Alyn Darnay, director and creator of Chaos Films, talks about his early
love of cinema and to the genius of Paolo Sorrentino
movies something you can learn, or something you have to be born with?
I think you need to have a certain disposition, desire and drive toward
filmmaking to really be good at it, in the same way a computer person
feels an affinity with the code, or a ballerina with movement. You can
learn all the technical things that go into the making of a film, but
you can't teach someone how to have an eye for the right composition,
or how to tell a story dramatically with visuals. It's a hard profession,
there's nothing easy about making a good film, yes, the craft can be
taught and learned, but there's a reason some directors, cameramen,
and editors rise to the top, while others don't understand why people
don't like their films.
How did you
decide and understand that you wanted to be a director?
I was always fascinated by movies. I used to go to double features as
a kid and I could never get enough of them. I was transfixed by the
stories they told and how they affected me. I began to want to tell
my own stories, things that interested me and that I thought would interest
other people as well. So, I started making films when I was about 12
years old, with an 8mm camera and some friends as actors. Must have
made a dozen of them on a variety of subjects. I even won some award
back then with a 30-minute film I called "The Wonderful World
of Brother Grimm". I was always experimenting with film in
some way or other, trying out movement and angle, and most importantly,
trying to get people to react strongly in front of my camera. I guess
you could say I've always wanted to be a Director.
the first person that told you: " Yes, you can do it, you are going
in the right direction", I mean who was your first fan?
My mom was a great supporter; she encouraged me in everything I did.
I took my values from her I believe. My dad was more of a 'what's the
kid up to now' kind of guy, supportive but skeptical, he later became
my biggest fan. And there have been many people throughout my life that
have supported my efforts in things I pursued, or helped me move forward
along the way, too many to mention here. That's not to say I didn't
have bleak moments, but somehow I was always able to overcome them.
There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to understand
that and then there is no stopping you.
your beginning as director? Where did you start your studies, your first
works? There is a path to follow I suppose.
No, there's no one path for everyone, everyone's journey is unique to
him or her. I started, as a script reader for two studios, it was how
I got through college, it paid my room and board and taught me all I
ever needed to learn about what makes a good script and what will never
be. In the years that I did that, I must have read over 30,000 scripts.
Best education I could have ever gotten, because every film begins and
ends with the script. You can't save a bad script, even with the best
actors in the world, but you can save a good script even with fair actors.
I eventually wrote a best selling book about Screenwriting, "The
.A Breakthrough Guide To Scriptwriting" available
The first films I worked on were with Famous Players Corporation, a
company run by Academy Award winning Producer Albert Zugsmith. He taught
me a lot in the time I spend with him and he saw that I learn from some
of the businesses best creative artists.
is your favorite genre to work in? Do you prefer some themes and some
subjects for your scripts and movies to others?
I hate to repeat myself, so I don't. My last film "KRISSY
BELLE" which was the comedy hit of The Fortt.Lauderdale
Film Festival and will be released in 2014.. Before that it was the
surreal mystery "Conduit" which won at 17 festivals
and earned the lead actress Barbie Castro 5 Best Actress Awards. Before
that, "Smooth Operator", a twisted slasher film.
I mix it up a lot. Currently I'm working on the script for my next feature,
a sexual suspense thriller we'll be filming in the fall and winter.
you believe MOVIES have to be made in LA, I mean is it more complicated
to realize a good movie or to work in this business if you are far from
LA and is it a good idea to be distant from the heart of movies, is
it hard to promote them?
I live in Hollywood, Florida, as far from LA as you can get in the states.
I came here in 1992 and formed Chaos Films. We've been making everything
from Music Videos, to Features, to Television Shows, to commercials,
for our self and companies from all over the world. I find it easier,
better and less complicated to work here. Florida has great talent and
crews and whatever I need from LA or need to do out there is only a
red-eye flight away. These days' films get made everywhere. It suits
the storyline better if you shoot where it's supposed to take place,
and with State's Incentives available, it makes it economical as well.
So, in answer to your question, the heart of movies is anywhere the
heart of the filmmaker is standing.
you've met a lot of people during your career, which ones influenced
you the most? And between the past and the present who is your best
example as director?
I have met so many remarkable people in my life, the ones that stand
out would be, Stan Laurel, Bud Abbott, Jack Benny, Norman Lear, Orson
Welles, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern, Dee Allen, James Wong Howe, Ed Burns,
Lea Thompson, Keir Dullea, Joe Eszterhas, Mitch Glazer, and the list
As to Directors, the 'Master' is Stanley Kubrick. More than anyone else
he has impacted me the most. The others would be Welles, Bertolucci,
Lang, Ray, Antonioni, Scorsese, Coppola, Truffaut, Fellini, Kieslowski,
Hitchcock, Carpenter, Menzies, and a couple of not so well known directors
I admire, John Llewllyn Moxey, and Carl Franklin.
What do you
think about the ITALIAN MOVIES? I mean is there someone, as director
or actor, you love very much? And what do you think the Italian cinema
has more or has less than the USA cinema?
I grew up on Italian Cinema! Never get tired of watching 'La Dolce Vida'
or a score of Fellini films or any Antonioni film, 'Red Desert' being
my favorite. Right now I'm fascinated by Paolo Sorrentino's films, especially
"La Grande Bellezza", and I was enchanted by Luca Guadagnino's
"Io Sono L'Amore".
I find Italian Cinema to be lyrical and spellbindingly honest. Always
dealing with raw emotion, sex and love with that uniquely Italian zest
for life and desire to find meaning in things. Always compelling, beautifully
shot, and styled perfectly.
IF YOU could
work in Italy with an Italian director, which one would you choose?
If I were to work on the crew, as 1AD or scriptwriter say, my choice
would have to be Sorrentino, I understand his styling and visual attack.
On the other hand, if I was working as an actor, as I have been doing
lately, I would choose Guadagnino. He uses his actors similar to the
way I do, and I would enjoy the challenge.
talk about your last project?
KRISSY BELLE is a fish- out-of -water comedy. KRISSY's a bubbly ex-cheerleader,
trophy wife and complete Southern Belle from the state of Georgia who
is forced to start life over as a single girl after 15 years of marriage
to an extremely wealthy man who enjoyed cheating and lying as his favorite
past time. After inheriting one of her ex-husband's Florida based companies,
Krissy finds herself relocated right into the middle of Miami's Latin
Community, and she doesn't have a clue to anything around her. She has
no experience with Hispanic culture, doesn't speak the language, can't
understand the food or coffee, and is constantly saying the wrong thing
to her Latin neighbors. It's one misadventure after another for Krissy,
as she bumbles through life along with her loyal companion, Remington,
a Shitzu dog, who occasionally shares his sarcastic thoughts with the
It played to sell
out audiences at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival in November.
movie business, as everything, it's going through hard moments because
of the economic crisis. Is there something that could be done more to
Yes, take the reins out of the hands of Hollywood's businessmen and
give it back to the creators. Stop making the same film over and over
again. Release more Independent and Foreign Films. Make movie-going
enjoyable and challenging again. Subsidize young filmmakers with fresh
points of view. Stop making $200 Million sequels and reboots, it's killing
Why are so
many young and talented directors choosing to work in independent, indie
movies? Is it because it's easier than to work with big productions
or do they want to show a different way to do movies? A kind of new
It's all about money. Raising it is increasingly harder to do. So make
your own. "Crowdfund" the money to rent the equipment, it
is cheaper now, and you can edit your own film. Indy films are less
expensive and easer to finance. You can make more films and do them
faster. Get a crew, get some actors, buy a great script cheap, and go
make your own film or Webisode.
What do you
wish would happen to the movies?
Better Films, I want to be excited by the films I watch or do. Take
me to places I've never been to before, show me people who are different,
give me experiences I've never had before. That's what I want from the
Movies I watch. You should to, it's what you deserve as a viewer.
are the kind of movies you would like to be realized more in the next
years? I mean is there a particular genre you believe deserves more
I'd like to see a return to movies about people and their problems and
how they deal with them. I'd like to see more comedies that involve
real people in comedic situations. I'd like to see an end to films based
on comic books, or computer games. I'd like to see an end to Zombies
and Vampires. Do Sci-Fi, it's much more challenging for both filmmaker
Why did the
fantasy genre, above all the ones with werewolves and vampires have
this great impact on people? Is it just because it's the favorite of
teens or because people, adults included, love movies like Twilight,
want to escape from reality with stories and plots with non reality
based hard problems that everyone has to face in life?
It's fantasy, and the 'boogieman' from their childhood. And if it's
made well, it will scare you safely. An escape to another world from
the repetitious and depressing world they live in. And they like it.
But, enough already. You can get the same rush from a movie that plays
on those same fears, but does it in a unique way. Back to better movies.