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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar Voynar@moviecitynews.com

Update on Darius Goes West

If you’ve read me for very long, you are probably aware that I am a huge fan of the documentary Darius Goes West. If you’re not familiar with this film, it’s about a group of 20-something guys who take their friend Darius, who’s confined to a wheelchair by a devastating form of muscular dystrophy that has already taken his brother’s life and will, eventually, take his, on a cross-country journey. The film charts the friends’ journey as they take Darius on his first ever trip away from his hometown in a rented RV on a quest to make it to Los Angeles to try to persuade the folks at MTV to pimp Darius’s “ride” — a crappy wheelchair that’s falling apart.
Darius Goes West isn’t just a great movie because it’s about a kid with a disease, though; it’s a great movie because it tells a great story, and the story is about the friendship between Darius and these young men, and how that friendship lifts him up and makes something that would have been impossible for him, possible. There are many scenes in this film that are heartwarming, but my favorite by far is the first time Darius goes in the ocean. Suddenly, with his friends supporting him and keeping his head above water, Darius is free of the gravity that binds him. There is a joy on his face — and on the faces of all his friends — as he laughs out loud with a child’s delight.
Now Darius and the team behind DGW are on another journey, this time to raise money for research for Darius’s disease, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, in the Chase Community Giving Challenge. Out of 500,000 causes, the DGW team made it to the second and final round. Moreover, the Ginder family has agreed to match every vote cast for DGW in the Chase Community Giving Challenge with a $1 donation to muscular dystrophy research.
If you haven’t seen Darius Goes West, you can watch the entire film for free right here (and if you like it, buy the DVD, eh?) and while you’re there, you can cast your vote for this most worthy of causes. So go on, head on over there … what’re you waiting for? The DGW team needs YOUR vote to win.

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“But okay, I promise you now that if I ever retire again, I’m going to ensure that I can’t walk it back. I’ll post a series of the most disgusting, offensive, outrageous statements you can ever imagine. That way it will be impossible for me to ever be employed again. No one is going to take my calls. No one is going to want to be seen with me. Oh, it will be scorched earth. I will have torched everything. I’m going to flame out in the most legendary fashion.”
~ Steven Soderbergh

I feel strongly connected to young cinephile culture. The thing about filmmaking—and cinephilia—is that you can’t keep hanging out with your own age group as you get older. They drop off, move somewhere. You can’t put together a crew of sixty-somethings. It’s the same for cinephilia: my original set of cinephile friends are watching DVDs at home or delving into 1958 episodes of ‘Gunsmoke,’ something like that. The people who are out there tend to be young, and I happen to be doing the same thing still, so it’s natural that I move in their circles.

In terms of the filmmaking, there was a gear shift: my first movies focused on people around my age, and I followed them for three films. Until The Unspeakable Act, I was using the same actors, not because of an affinity for people at a specific age, but because of my affinity for the actors. I like to work with actors a second time, especially if I don’t feel confident casting a new film. But The Unspeakable Act was a different script, and I had to cast all new people. Even for the older roles, I couldn’t get the people I’d worked with before. But when it was over, the same thing happened: I wanted to work with Tallie again in the worst way, and I started the process all over again.

I think Rohmer did something similar around the time of Perceval and Catherine de HeilbronnHe developed new groups of people that he liked to work with. These gear shifts are natural. Even if you want to follow certain actors to the end of their life (which I kind of do) the variety of ideas that you generate makes it necessary to change. And once you’ve made the change, you’ve got all these new people around.”
~ Dan Sallitt