with NBA basketball so now I’ve become my own biggest pet peeve. Karen McCullah Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images Where she's from: Karen co-wrote the screenplays for 10 Things I Hate About You, She's The Man, and Legally Blonde.Fave rom-com: When Harry Met Sally.IRL rom-com moment: My best guy friend used to be my favorite character on a soap opera back in the '90s a decade before we met, so I guess that's ~serendipitous~. Rom-com pet peeve: Women wearing bras at all times, even in their homes or while they're alone. Joseph Cross Phillip Faraone / Getty Images Where he's from: Joseph was the beloved Tom the coffee shop worker on Season 1 of Big Little Lies and is the director of Summer Night. Fave rom-com(s): The Wedding Singer, While You Were Sleeping, and My Best Friend's Wedding. Fave rom-com moment: Enchanted is one of the most clever rom-coms ever, and probably my favorite of the 2000s. The film's classic moment is when Amy Adams sings "Happy Working Song", accompanied by the rats, pigeons, and cockroaches of New York City. Rom-com that made you feel ~seen~: Rom-coms are uniquely capable of unifying a diverse audience, because we all want to experience what it's like to fall in love. I think, deep down, everybody wants to find the person they are meant to be with and to fall in love with that person. The movie Garden State is about an actor from New Jersey, so, for me, that one hits particularly close to home. Rom-com that made you want to pursue your chosen career: I didn't know I would make a rom-com as my first film until I read Jordan Jolliff's marvelous script for Summer Night. It reminded me of my own small-town upbringing, and it perfectly encapsulated the ennui of early-20-year-olds in America. IRL rom-com moment: The night my wife and I first met, we were both on first dates with other people! We had to do a clandestine number exchange, and now, eight years later, we've got two kids and a dog. Fave rom-com moment you participated in: In Summer Night, Taylor (Callan McAullife) and Dana (Ella Hunt) jump into the local swimming pool to cool off after a hot, balmy summer night. In the film, the temperature is meant to be in the 90s but, in reality, it was 45 degree out! The air was colder than the water, which created this incredibly cinematic steam rising from the surface of the pool. I am so appreciative to the actors for their commitment and dedication that night. They are both such extraordinary performers, and they're so damn good in the scene. It's one of my most proud moments as a director. Rom-com pet peeve: My biggest rom-com peeve is that Hollywood has nearly abandoned the genre! Hats off to Rom Com Fest for reigniting the spark, and hopefully we'll see studios make more of these feel-good, emotional, romance-driven films in the near future! Ann Lupo Frazer Harrison / Getty Images Where she's from: Ann is the director of In Reality.Fave rom-com(s): Miss Congeniality and Legally Blonde. Fave rom-com moment: Meg Ryan's fake orgasm in When Harry Met Sally. Rom-com that made you feel ~seen~: In Reality, of course! :) Rom-com that made you want to pursue your chosen career: In The Princess Bride when Cary Elwes is rolling down the hill saying "As youuuuu wishhhhh!!" (*sigh*) IRL rom-com moment: My boyfriend/love of my life won my heart by writing me poetry until I had no choice but to fall in love with him. But the catalyst for the original poem was a haiku competition I conducted on my instagram that he ended up winning with two particularly good haikus. Fave rom-com moment you participated in: I love the musical scene in In Reality because it changes the emphasis of the story from being about the guy to being about the character's relationship with herself. Rom-com pet peeve: I hate when the "best friend" character simply chimes in and supports the main character and doesn't have their own arc. Laura Madalinski strange-charm.com Where she's from: Laura is the director of Two In The Bush. Fave rom-com: The Princess Bride. Fave rom-com moment: The graduation scene in But I'm a Cheerleader. Natasha Lyonne's cheer is a bit cheesy, but it always makes me cry happy tears. Rom-com that made you feel ~seen~: The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love and But I'm a Cheerleader. They were the first rom-coms I ever saw that centered the perspective of queer women. Rom-com that made you want to pursue your chosen career: Obvious Child. I'm so impressed by how bold and original it is. IRL rom-com moment: When my partner and co-writer Kelly and I had our first date, there was a lunar eclipse. Even though it was winter in Chicago, we stood outside in the cold and watched it. I've been in love with her ever since. Fave rom-com moment you participated in: In our movie, Two in the Bush: A Love Story, two of my favorite moments are the first kisses Emily (Sarah Mitchell) shares with each of the romantic leads, Nikki (Caitlin Aase) and Ben (Travis Delgado). I've seen the movie over a hundred times, and I still get butterflies watching those scenes! Rom-com pet peeves: I would really like to see more unique twists on the genre. I would also like to see more people of color and more queer stories like Appropriate Behavior, Boy Meets Girl, and Signature Move. Jamie Paterson Joe Maher / Getty Images Where he's from: Jamie is the director of Tracks. Fave rom-com: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days! Fave rom-com moment: “After all, I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” It’s one of the greatest lines ever written! Rom-com that made you feel ~seen~: I think 500 Days of Summer. That was a rom-com which celebrated the shit side of relationships. I’m not sure it made me feel seen but I thought it was fresh and original. Rom-com that made you want to pursue your chosen career: Adam Sandler singing “I Wanna Grow Old With You” at the end of The Wedding Singer. I used to recreate that scene in my bedroom when I was a kid. On my own. Cool as fuck, I know. IRL rom-com moment: A few. I had an amazing kiss in the rain with my now wife. It was right in the middle of the road, we actually stopped traffic. Fave rom-com moment you participated it: Everyday life, I guess. I’m lucky that everyday my wife makes me laugh and I fancy the pants off her. Rom-com pet peeve: Fading to black before a sex scene. Feels like a cop out. I’m not saying I need to see anything graphic, but sex can obviously be super romantic and it feels like something that’s never really shown. I can’t say that for Tracks of course ;) Darien Sills-Evans instagram.com Where he's from: Darien is the director of One Bedroom. Fave rom-com: The Apartment. Fave rom-com moment: There’s a beautiful, but heartbreaking moment in The Apartment where Fran Kubilek describes what it’s like to be the "other woman". Rom-com that made you feel ~seen~: She’s Gotta Have It and Boomerang were the first true rom-coms of my generation that featured casts that were all black actors. Rom-com that made you want to pursue your chosen career: Seeing locations in She’s Gotta Have It that were shot in my neighborhood. More than wanting a career in rom-coms, it helped me realize that perhaps I could be filmmaker as well. IRL rom-com moment: Hell no. I barely leave the house. I’m lucky I met my wife at all. Fave rom-com moment you participated in: First time seeing One Bedroom with an audience. Rom-com pet peeve: I despise most rom-com tropes. The cute meetings, any magic know-it-all-best friend that is a token person of color or a token LBGTQ person, kissing in the rain, and getting back together after the break-ups. They are all one in the same giant peeve to me.