Davan Leland Holt Jr. is from North Carolina, born December 26th, 1969. His parents divorced when he was young. Davan and his brother to New York with their Mother alternating regularly between the two very culturally different states. After graduating High School he joined the Army where he became a cameraman.
Davan cut his teeth for a few years on some DIY projects, even aired a couple on a local cable channel before catching a break in 2008. A producer liked his script and they made his first screenplay into a movie; “Jury Of Our Peers”. The movie enabled him to acquire an agent who believes in his work.
He is currently working on a collaboration that he feels good about. Davan is also pitching four screenplays, three television series, a couple reality shows, and a game show in addition to directing my own romantic comedy this summer. He just loves creating!
Davan is happily married to Regina Kay Holt and they reside in North Carolina where the majority of their family lives.
What is the current project you are working on?
I'm never really working on just one it seems. I've forgotten what that feels like. I'm going to say 'Good/Bad Advice' . An in house indie rom/com I'm developing with aspirations to shoot this summer. I'm working with a great group of people who specialize in improv. The concept is basically about a young guy who takes every and anyone's advice about how to woo the girl of his dreams.
Did you always want to be a filmmaker?
What inspired you to become filmmaker?
Probably the combination of having had camera experience in the Army then receiving creative writing praise in college. I had an idea one day and said I'm going to make a movie which turned into Jury Of Our Peers.
What is the best thing about being one?
The creative license to create these these wonderful worlds, characters and situations. Then to be a part of a team and watch them come to life and getting that surprise when a scene turns out even greater than you imagined. i would also say the ability to entertain people and cause them to feel various emotions.
What is the worst thing about being one?
Money! All mighty dollar! Having to constantly search for new ways to fund your vision.
What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?
Who is is your favorite filmmaker?
I really don't have one. I enjoy and identify with so many movies. Anyone who leaves me in awe or wonder or makes me feel like a kid again.
How has your life changed since you became a filmmaker?
The prospect of having a career as opposed to a job.
What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?
Be full of hope. Don't let your emotions go to high so you won't have as far to fall. Because you will face plenty of lows after many many rejections.
What do you like to do besides filmmaking?
Laugh with my wife, read and watch movies/tv shows.
Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become a filmmaker?
Yes and still do. The Army, textile plant and Walmart.
What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?
Sixteen Candles, Godfather, Friday, Malcolm X, The Color Purple, Bridges Of Madison County, Tombstone
The Office, The Big Bang Theory, Castle, Bones, Weeds, Dexter, Curb Your Enthusiasm, House Of Payne, Meet The Browns
I haven't seen that many foreign films.
How would you describe your film education?
On the go training! I try an create what I like to see.
How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?
Very small however larger than I initially thought. Some very talented people with big dreams. We do have the Wilmington scene and HollyWood does shoot quite a bit in little old North Carolina.
How has social media changed the independent film industry?
Wow! Major! Now everyone has access to people and resources to better compete and make a good product. Big advantage in marketing. You can find out what technology everyone is using. And the camraderie of my peers who are in the same boat. Instead of being alone we're in one big boat together.
What's your opinion on crowdfunding and recent crowdfunding scandals?
As with everything ever created a small percentage of people will find a way to pervert it, pimp it out and take advantage. Good old human nature. What would we do with out it?
What is the casting process like?
Fun, I enjoy seeing different actors takes on chracters. I learn from them.
How does independent film differ from the mainstream?
I feel that our movies are more story driven with more love and TLC. It's not all about numbers or a return. We hope but we know that outside of family and friends no one may ever see our movie.
You could go back in time and see any classic film being made. Which film would it be and why?
Hmmmm. The Wizard Of Oz because it looks like they had the most fun ever. I could be wrong but the imagination and creativity was off the charts.
What's your favorite movie quote and why?
Once again I have many but I'll say Tombstone's Doc Holliday, Val Kilmer's favorite line "I'm your huckleberry" . It sounds funny but he said it such sincere menace and bad intentions that it was scary.
You could have any super power. What would it be?
Wolverine's invulneralbility. I could take a severe beating and fully recover which we do a lot of but recovery takes a while and we wear the scars. At least on the inside.
What is your opinion on movie remakes?
Ugggh, but I understand trying to reintroduce material to new generations but sometimes it's okay to reinvent the wheel.
What is your opinion on book to movie adaptions?
Lord Of The Rings was so great! The best I've seen. I like a lot of them.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
First, thank you so much for this opportunity! Take the time and support your local indie filmmakers. You never know who can be the next breath of fresh air on the screeen; big and small.
Thanks for doing the interview Davan. You have a lot going on. Keep me posted. Maybe we can do another interview on one of your future projects.