This movie reached right into my soul, found my soft spots and made my eyes rain buckets of tears.
Evidence by the fact that I have not done a blog posts since September 2016, I am an introvert who also deals with some level of depression. My mother passed away on June 15th, 2017 and ironically, ever since that day I have made a concerted effort to get out more and do things I am passionate about, including traveling.
Everyone knows I Love Noho. I also love traveling, especially to Wyoming. I love books, so I went to the Lit Crawl LA in NOHO. I love food, so I’ve tried several of the newer restaurants that have opened this past year. I also love independent film.
One night, a couple of weeks ago, I bought a ticket to the movie premier that was happening at the Laemmle Noho 7. The Laemmle has always been a fantastic supporter of independent film. I decided to go on the opening night because the filmmakers would be there. One great perk of living in LA is the opportunity to hear from and meet incredible artists.
This night did not disappoint!
All I knew about D-Love was that it was about a couple who meet a stranger at the airport and he changes their lives. That’s all. I had watched the trailer, which was enough to get me to leave the house:
As I sat in the theater, I found myself moved to tears just about every 5 minutes. The lead characters’ struggling relationship, the title character’s vagabond spirit not unlike what lives inside of me, their palpable grief(no spoilers but it *was* real) and the openheartedness of it all. Tears poured out of my eyes like a faucet fully opened. My grief for my mother was being grabbed at and flung into the room.
When the lights came up I was aware that my presence there was not any random accident. I don’t believe in coincidence anyway. During the Q&A I told the filmmakers how much I was moved by their creation, while crying of course.
Afterwards I got to meet them and they both hugged me. It felt really wonderful and they felt familiar and warm to be near. Truly lovely human beings. D-Love came into their lives and now mine through their film, to spark something. That was clear.
The filmmakers are husband and wife team Elena Beuca(Director/Lead) and Dave Rogers(Writer/Producer/Lead). D-Love, the title character, is actually Ditlev Darmakaya, a Danish man who traveled into their lives and left a memorable mark.
My interview with Elena Beuca
Me: Did you really meet Ditlev at the airport?
Elena: Yes, Dave and I were returning back from Europe when Ditlev approached me at the LAX airport asking me for a ride to the freeway, cause he wanted to hitchhike to Utah.
Me: Were you and Dave aspiring filmmakers/actors before Ditlev came into your lives? If not, what were your “day jobs”?
Elena: Dave and I are actors- we met in acting classes(their acting teacher is in the movie). Before making D-Love we were both acting as well as he was writing short scripts and I was directing.
We had to have different jobs to support our passion and our calling which is film-making. I used to work as a maître d’ at Soho House and my husband bartended at a different restaurants. I’ve also done drove for Uber and Lyft in order to support making this film. You just have to do whatever it takes to pay the bills, but I think the key is to keep your eyes on the passion and not to forget the purpose – my moto is “we can live with anything as long as we know its temporary”.
Me: Had you or Dave ever thought about making your own film before the D-Love idea?
Elena: Dave and I started making short films in 2009 – when we did our first short film called “Love Echoes“ for the 168 film festival; we knew that the next step would be either a TV series or a feature film – we decided to make the feature film first!
Me: How did you realize that meeting D-love was a story you HAD to share/make?
Elena: When I met Ditlev a few years back I was fascinated by the way he lived and that he seemed to live so well, in the present, without too many worries- and that is a beautiful skill- but I had no idea that I would make a film about him.
One of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho said this:
“…A pilgrimage implies in meeting different people, in talking to strangers, in paying attention to the omens, and basically being open to life. And we leave our home to go to work, to go to school, and we have every single day this possibility,
this chance of discovering something new. So the pilgrimage is not for the privileged… but for people who are open to life”
Note from me: this quote hits so close to home.
It truly clarifies why I was drawn to see this film.
Years later when I was ready to make my first directorial debut with a feature film, I wanted to choose something that inspired people.
With D-love I wanted to implement Paulo Coelho’s mentality, and to show how much people can affect other people- how each one of us is so connected and has the opportunity to touch others- if we are open to life.
So D-love the film is inspired by the fact that we met Ditlev at the airport, and how we met at LAX is pretty similar to how it happened in the real life. But In real life, both Dave and I were very happy to help him with whatever we can and to give him shelter for a few days. But we knew that the real story would not make a good film and we needed to add conflict to the story so we decided to make my character Stefania a very damaged, guarded person who doesn’t let strangers in or sometimes not even close friends in, and the sad part is that she doesn’t even realize it.
Also, because Dave has been always my best friend, we have a very good relationship and we are good at communicating with each other. Our characters in the film, based on the pain that they have gone through and unresolved issues, are in very dark place and they are definitely not communicating or being open with what’s going on in their lives.
In our film, we chose to have D-love as the catalyst who awakens both characters to Life – but that is just one way that can inspire you to say Yes to life. I think opportunity to change comes in many forms, not just through people, could be through things, events, miracles. There are many ways and I truly believe that we are always guided towards change for better- of course we have the option to saying yes or completely ignoring it.
Me: How do you feel about the audience reactions so far?
Elena: The audience has responded better than we hoped for and we are so grateful all the love that we received.
When we won the first award at Hoboken International Film festival- it felt almost unreal and we couldn’t believe it- I think I cried quite a bit of happiness that night.
Creating a film that connects with an audience, creating something that people can relate to, that they can enjoy and be able to touch people’s hearts with a piece of art that you created; I guess that is why I was crying and now they were honoring us with an award.
To see that we actually won a couple of them a few months later on, it’s absolutely AMAZING- and all I can say is Thank You to all of those festivals that chose us and chose our little film and to the audiences who care to see it and for their love .
Quite deservedly, D-Love has won a total of 14 awards from the 12 festivals that the film has been a part of:
Carmel International Film Festival – Best Feature Film
Lone Star Film Festival – Best Feature Film
Kansas International Film Festival – Best Feature Film and Audience Award
High Falls Film Festival – Best Feature Film
Portland Film Festival – Audience Award
Rahway Rilm Festival – Best actress, Best Feature Film and Best Female Director
New Hope Film Festival – Audience Award and Best Female Filmmaker
Vero Beach Film Festival – Audience Award
Cayman Island International Film Festival – Best Feature Film
Hoboken International Film Festival – Audience Award
An OSCAR Contender
This week, I was excited to learn that D-Love: The Movie is in contention for an Oscar.
As the filmmakers’ Christmas gift to all of us, you can view the movie for FREE for a limited time. Go watch it! I promise you will enjoy this wonderful, poignant and authentic piece of art.
To Elena and Dave, thank you for making this film, your hugs and for being who you are. The film world needs your voices.
Seriously Folks! Go watch D-love and Share it with everyone with #GifteDlove!