Broken Dreams (USA, 1 hr 20 min)

Directed by: Davis Crabtree

Written by: David Crabtree, Jeff Wallace


Anya Benton, C.J. McCrary, Daniel Montgomery, Eddie Navarro, Jake Olson, John Nicholas, Kelsey Ford, Nicole Gerth, Tony Forsmark

'Broken Dreams' is a character-driven, coming-of-age story about love, friendship and addiction. Struggling young filmmaker Johnny (Eddie Navarro), is trying to complete his documentary about an agoraphobic little person, Julie (Nicole Gerth), when he finds out his best friend Ryan (Jake Olson) has asked his other best friend Elisabeth (Kelsey Ford) to marry him. Since Elisabeth hasn't given Ryan an answer yet, Johnny hopes that he can still be more than friends with her. Johnny turns to a new pill called 'the blues' to give him 'three more hours a day' to help him balance his pursuits. But when Johnny's dealer Tony (John Nicholas) cuts Johnny off, Johnny has to go down a dangerous path to get more, putting Johnny and his friends in danger.


An Interview with David Crabtree, the Director of Broken Dreams

JWB: Where did the inspiration for such a tragically themed story come from?

DC: Well first of all, I wanted to do a character driven story about love, friendship and addiction. With flawed characters that you could still love, much like our real friends and family. My co-writer Jeff Wallace is a recovering alcoholic. A point that he made very clear to me about addiction is that addicts usually hurt the people that love them much more than they hurt themselves. That was the main message that we wanted to come from the movie. And also it could be a cautionary tale.

JWB: When you first set out on making a movie with a drug related plot, were you not worried that the plot wouldn't work so well in a drama, as most movies involving drugs are action based?

DC: No. We just wanted a movie about real people, and we wanted the story and the characters to have a lot of heart. We all know people like the characters in this movie. I think what makes this movie unique, is that even the people that are dealing with the drugs are complicated and deep. And they have some very redeeming characteristics. But many of the characters, and much of the story has nothing to do with drugs. It's just about people, and their love and friendships.

JWB: The actors in your film are not hugely experienced but portrayed their characters well in very respectful performances. Did they need a lot of direction as far as character development goes?

DC: I met all the actors at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, where I study. I direct and sometimes act in scenes there. Most of these actors were unknown when we shot the movie. But they are all very talented up-and-coming actors. Some of them (Kelsey Ford, Phoenix Chou, Anya Benton) are now blowing up. But when I cast them, it was like I discovered all of them at the playhouse. The unique thing about casting from an acting school, is that I had seen months of work from them on the stage at the school. So I had a really good idea of what type of characters they would play really well. And I wanted them all to bring much of themselves to the parts. Due to the ultra low budget nature of this film, we used the actors real clothes, cars, and sometimes even used their apartments. Of course, I did need to direct them in their inflections and their understanding of their characters and how they fit into the story. But for most of them, it was right in their wheelhouse. The three leads (Eddie Navarro, Kelsey Ford, Jake Olson) also collaborated on the story with Jeff and I.

JWB: Broken Dreams tackles a lot of subjects that most people would relate to in day-to-day life. Were there any subjects that you or any other cast or crewmembers found themselves relating to?

DC: Absolutely! I really wanted them all to draw from real life experiences. We can all relate to being in love with someone that is not in love with us. And we can all relate to wanting to keep someone as a friend, but not a lover. We can all relate to fear in our everyday life. And we can all relate to trying to help our friends that are in need.

JWB: Did Broken Dreams live up to, or maybe even exceed your expectations?

DC: Not to get too dramatic about it, but this movie is a miracle. I started the development of this movie with a bunch of unknown (yet talented) up-and-coming actors. A co-writer that was a recovering alcoholic, and all the other most talented underdogs I could find that just had a passion for making this movie. I had access to some equipment and put all my money toward camera, sound, and food. The shooting of this movie was done for only $20,000. That is a ridiculous number for a movie with this much production value. But it worked because the story and the characters had heart. And because my DP Matt Boyd, my sound guy Stephen Nelson, and my composer Jay Vincent are incredibly talented, we were able to pull this off. The budget tripled when we got into post, but this is still a ridiculously low number for this movie. We shot guerilla style, and we were in constant fear of being shut down. Somehow we pulled this off. But it was because we were all passionate about it.

JWB: What kind of reaction were you hoping for from audiences?

DC: I've always said that if an audience laughs, cries, and is still thinking about the movie the next day, then that is a huge success. That's what I want. I want people to debate about the characters. I want people to be touched by the characters and the story. And I want the film's message to resonate, but not in a preachy way.

JWB: Will you be attending the festival or maybe just the screening of your film?

DC: I plan to attend the festival. Some of the actors may come with me. Thank you very much to David Crabtree for taking the time to talk to us about Broken Dreams.


By Johnathan Wayne Brown From word go Broken Dreams tells you in the title that it’s going to be an emotional movie that suggests depressing themes. When I first read the title I was prepared for a film that centralised around a broken home or failed relationship, but these genres are merely background noise to the unexpected darker subjects that are tackled within this beautifully executed production. The film has a fast pace with perfectly interlinked subplots that help tell the story of one mans downfall in what at first seems like a half decent lifestyle. I would question as to why this film is considered independent, when it has the story telling and polished finish that I would expect from a mainstream movie. Written by Jeff Wallace and David Crabtree, Broken Dreams follows young documentary maker Johnny Lane (Eddie Navarro) as he deals with being a third wheel among his friends Ryan Summers (Jake Olson) and Elisibeth Grace (Kelsey Ford). It is immediately obvious that Johnny has a crush on Elisibeth, and the revelation of Ryan’s proposal is a huge factor in Johnny’s problems. Johnny has a drug addiction, which slowly and inevitably gets worse and worse. He visits a very peculiar and non-typical drug dealer, a friendly guy who looks out for his best interests while selling him drugs. Eventually when his dealer realises the state that Johnny is getting in, he cuts him off, forcing him to go to other more familiar drug dealers who are not very nice and could be the source to some big trouble. Johnny has one true friend, a handicapped short woman, Julie (Nicole Gerth), who he is making a documentary about. They are very good friends and she is one of the only people Johnny can be honest and open with. When Ryan is suspecting that Johnny and Elisibeth are up to no good, Johnny’s brother James (Daniel Montgomery) is pushing him over the edge, and all that seems to help him get any work done is his drugs, Johnny truly has hit rock bottom. With everything going wrong between him and his friends and the loss of his job and drug addiction, things can only get worse for Johnny Lane. Broken Dreams, also Directed by writer David Crabtree, is the story of one man failing at life in every single aspect and the negative paths he takes in hope of finding a solution. It really does tackle some hard to swallow subjects, but those same subjects are what glued my eyes to the screen in anticipation of the outcome. In all honesty I could not pick out a week link in the cast, everybody put forward a great performance and really helped this movie to shine, which again is a rarity in independent film. At first I was expecting a film for the women, and again the title may put off the more masculine male, but I would recommend the guys tag along, I found myself feeling for the lead, or at least relating to him in some way. The pace of this film introduces an excitement to drama that would easily appeal to the action fan. Broken Dreams will be a highlight of any festival.