DANIEL HOLLAND (Writer/Director/Producer) loves stories, and one could say that he has majored in the art of story for most of his life. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is an award-winning screenwriter, as well as a director and producer. His first feature film, “Reclaiming Friendship Park” screened at numerous festivals, was distributed by Dreamscape, and notably won the Best Actor Award.
Currently, he is most excited about “Moon Students”, which is just now entering the festival circuit. This feature drama is about a group of college students who find their callings and their voices during the pandemic. Inspired by the George Floyd tragedy, “Moon Students” is a coming of age story about uncovering hope when all the chips are down. The shoot, in the Summer of 2021, was the best collaboration of talents that he has ever experienced, and he cannot wait to share this story and these talents with the world.
As a screenwriter, he is also high on his forthcoming project, “The Paradise Walk”, a thriller about a disillusioned former CIA interrogation specialist who must use the psychological tools she most abhors in order to find a missing college girl. The script was named a finalist in SLAMDANCE SCREENPLAY competition, and he directed and filmed an action-packed teaser which is currently available.
His writing portfolio also contains fifteen scripts, including “The Street of the Dark Ones”, another SLAMDANCE FINALIST, “Sleepless”, FILMMATIC’S Action/Adventure 2016 Best Screenplay, the darkly satirical “Ride Share”, and “The Empire Sky”, a runner-up in the UCLA Screenwriting Competition.
As a director and producer, he understands the grit and determination that it takes to get a new venture off the ground, and he loves to work in a collaborative environment that empowers his actors and crew to achieve their best work.
1. Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?
"Moon Students" is about a group of young community college students who find their voices. This film chronicles their evolution as they clash with their history professor and then unite after the George Floyd tragedy in the initial stages of the pandemic. It is a story about standing up for something and being heard during the darkest of times. It is a story about maintaining hope when the chips are down.
2. What are your ambitions with your project?
I think the project has a lot to say to young people about stepping forward and being heard. I want the film to find its audience and hopefully gain some notoriety for artists who poured their hearts and passion into it. the actors and crew. And this should lead to a better and bigger base of operations for my next film.
3. Tell us somethng about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
The key word for this shoot was collaboration. It was really a beautiful experience to watch some many talents mix it up and vibe off each other. The set was so harmonious that it felt like we'd known these people for a long time.
4. For what group of spectators is your film targeted?
It should really connect with 18-28 year olds who are trying to find their own way during these difficult times, but its adult themes about the disillusionmentwe all feel after a big loss should hit with older viewers.
5. Why should distributors buy your film?
The coming-of-age story is universal and timeless, but it's also very contemporary and hip--and, if I do say so myself, the acting is just tremendous.
6. How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?
As mentioned above, it is a coming-of-age story with a realistic, contemporary vibe. Young people should see themselves in the struggles of these three-dimensional characters.
7. Why did you decide to become a filmmaker?
I am a story-teller, but I love collaboration. I love to talk about stories and characters with like-minded artists who are interested and curious about life and art. Filmmaking allows me to do all that.
9. Which movies are your favorites? Why?
Man, that is tough, but if I must. I love 60's and 70's cinema best, so The Graduate, Vertigo, and Chinatown. All three are deep dives into the human condition from distinct viewpoints. They are cutting, sometimes funny, sometimes dark mirrors to our society at particular moments.
10. Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
Other filmmakers, painters, writers, the news, my friends and family.
11. Which topics interest you the most?
I am obsessed with the personal flaws/conflicts that hold us back from growth, the embedded dysfunction in human nature, and the ways that societies continually make the same mistakes over and over again.
12. What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?
Any time a story connects with an audience that is a great achievement. My first feature, Reclaiming Friendship Park, won a best actor award for my lead, M. Steven Felty, and I consider that a big deal for him and me.
13. What do you consider most important about filming?
Though I know that today filming has become so technical, for me it's still about capturing the verisimilitude of a moment, the truthful spontaneity of a conflict that mirrors life.
14. Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best?
I'm a strange mix. I love the John Cassavetes intuitive, realistic visual style, and the big canvas approach of David Lean which revels in large cinematic shots of climactic moments..
15. How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking?
It has something for everyone, but I am a throwback to films that are less CGI driven and that focus on human connections and our attempt to understand ourselves.
16. What can disappoint you in a movie?
Anything that undercuts the complexity of what it means to be human today. Anything that oversimplifies or hyperbolizes the beautiful difficulties that we all endure on a daily basis.
17. Who supports you in your film career?
My friends, my family, my loved ones, and any audience my stories can empower.
18. What are the reactions to your film? (opinion of spectators, film critics, friends and family)
Extremely positive. People have praised the story, the characters, the acting, and the filmmaking techniques. We feel excited to take the first steps into festival land.
19. Have you already visited any of the prestigious film festivals?
This is the first leg of our festival tour, and the acceptances are beginning to pour in!
20. What are your future plans in filmmaking carrier?
I want to tell all the stories I can for as long as I can. That is what I feel called to do. Any road that appears, I will take but I want to improve with each project and take on bigger challenges every time out.