I recently had the opportunity to interview the extremely talented Director, Producer, Screenwriter, Cinematographer AND Actor (yes he does this too!), Dan Frank. He is a man of many talents and has so many cool stories to tell. Dan has been professionally making films for over eleven years now and has a cool list of films to notched on his bed post!
We chatted a little bit about his new film, The Green Fairy, which will be at Sundance Film Festival 2016. The Green Fairy will be premiering in the Indi Lounge during the Sundance Film Festival on January 21 and 24, 2016.
Lixa: What inspired you to write your film?
Dan: In May 2013 I had just screened my previous movie with Bai Ling, Speed Dragon at Festival de Cannes in France. It was my last day and I had a bottle of Absinthe I was trying to finish. I was sitting inside the Ritz Carlton and ordering Espresso; pouring Absinthe into my Espresso trying to finish it, I was supposed to do an interview like this, and but we all wound up going to Monaco for the Grand Prix to watch the cars race on the street. On the train, on the way there, I had the first vision of this movie and I thought about it on the ride. The Green Fairy, WOW! that would be a cool movie to do. I came back after the Festival de Cannes, and threw the idea around to a few people, one of them being Richard Grieco and everybody loved the idea.
In the summer I decided to go to Paris because I was going to try to write a romantic comedy but I had The Green Fairy as my back up plan. While I was there, I realized that it was not going to work out so I just said what the heck and I went for it. At first, I really didn’t want too many people to help me and I just wanted to do it myself. I worked really hard to create a very strong foundation, giving people a really terrible pitch because I really didn’t want people stealing my idea because this was different and the movie could be rad! I just said it was the history of Absinthe 1730 to 1913. I had a few people tell me that it was not a good pitch and that I should change my approach and I just thanked them for being honest. I did a little research online and I didn’t want to go off of what people said online, I wanted to live it myself. I reached out to this company La Clandestine in Couvet, Switzerland, which is the birthplace of Absinthe. They were very nice and agreed right away to help me with this movie and they basically helped me get all my interviews in Europe. I traveled from Paris to Couvet, Switzerland and before I started my movie, I had to go to the forest and drink from the enchanted fountain that had the purest water flowing from the mountain for your Absinthe to be one with the Absinthe. So I did this and I then began my movie. I normally do not drink alcohol, but I decided I should drink alcohol during this to experience it myself. If I drank, I would be telling the story. Mr. Van Gough did it, all these famous artists did it, so should I! I traveled all around and I think I drank maybe 18 bottled of Absinthe in a year and then I was done.
This movie was quite eventful journey making this movie, everything fell right in its place.
The people who were with me were my good friends and producer, right-hand-man Noel DeMello and my business partner Richard Grieco. Without those two guys, I don’t know what I would have done. Those two guys helped me out the most. I am a little rowdy and Richard Grieco really helped keep me in check; he would call me to get me to focus on The Green Fairy and he said this movie is way better than what anyone else is going to bring you. And so I listened to him. Two months later, I raised the money for the movie.
I had a lot of good help. I cast Roddy Piper, Linda Blair, Manu Intiraymi, Ashley Laurence, and I had Jerome Dillon from Nine Inch Nails do the score. This movie was just incredible, especially Roddy Piper as Wilde!
Me: What other projects are you working on right now besides The Green Fairy?
Dan: Right now I am kind of working on a few screenplays and I have a movie called Speed Dragon that I made with Bai Ling that I am working on putting out for Netflix and a bunch of other distributors. I executive produced a documentary called Beauty Queen Follow Your Dream. This girl from Poland, Natalia came to me with this idea and I helped her get this movie going and we just wrapped photography about a month ago in the Dominican Republic. It’s just a story about a girl from Poland and her dreams of wanting to be an actress and using Beauty Pageants and to get out and explore the world and get more options and now she is an actress in Bollywood and is doing stuff there. I am also working on a Secret Project.
Me: I notice you like to direct somewhat controversial subjects. Is there any reasoning for that?
Dan: I have stories to tell. The main reason is that I really like counter-culture stuff and I have always been geared to subjects like this. I like to think I have experienced a lot of stuff and give it my point of view and try to make it for the conservative person to think about it. I just ask for people to come in with an open mind. If I make something and you are against it, if you at least came in with an open mind, you get to at least think about something. For instance, Absinthe. I just talked about the history of Absinthe and try to dispel the myth and make it a popular drink where people don’t think they are going to die. It’s actually a good drink.
Medicinal, I had a lot of friends die that were being prescribed Morphine, Heroine, OxyContin and I was not understanding why they were not being able to be prescribed Marijuana. I had to listing to people say that Marijuana is a dangerous drug, but then thinking, Isn’t Morphine Dangerous? But you can get it at CVS!
Speed Dragon was based on myself. I just wanted people to know that you have to be careful and that people aren’t always there to help you and just because something appears to be good, it is actually leading you into a dead-end.
Lixa: I ask all my interviewees’ this question, as I am a foodies! What is your favorite food?
Dan: My favorite food is burritos’! I like the whole-in-the-wall Mexican burrito shop. It is my weakness!
Lixa: Favorite Dessert?
Dan: Coconut ice cream.
Lixa: If you were to be left on a deserted island, what three items would you take with you?
Dan: Notebook, pen and probably the herb.