You will remember how much I raved about Johnny Daukes film Acts of Godfrey (2012) when it was shown at the Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre in Dumfries when Johnny travelled up to Scotland to take part in a Question and Answer session following our Film Club screening. This was his first feature film, a brave attempt at something completely different, cleverly written in rhyming couplets using modern day vernacular to great effect. When I was down in London recently for the Paralympics I was fortunate to be invited to the very first screening of Johnny’s latest feature film, which took place in the Court House Hotel in Great Marlborough Street W1. The 26 minute long-form short film Wonder (2012), again written by the director, is an intimate exploration of loss and reconciliation involving four very different couples over an evening and morning who find themselves connected by a journey that could have a devastating affect on all their lives.
Wonder began life as a group of songs that were recorded over Christmas 2011, that were prompted by various incidents including a painting given to Johnny of a ‘man with a bird on his head!’ but I believe the main influence came from the breakup of one of his friend’s relationships. Attending a screenwriting course he was told by writer Guillermo Arriaga (21 Grams, Babel, Amores Perros) to write with his heart and when music-publishing legend Christian Ulf-Hansen suggested that he should make a film to go with the six songs, Johnny wrote a first draft for this new movie. With finance arranged by old friend William Garfield-Bennett of Garfield-Bennett Trust, Wonder was completed earlier this year.
The movie stars some very well known actors including Henry Goodman, best known for Notting Hill (1999), Diana Hardcastle who appeared as Carol in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) and Jay Simpson who played one of the two hit men in Acts of Godfrey. Superb cinematography is provided by the experienced Oliver Loncraine who has worked on many films since he started as a trainee in 1993 including The Dark Knight Rises (2012) Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) W.E. (2011) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2 (2011) and The Kings Speech (2010).
This short film again marks out Johnny Daukes as a talented director of immense potential if given the right encouragement by our film industry. He has produced a humane relationship drama that explains the pain that can influence the feelings between two people and succeeds to put more meaning in to a short film than many directors can manage in 120 minutes.
The film has been chosen to premiere at this years Raindance Festival, which takes place in London between September 26th and October 7th, if it wins Film of the Festival it will automatically go into the Oscar shortlist for the best short film. Also to co-inside with its premiere the atmospheric soundtrack album will be released at the same time. I’m sure your join me in wishing Johnny Daukes the best of luck with both these projects and hopefully we will see him back at the RBCFT sometime in the near future.