Advertisement
Home #Hwoodtimes DANNY BOY: Gangster Heist With Homosexual Undertones

DANNY BOY: Gangster Heist With Homosexual Undertones

By Valerie Milano

Danny Boy will be playing 9.27.21 @7:30pm Auditorium #6

Advertisement

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 9/2/21 – The 17th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood runs from September 23 through October 1, and packs in almost 80 short films of varying lengths into a number of different programs. Tickets are available for in-person screenings as well as virtual streaming. One of the films featured in the line-up is Danny Boy. In this 12:32-minute-long short, director Cory DeMeyers packs a pistol-happy tale in the streets of L.A. about two gang members attempting a heist at a Salvadoran bodega. Opening with titles floating over the image of a loaded pistol and strains of noir music, director Cory DeMeyers provides us with a two-character study that is shaped mostly by conversation in a 1980s car driven by veteran gangster Francis. Actor Sammy Horowitz wrote the screenplay and plays the tough old-school Latino gangster Francis, who is parked on the street waiting to pick up Danny Boy (Jett Jansen), a much younger gang-banger for a heist that they believe they planned carefully. Their anticipated heist is based on information that a friend named Stevie B has provided. They talk and argue in profanity-filled, realistic conversations in the car. After parking near the bodega, they inadvertently land on the subject of homosexual sex and this torches the remainder of the short film and its ending.

Armed robbery and homicide are part of the traditional crime genre but DeMeyers’ film takes a different spin. In gang culture, such parts of violence are like merit badges but the revelation of homosexual acts is still taboo, although male gang culture is quite homosocial. We don’t really get a sense of a larger gang culture in the short film, but clearly the two men have violent pasts and guns are a part of it. Male bonding in gangland is an interesting topic to explore, but one must tread lightly when talking about the lure of hyper-masculine sexual attraction within that world.

Advertisement

Danny Boy has been to a number of film festivals already and garnered several awards. Clearly, Deangelo Harding’s cinematography, colored in hues of blues and oranges, enriches the noir feeling of the film. While the film pays a very obvious ode to the genre flicks from the yesteryears, Danny Boy also has enough material of its own to sustain itself. Crucial to the unfolding of the story is an elaborate backstory provided by Danny Boy about Stevie B. who we never see in the film.

Sammy Horowitz is an award-winning action-actor, playwright, and screenwriter from Chicago. Before moving to Hollywood, Sammy was a member of a predominantly Latino street gang and spent 8 years, 7 months, and 15 days in prison. Sammy then went on to be a bouncer and doorman at local nightclubs, a stick-up artist, a drug addict, an M.M.A. fighter, and eventually a full-time professional boxer who competed in prize fights all over the country.

Sammy has been recognized for his plays both by Austin Film Festival and Screencraft. He is also an accomplished screenwriter who (along with his writing partner Adam Pasen) has been a semifinalist for Bluecat, and a finalist for the Warner Bros. Writers’ Workshop in 2020. Their feature God Shot is also being developed by Unified Pictures. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actor Sari Sanchez.

Director Cory DeMeyers grew up in Davison Michigan, a small town just outside of Flint. From a very early age he took to Martial Arts, all though exploring and excelling in other sports such as football, wrestling and track, Martial Arts remained a priority. By age 18 Cory was a 5x World Champion in the Art of Tang Soo Do and had achieved the Rank of 3rd Degree Black Belt. At that time, he decided to relocate to California and pursue driving and building Sport Compact race cars. After a short stint in the Red Line Time Attack Series and assisting with the builds of several magazine cars, Cory found his way back to Martial Arts. He has done extensive stunt work in film and television in Hollywood, including work for Quentin Tarantino in his recent Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Advertisement

Red Bull World Champion Athlete And Hollywood Stuntman Cory DeMeyers to premiere directorial debut, DANNY BOY, at Hollyshorts

(Los Angeles, CA) – September 3rd, 2021. The Academy qualifying film festival Hollyshorts has selected Cory DeMeyers’ directorial debut Danny Boy. The poignant and thought-provoking award-winning short film is directed and produced by DeMeyers, a former Red Bull world champion athlete turned stuntman and the recipient of the 2020 Taurus World Stunt Award for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s Academy Award-nominated film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The script was written by Sammy Horowitz and the film stars Jett Jansen Fernandez and Sammy Horowitz.

Advertisement

Visit www.Hollyshorts.com to book tickets for the in-person screenings at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and the virtual presentations happening from September 23rd to October 1st.

The 12-minute L.A. noir explores challenges the perceptions of friendship, loyalty, masculinity, and homophobia. Set against the backdrop of a heist in progress, Danny Boy delves on these topics through a very intimate lens.

Advertisement

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/554860824

The film tells the story of two low-rent criminals en route to a robbery and they don’t seem to be on the same page when it comes to life, love and loyalty. Lacking the presence of their mutual friend Stevie B, their plan may be in jeopardy along with their safety if these two acquaintances can’t find common ground. Stevie B said they would make a killing, but never mentioned they’d get along.

At its simplest form ‘Danny Boy’ is about not judging a book by its cover and not projecting your ideals, standards and aspirations unfairly on others. Everything is not as it seems, especially in Francis mind, inside his ideal construct of masculinity,” explains director Cory DeMeyers. “Francis and Danny seemingly are both on the same level until Danny becomes a champion of the people and defends the lifestyle of non-heterosexual males” he adds.

As a former criminal, gang member and drug addict, screenwriter Sammy Horowitz adds: “All of my stories come from lived experience and I wanted to bring something to the table so to speak which is raw and uncut and shows the type of nuances that exist in the criminal world. Danny is gay, Francis is old school. Both of these characters reflect shades of people I have known and had interactions with throughout my life. Their truths were important to me.”

The film that The UK Film Review rated Five Stars and is calling “a must-see” has
recently begun its festival circuit, already winning Best Low Budget Short Film and Best Supporting Actor at the Cult Movies Film Festival. The Indie Shorts magazine gave it a score of 4.5 Stars and said: It’s both remarkable and unusual for a story on crime, gang wars and heists to tread upon sensitive subjects such as homosexuality and by defying the conventional, what DeMeyers essentially does is both challenge and amuse his audience into a unique experience.

Danny Boy is an opportunity for creative duo Cory DeMeyers (director, producer) and Sammy Horowitz (actor, writer) to show that the skills they have acquired over the years working as stuntmen reach far beyond mindless action.

I want to prove that although both Sammy & I are Stuntmen, we are at our core Storytellers. Working as a stuntman with some of the great directors and producers of the time has been my film school, and when given the opportunity, I can contribute much more to this art form than is expected of me,” concludes director Cory DeMeyers.

Associate Producer Sari Sanchez stated, “With a gifted group of artists involved, a tight timeframe, and access to some key film equipment, I couldn’t think of a more exciting endeavor. ‘Danny Boy’ was a collaborative process from its inception which enriched an already thrilling premise. The authenticity of Sammy’s dialogue and the clarity of Cory’s vision made it easy to come on board with these guys behind the wheel.”

Starring Jett Jansen Fernandez (Stranger Things & Street Shadows), Sammy Horowitz (Notorious Nick, L.A’s Finest & Chicago PD). Directed/Produced by Cory DeMeyers (Taurus World Stunt Award Winner for Once Upon A Time in Hollywood). The film was produced in association with Crash Site Films (producer of Street Shadows) and Create and Destroy inc (DeMeyers Production Stable). Associate Producer: Sari Sanchez (Actress; Signature Move, Lucifer & Empire). Edited by Jeff McEvoy (Project Power, The Lincoln Lawyer). Original soundtrack contributions by KT Bonez.

To know more about Danny Boy, please visit the following links:

Facebook: DannyBoyMovieCory DeMeyers

Twitter: @ShortDanny@CoryDeMeyers

Instagram: @DannyBoyShortFilm@CoryDeMeyers

IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9884098/?ref_=ext_shr_lnk

Hashtag: #DannyBoyShortFilm

# # #

DANNY BOY

Crime Drama, L.A. Noir, 12:48

Directed & Produced by Cory DeMeyers

Written by Sammy Horowitz

SYNOPSIS :

Old-school Francis and his new-school accomplice Danny have it all planned out: a heist to make them rich, thanks to inside information that their mutual friend Stevie B has provided. Only plans are apt to change, along with Francis and Danny’s relationship when homophobic attitudes and murderous tendencies meet in a head-on collision. Stevie B said they would make a killing, He never said they’d get along.

Cory DeMeyers, Director, Producer

Photo credit:

© Create and Destroy Inc.

THE CREATORS

Cory DeMeyers (Director, Producer)

Cory DeMeyers, has had a diverse career as a Stuntman with over 130+ Film & Television credits to his name. Cory is a former Red Bull Parkour World Champion as well as a 2020 Taurus World Stunt Award recipient for his stunt work on Tarantino’s Oscar-nominated film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. As a professional athlete, Cory directed and produced action sports content for several clients around the world ultimately leading him to co-direct a feature-length documentary titled From Here To There, a freerunning documentary, about his journey to the Red Bull Podium in 2013.

Working on set around several high-profile directors such as JJ Abrahams, James Cameron, Henry Joost & Rel Schulman, Zac Snyder, Ed Zwick and 2nd Unit Director Kevin Scott has inspired and fueled his passion for filmmaking, leading him to step out and direct his first narrative short film, Danny Boy.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT:

It was important for me to make Danny Boy because I believe in the man behind the story, writer Sammy Horowitz. He has such an incredible background that has given him not only unique points of view to draw from, but real-world experience from parts of life most of us will never see nor fully understand. This informs his scripts and characters with a type of raw authenticity that sometimes feels uncomfortable to the viewer but speaks to the truth of each of his characters and where they came from.

Danny’s story evolves and not only is he a champion for equality defending his family and friends, he becomes one of those that are targeted by Francis. Danny Boy will certainly speak to underrepresented audiences and by extension allow us to continue telling stories like these. Stories that often offer insight to underserved communities and individuals, bringing a human connection and empathy to people and places society has chosen to ignore or overlook.

Sammy Horowitz, Writer, Actor

Role: Francis

Photo credit:

© Russian Concussion

Sammy Horowitz (Actor, Writer)

Role: Francis

Sammy Horowitz is a playwright and screenwriter from Chicago. Before Hollywood, he was a member of a Latino street gang and spent almost 10 years in prison. Sammy then went on to be a stick-up artist, a drug addict, an M.M.A. fighter, and a full-time professional boxer. Sammy and his writing partner Adam Pasen were finalists for the Warner Bros. Writers&Workshop in 2020.

WRITER’S STATEMENT:

As a writer, I want to explore the unexplored. I want to delve into the uncomfortable and talk about the things that many people today stay away from. Because of my background and the life, I once lived, I am in a place where now I feel obligated to shed a light on the dark places in humanity and society that often go unseen and ignored.

Stills of Danny Boy 

Photo credit:

© Create and Destroy Inc.

Q&A with Cory DeMeyers

What inspires you as a filmmaker?
As a filmmaker, in recent years I continue to be more and more inspired by raw, gritty, authentic characters and stories. Stories that make you think in a way you wouldn’t have thought before. Todd Phillips’ Joker, makes you sympathetic to the man, although you would still not condone his actions, you are offered an unadulterated lens into the hardships of his life and the wickedness that can easily overwhelm a person. The idea of giving an audience a glimpse into another world, and the opportunity to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes is inspiring to me.

Where did the idea of your film come from?

Sammy Horowitz and I were riding home together after a boxing session one morning. He had recently started writing and I was very excited about his stories. I really wanted to direct a few narrative pieces to show that although I have been a career Stuntman to his point, I could handle actors and dialogue, not just action scenes. So Sammy & I decided we wanted to put together a short that could do just that. The rest of the ride back and some of that afternoon, we tossed around rough ideas. Sammy sent me through the first iteration later that night and we started going back and forth with little edits. We were both very excited!

Why is telling this story so important to you, and why are you the best person to tell it?
The story of “Danny Boy “started as a challenge for me as a Director, to really hone in, keep it simple and focus on the 2 most important things; Character & Story, but it really became much more than that as the story evolved. The story itself became a reflection of how people often project onto a person what may well not be a true representation of who that person is or is not. These projections are based on our own rules we create internally, then without the other party’s knowledge we assign to them, and if they break those rules… We get furious.

In ‘Danny Boy’ we used the idea of Homosexuality vs Masculinity, what Francis perceives to be manly or masculine may be wrong, and along with that unfairly pointed assumption and his reaction to Danny Breaking the rules he’s set, comes a consequence. I’ve known characters in my life like both Danny and Francis, and I truly feel like I have a deep understanding of the characters and stories Sammy writes. He tells stories in words and I see words as images. I think all of this makes me the best person to tell Danny Boy’s story.

What was the most challenging or unusual part of making this film?
The fact that most of our film is set inside a vehicle does make for a very interesting challenge in and of itself. In order to keep things interesting and the story moving we could have had more coverage in the vehicle, we could have varied our framing, but in the end, I truly believe that would have detracted from the story and the tone. I wanted the viewer to feel like they were along for the ride with Danny & Francis, it needed to be reminiscent of the feeling of riding with one of your friends or acquaintances and to do that we had to keep it simple. In doing so maybe you lose a bit of creativity with the camera, that helps keep a single location from feeling flat, but I knew that could be remedied with our actors& performances. To that end damn, did Jett & Sammy deliver!

You know, originally we were going into this shooting a oner with a wide 2 shot over the hood, both actors were off book all 10 pages and it was going to be this little experimental piece. Coverage was going to be ancillary if we got what we wanted fast enough, coverage was our plan B. Funny enough, Jett and Sammy absolutely crushed the oners, we got it in 4 takes. It was so good that there was no way we were not giving them coverage, or we wouldn’t fully do the story or their efforts justice. I knew what I wanted at that point, Deangelo Harding our DP, and George our friend and Camera Op on this one had worked with me several times in the past so the 3 of us were able to fall in a groove and knock out the coverage in single takes for the most part. Shooting out the entire short in 4 ½ hours total!

Not to mention we had no permits and were driving around a detective car with a RED Camera strapped to the hood in Downtown Los Angeles, but that’s another story.

Tell us about your creative process? What is unique or unusual about it?
My creative process is very open and collaborative, I believe that my unique experience in the industry so far has informed me very well of the value each player in the process has. I don’t like to put limitations on the possibilities in terms of my vision, I tend to let my imagination run wild and start there. My colleagues would most likely say that I am a decisive filmmaker who leads with instinct.

Talk to us about the theme of your film and how you would like the audience to receive and/or interpret its message?
There really is a lot to unpack in this film, but at its simplest form it’s about not judging a book by its cover and not projecting your ideals, standards and aspirations unfairly on others. Everything is not as it seems, especially in Francis mind, inside the ideal and construct of masculinity Francis and Danny are both on the level until Danny becomes a champion of the people & defends the lifestyle of non-heterosexual males. Does that make Danny less of a man? Not at all, but to Francis’ this goes against his personal beliefs and if he were to continue to consider Danny as a man, then what does that say about himself? It would potentially challenge everything he believes, and in this situation, that choice of acceptance or persecution has very dire consequences.

Don’t be so fast to pass judgment, understand that your ideals and beliefs are for yourself and it is not fair to project them on others who are unaware or unwilling to be included in your belief systems, and just because someone else doesn’t align with all of your views that doesn’t make them any less of a person.

Tell us about your cast. What is special about your actors and why did you cast
them?

When we were finally ready to shoot Danny Boy, there really were only 2 people I wanted to play Danny & Francis, and I think they would both agree that it was the right choice. Pulling double duty as Writer/Actor Sammy stepped into the role of Francis and honestly, he was perfect. He wrote the character, he himself is a former criminal or as he will tell you Professional Stick-up artist, and he’s a fantastic bad buy. We met on the soon-to-be-released, Notorious Nick, where he was playing the main bad guy and doing his own stunts, it was a no-brainer.

Then there is Jett Jansen Fernandez. I’ve known this man for over 10 years and he’s so talented in so many ways. I think his work ethic comes from being the 1st American Born, Cuban-American in his family; He can write, Direct, Produce, Perform gnarly stunts, and he can act his ass off. At the time he also had a very good look for the character of Danny, with his beard and long hair we could make him look like a grimey street criminal easy, not to mention I knew with his extensive theater training from his youth, he would be able to be off-book all 10 pages quick and really live the character. Jett took direction very well, and made some amazing, nuanced choices that really brought the character of Danny to life. I’m so happy to see him in this role and very proud of his performance.

Cory, you have a long list of credits under your belt. Tell us about your transition into directing and how your career as a stunt performer affected your directing choices.
Working as a stuntman really has been my film school. Every show I’m on I sit and watch what the director is doing, how they’re interacting with the cast and crew and what choices they’re making within a scene. If you pay attention, you will learn something new every time, not just from the director but from every department, so being a stuntman really has allowed me this amazing access to a wealth of knowledge and on the job training to continue growing in the film industry. I’ve had the opportunity to watch; Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, Ed Zwick, Zack Snyder, Ruben Fleischer, J.J. Abrams, Kevin Scott and much more work while sitting quietly in the shadows taking notes of my own and learning. That is priceless.

It’s funny, most Stunt Professionals that decide to take a foray into filmmaking usually decide to pursue it from a very action-heavy angle. Don’t get me wrong I love action and I do hope to get to do a few original pieces of action down the line, but as the 2nd Unit Director Kevin Scott always says, “Action should be driven by the story & compliment it not take away from it.” That to me tells us that story is king, and it is, so for me, I want to focus on great stories with intricate characters. Action should enhance the story, not always be the story. To be a good filmmaker you have to understand your characters and story, maybe down the line once I have a great comprehension of this side, we can create some amazing action films with deep storylines and interesting characters.

What’s next for you? Talk about your next project and where you’re at right now.
Currently, “DANNY BOY” is running the Film Festival Circuit. We have seen a good amount of success and interest in Europe which is very exciting, and our team is working very hard in hopes of having a favorable run in the states as well. We’re very
excited to continue sharing it with audiences and getting a conversation started.

Moving forward I have just entered into an agreement with Sammy & his writing Partner Adam Pasen to Option and begin developing a feature film script they have titled, “Musket & The Rat”. Together Adam and Sammy have been semifinalists for Bluecat, finalists for the Warner Bros. Writers&Workshop in 2020, and their Screenplay adaptation of Musket & The Rat from a play Sammy wrote of the same name is incredible. It had a limited run as a Theater Production in Los Angeles, January 2020 that opened to rave reviews from critics. When I sat in the audience, I immediately knew it was something to be a part of.

In the meantime, we’re going to keep shooting short-form content through development. We love the process and medium so much that we need to be constantly creating. I have also been contacted by a friend of mine who is a talented Director & he has expressed interest in having me direct high-concept social media content and music videos for a few of his clients, so I’d love to pursue that as well if everything comes together.

What are you still looking for?
I’m looking to continue creating, whether that be through Directing, Producing or Action Designing. I think through the act of creating in any form you continue to gain valuable experiences you can apply to each new project as it manifests, so I’m looking to continue that. Growing my skills and helping to tell compelling stories.

_________________________________________________

Q&A with Sammy Horowitz

What inspires you as a writer?
I’m inspired by ideas that push boundaries and challenge people to think outside the box.

Where did the idea of your film come from?
Cory and I spoke several years ago about developing a project which would take place in a car and explore a challenging narrative. The idea for Danny Boy was born, and we both wanted an homage to one of our favorite filmmakers, Quentin Tarantino.

Why is telling this story so important to you, and why are you the best person to tell it?
As a former criminal, gang member, and drug addict who often robbed and stole to get what I wanted, I could easily identify with both Francis and Danny on their journey, both in the secrets which we keep and the distrust which we feel. All my stories come from lived experience and I wanted to bring something to the table so to speak which is raw and uncut and shows the type of nuances that exist in the criminal world. Danny is gay, Francis is old school. Both characters reflect shades of people I have known and had interactions with throughout my life. Their truths were important to me.

What was the most challenging or unusual part of making this film?
To have a story take place almost entirely in a car and remain interesting was a challenge for me as a writer and I’m sure pushed Cory to bring his best.

Tell us about your creative process? What is unique or unusual about it?
I wrote this script two years ago after a sit down with Cory, but after both of us became busy I grew frustrated during Covid and was planning on shooting it on an Iphone in my car. Cory came out for a job in Los Angeles and, on 24 hour’s notice, decided to assemble a team of incredible artists to film Danny Boy properly. We were on location within 48 hours, rehearsed the script over a one-night period, and shot the film in four and a half hours.

Talk to us about the theme of your film and how you would like the audience to receive and/or interpret its message?
There are several themes present in Danny Boy: betrayal, trust, criminality, sexuality. I want the audience to take from it that nothing is as it seems and that you can never judge a book by its cover.

Sammy can you tell us about your transition into writing and how your career as a stunt performer informs your writing.
Sure! I have always considered myself a storyteller but didn’t understand the different mediums through which to tell them until I met my writing partner Adam Pasen, who taught me pretty much everything I know about the craft or writing. I started out partnering with him on a biopic about my life, and from there moved into writing plays, short movies, and television series about the darker side of society that I relate to – marginalized stories which I feel need to be told. The biggest upside of coming from a stunt background is that I understand action sequences very well (since I’ve been a part of many of them), and this really helps when creating them on the page.

What’s next for you? Tell us about your next project and where you’re at right now.
As a solo writer, I have a play and short movie in development now: Prisons, which is a play exploring class and racism through a Jewish lens, and Dayroom, a short film that Cory and I will be shooting soon further delving into prison life and the boundaries (and lack thereof) which exist inside those walls. Also, my partner Adam and I have two feature films: God Shot, which is based on many of my experiences and is currently in development with Unified Pictures, and Musket and the Rat, which is adapted from the play I wrote in 2018 and which Cory is now attached to direct. We also have three television pilots that we are getting ready to go out with and have been working on for some time!

What are you still looking for?
I just want to keep telling stories that interest me, and that I feel the need to tell. I would love to be in a Writers’ Room of course, but for me, I just feel the intrinsic need to put things down on paper that call out to me. I want to put up Musket and the Rat in Chicago and make art that is truthful and honest to my lived experience.

Danny Boy

Jett Jansen Fernandez –  (left) Danny

Sammy Horowitz – (right) Francis

Photo credit:   © Create and Destroy Inc.

Danny Boy

Jett Jansen Fernandez –  (left) Danny. Sammy Horowitz – (right) Francis

Photo credit:   © Create and Destroy Inc.

Danny Boy

Sammy Horowitz – Francis

Photo credit:   © Create and Destroy Inc.

Jett Jansen Fernandez​, Actor

Role: Danny

Photo credit:

© Crashsite Films

Sari Sanchez, Actor, Associate Producer

Role: Woman

Photo credit:

© Create and Destroy Inc.