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Donovan

Victor, a Western author, writes with his aging pal Donovan, who dresses like a wild west cowboy. When Victor is told by his publisher that the company will stop publishing his Westerns, he decides to break this news to Donovan. Donovan threatens Victor not to dissolve their partnership, but Victor comes up with a plan to get rid of Donovan.

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Director’s Statement

Donovan was the first screenplay that I have written, which became my senior thesis film. At the time, I had already directed 2 other short films, but felt that as an artist my art style was still unformed.

Having come from Indonesia to attend film school in the United States, I aspired to become a filmmaker like Ramin Bahrani, who made films about social issues and the plight of the underprivileged in the United States. As a result, my previous endeavor into filmmaking has produced rather pretentious work that delved into topics I lacked sufficient knowledge in. Finally, with Donovan, I decided to write a story that I saw in my head, without paying any concern to the style of the film until shortly before production started.

Donovan was written over a relatively long period of time for a short film script. I struggled several times to come up with the ending and also writing the dialogue, as English is not my first language. Moreover, I had to accept that the story I ended up writing was neither a social commentary nor a neorealist film, which became an emotional challenge. But I trusted my guts and went ahead to make the film as it had been conceived.

Having seen the completed film now, I am finally able to see the subtext that lies beneath it. I was writing Donovan out of desperation for trying to be a writer that I was not. I will not spoil the ending here, but what happens at the end of the film is essentially the transformation that I went through as a filmmaker while making it. In order to be a truthful filmmaker, I must not attempt to emulate someone else’s style. No matter how much you admire a certain artwork, creating an original piece of art will always be more satisfactory than making a perfect replica of that artwork.

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Information on this profile is provided by the film owners and/or compiled from available sources | Profile updated 7 Nov 2013