Saturday, September 26, 2015

Auteur Watch - DeMane Davis

For some, the director's game is nothing but a bed of wine and roses... something like that.  Especially if you have an army of interns to take the brunt for you.  For most others, it's a thankless grind that keeps you up at night, mostly because of your ulcer.  Which leaves a third category of those who seem to have just dropped out of the institution altogether, due to the bitter aftertaste of the whole experience.  The third category seems to be the case for our next auteur, DeMane Davis, even though she got thanked for Boys Don't Cry.
But God bless her, she just couldn't take constructive criticism.  For example, one of the most crucial parts of a film is its title.  And DeMane's agent begged her... positively begged her to reconsider the title of her first effort, Black & White & Red All Over.  Of course, it was a group effort involving no less than three directors, and they were all sitting around, getting high and brainstorming for titles... it's in the plot, I swear.  The first title they thought of was "Fat Guy Sits Around The House."  It got a good laugh, but somehow it didn't stick.  Then they tried "The Chicken that Crossed the Road."  Then they ordered a pizza.  Then they tried "Two Peanuts Walking Down the Street."  And on and on and on it went for a couple weeks.
Alas, a screening at Sundance is never a guarantee of fame and riches.  And so, while everyone else was whisked off to either Hollywood or New York, DeMane spent the next four years... hopefully getting some sort of extra degree.  She is a big-time multitasker, after all.  And sure enough, at the end of four years, boom.  Another film to show for it called Lift.  But again, a bitter experience, everyone parted ways as quickly as possible after the last day of shooting, and no one showed up for the wrap party.  Bitter, sour, bitter times.  And what to show for it?  Nothing!  Nothing at all, because when they paw through the Wal-Mart discount DVD bin and find this paired with Gothika or some such thing, they look at the DVD cover and go "Oh!  Kerry Washington was in it!"  People think these things direct themselves... especially at Wal-Mart.  They don't know from the pain, the hot nights sweating over a rented Arriflex camera; boy, those were the days.

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