Anyone who sets out to make a movie has to be at least a little bit of a dreamer. You probably even have to be slightly crazy to take on a huge project like a feature film.
Wisconsin native, Dan Davies, understands exactly what it takes to make a movie. He’s the mind behind the bizarre and hilarious independent film Ed Gein: The Musical, and he starred in 2015’s West of Thunder, a dramatic western, which he also co-wrote.
Now Davies is helping bring attention to a new project. It’s a mockumentary about the filmmaking process made in the spirit of This is Spinal Tap and Waiting for Guffman.
Flim: The Movie (no that’s not a typo), was shot in locations around the world and features actors you may recognize from BBC productions. But Davies is bringing it to the Fox Valley for a special screening in early June. It’s a can’t-miss event for anyone who’s ever dreamed of making their own movie.
This comedic look at the struggle to break in to Hollywood took five years to make. Davies got invited to be involved while shooting West of Thunder in California. That’s where he met Raffaello Degruttola, the director and star of Flim: The Movie.
The two actors both had significant experience in improvisational performance and realized they also had a mentor in common.
“Unbeknownst to each other during filming, we shared an improv mentor/friend/coach in In Living Color‘s Jay Leggett. Raff studied under him in L.A., and I did a theater project in Stevens Point in which he came to coach and teach his techniques. Jay is a fellow Wisconsinite that sadly passed away about a year and a half ago while deer hunting in Northern Wisconsin,” Davies explains.
Improv experience made Davies a perfect addition to the cast of Flim: the Movie. That’s because almost the entire film was unscripted.
“With the both of us having been steeped in [Jay Legget’s] techniques the filming was amazing, fun and completely hilarious. Raff is also not only one of the most talented film actors in the UK, but he is one of the nicest people you will ever meet,” Davies says.
Watch the Trailer for Flim: The Movie
The plot of the movie centers around an Indian filmmaker named Ravi Vasami who is trying to break out of the Bollywood scene and make it in Hollywood – although it becomes apparent that Ravi may not have much Bollywood experience either.
Flim: The Movie actually started as a short, which was described as “Spinal Tap meets Slumdog Millionaire.” That storyline and footage was used as the basis to tell a longer story with more details and characters.
It’s obvious from clips of the film that Ravi isn’t much more than a naive, bumbling fool. As he tries to get his project made, he suffers misstep after laughable misstep while stumbling forward with unearned confidence until everything starts to completely unravel.
According to Davies, there might be a little bit of reality baked into this tale of a train wreck.
“Raff’s story and the character that he plays kind of mirror each other,” he says. “Both are imbued with that passion and persistence.”
However, Davies adds that unlike the fictional director, Raffaello Degruttola is a filmmaker who knows what he’s doing.
“Well, the most important part of great filmmaking is surrounding yourself with talented people who work hard, know their jobs, have a great attitude, buy into your vision, and never say never. Raffaello and the people he surrounded himself with during the making of Flim: The Movie all had those attributes.”
Davies portrays an American actor playing the part of a cowboy in Ravi’s film. He says his character also has some personal resemblance.
“I’m actually playing a slightly bemused and even more clueless version of myself,” he jokes. You can catch Davies at about the 1:15 and 1:50 mark in the trailer above.
Other faces you may recognize include Camille Coduri. She starred in one of the more-recent versions of the BBC’s Doctor Who, and also played John Goodman’s love interest in the ’90s comedy King Ralph. You know, the movie where a Packers fan becomes king of England.
There’s also veteran BBC actor Christopher Fulford, and actress Sadie Frost who plays herself. Plus, Jane March, Steve Waddington, Rebecca Atkinson and many other talented stars showing off their improv comedy skills.
Attend the Special Screening of Flim: The Movie in Appleton
Flim: The Movie was an official selection of London’s Raindance Film Festival and was also nominated for a British Independent Film Award.
The official, worldwide premiere isn’t until June 8th. But Davies is bringing it to the Fox Valley before that for a special screening on Thursday, June 4th, in Appleton. It will take place at the Warch Cinema inside Lawrence University’s Warch Campus Center.
Dan Davies will host and hold a Q&A after the screening. He’s hoping to make Raffaello Degruttola available for a Skype interview as well. The Appleton/Fox Cities Kiwanis Club is sponsoring the event and a portion of proceeds will go to support the organization.
While the movie has not been rated, Davies says it would likely be PG-13 for language and an adult situation.
“If you are a fan of British humor, or would like to see some of your favorite British and BBC actors as you’ve never seen them, or if you want to laugh and see me make an arse out of myself on screen…this film is for you,” he says.
- What: Special screening of Flim: The Movie
- Where: Warch Campus Center at Lawrence University
- When: June 4th at 7 PM
- Tickets: $10 at the door. Seating is limited to 135 people
- Find out more about the movie at Controventofilms.com
- Find out more about Dan Davies
- View Dan Davies’ IMDB page
Watch the Short Film that Started it All