Today UCM.ONE is releasing the American indie film “The Fare” by D.C. Hamilton via the film label Artkeim² to the cinemas in Germany. The leading actress Brinna Kelly also wrote the script and convinces at the side of her co-star Gino Anthony Pesi as a mysterious passenger on a night cab ride through a lonely…
“The Fare” by D.H. Hamilton tells the story of a taxi driver and his passenger, as they try to escape a mysterious and endless night-time cab ride where each turn of the meter resets their trip to the beginning.
The world-weary Harris drives his old-fashioned taxi through a desolate, deserted landscape. Only the voice of his boss, who repeatedly calling him on the radio, keeps him company. When he gets the order to pick up a passenger, the enchanting Penny gets into his taxi. A flirtation begins between the two but ends when she has arrived at her destination and gets out of the car. However, when Harris resets his meter, he is instantaneously transported back to the moment he pulled up to her, and the journey begins all over again.
Harris and Penny find themselves trapped in a time loop and try to solve this mystery. During the seemingly never-ending journey on a lonely stretch of roads, secrets are revealed, truths come to light and Harris’ life is irrevocably changed.
About director and producer D.C. Hamilton:
D.C. Hamilton has directed over 50 short films and commercials. “The Fare” marks his sophomore feature directorial endeavor. He began his career as showrunner David Zabel’s assistant on the long-running Emmy-winning series “ER“, then graduated to various production and art department roles on shows such as “The West Wing“, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia“, and “Friday Night Lights“.
He wrote and produced the independent feature film “My Name is Jerry“, starring Doug Jones (“The Shape of Water“, “Hellboy“, “Star Trek Discovery“) and Steven Yeun (“The Walking Dead“). An official selection at the Heartland Film Festival, it garnered numerous accolades including “Best Picture“ at the Santa Clarita Valley Film Festival and the International Filmmaker Festival, and “Best Comedy” at the Route 66 Film Festival.
Directors note by H.C Hamilton:
“My father, a novelist with a knack for telling the kinds of stories that haunt you long after the lights go off, had it in his head that old Twilight Zone plots made good bedtime stories for his two small children, told lovingly as though they were Mother Goose nursery rhymes. So for me, The Fare began life long before the story or characters existed, deep in the recesses of a traumatized 6-year-old brain as I lay under my covers, waiting for aliens to serve man or a goblin to appear on the wing of my airplane.
As film became the all-consuming pursuit that it is, those stories merged into a tapestry of pop-culture and cinema, logged away somewhere between Mr. Miyagi, ruby slippers, and a shark named Bruce.
Luckily, our screenwriter, Brinna Kelly, never stopped considering that other dimension and imagined a beautiful love story which harkened back to that largely lost style of storytelling. She pitched me a romantic mystery with fantastical elements, a looping narrative, whimsy, scares and a taxicab lost on a desolate stretch of road – told with the same restraint and cleverness that made “The Twilight Zone” so effective. She had a unique perspective on the tale of Harris, a weary cab driver, and his mysterious fare, Penny. It rekindled memories of those bedtime stories and the excitement they evoked. With it came the hope that despite limited resources, we could do something special. My job was simple: don’t screw it up.
Our vision was to create a film that pays homage to the past, using classical techniques but taking a modern twist. With a mixture of black and white and color, classical film music, rear projection screens, night scenes shot by day and even a taxi from a forgotten era, the film is both a retrospective and a minimalist indie film.
The film takes place almost entirely inside a car, so the largest challenge was always going to be finding two actors that could simultaneously carry the unique burden of a film of that style, and also have a rich chemistry that would compel the audience. I could not be prouder of the performances of our two leads. They always found ways, from the big moments to in-between the quiet ones, to make you invest in these people and where this journey is taking both of them.
It is my wish that people leave the film moved, surprised, amused, and affected by it in the same way I was as a child listening to those Twilight Zone bedtime stories. In the way that I was when Brinna first pitched me her tale about two lovers trapped inside an endless cab ride. It is my hope that people will take the journey with Harris and come out the other end having experienced something they truly did not expect.”
Original title The Fare
Director: D.C. Hamilton
Screenplay: Brinna Kelly
Actors 6 actresses: Gino Anthony Pesi, Brinna Kelly, Jason Stuart, Jon Jacobs, Matt Fontana, Jeff Blum, J.K. Baker, Stephen Ji, Sarah Moore, Debbie Mottinger, Neil Mottinger, Paul Samaniego Paul Samaniego, Rob Starns, Joshua D.W. Smith, David Midell, Jessica Goldapple, Jaimi Paige, Jeremiah Peisert, David Saenz
Producer: D.C. Hamilton, Brinna Kelly, Gino Anthony Pesi, Kristin Starns
Coproducer: David Midell
Cinematography: Josh Harrison
Editing: D.C. Hamilton
Sound: Steve Blazewick, Marlon Clark, Scott A. Jennings, Borja Sau Razquin, Jake Weber
Camera and Electrical Department: Scott Birnkrant, Andy Chinn, Ryan Figueroa, Jenna Hagel, Stephen Ji, Barham Lashley, Summer Marsh, Paul Samaniego, Peter Schmidt, Joshua D.W. Smith
Visual Effects: Morgan Mead
Make-up: Lauren Bencomo, Tayler Berez
Music: Torin Borrowdale
Production companies: 501 Pictures, Public Displays of Affection, Grady Film
Year of production: 2018
Length: 82 Min
Aspect ratio: 2,39:1
Russian: Где-то во времени
2018 Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival: “Best Feature Editing” -> D.C. Hamilton
2019 Miami International Science Fiction Film Festival: “Best Dark Fantasy/Supernatural Film” -> The Fare
2019 Miami International Science Fiction Film Festival: “Best Supporting Actress, Feature Film” -> Brinna Kelly
2019 Film Quest: “Overall Concept and Execution” -> D.C. Hamilton & Brinna Kelly
Theatrical release USA: November 12, 2019
Theatrical release Germany: August 27, 2020
DVD release Germany: September 25, 2020
VoD release Germany: September 25, 2020
About Gino Anthony Pesi:
Gino Anthony Pesi is an accomplished film, television, and theater actor. He can be seen as a Series Regular on the NBC drama “Shades of Blue“, starring opposite Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta. Spanning his career, he has appeared in over 40 professional film and television projects, including major recurring roles on TNT’s “Dallas“, “CW’s The Vampire Diaries“, and supporting roles in blockbuster films like Sony’s “Battle: Los Angeles and the Legendary Pictures’ Jackie Robinson biopic, “42“.
Gino Anthony Pesi captured accolades with his directorial debut for the 2012 experimental short film “Turning Point” winning the “Audience Award“ (applauding the origin of love) and a “Jury Mention“ at the Utah Arts (Fear No Film) Festival and the “Best Art Short award“ at the Eugene International Film Festival. He is a proud life-time member of The Actors Studio.
In conversation with Gino Anthony Pesi:
What connected you personally to the character of Harris?
“Harris is lost; literally and figuratively. I felt like I could offer this role my own experience of love and love lost. My personal truth of not knowing where I am, not knowing where I’m going, but keeping my foot on the pedal until I find my path.”
Did this film give you the opportunity to show different sides of yourself as an actor?
“The role allowed me the freedom to play. I was able to bring more of myself to this, more of my personal quirks; I’m grateful for that. The character has a depth I haven’t had the opportunity to bring to my other roles on screen. It was nice to be let out of the cage for 6 days.”
What drew you to this project?
“I appreciate a good love story. This was a good one. I’m a hopeless romantic at the heart of it. I believe, when you break it down, the search for love is the common denominator in all of us.”
What are you hoping audiences will take away from the film?
“I hope they feel something unique to them. Our job is not to tell the audience how to feel or what to take away from the story. Our job is to tell the story as effectively and truthfully as we can under imaginary circumstances. Easier said than done, but it’s a fun job.”
Is there a special memory you will take away from experience?
“This was a special group of people. Professionals that came together to work on a passion project for next to nothing, and still treated it like it was a hundred-million-dollar movie. I was so touched and impressed by their effort. It reminded me that there were still good people in this industry, people that still cared about the work, and the purity of storytelling.”
About Brinna Kelly:
Brinna Kelly began her career in front of the camera at the age of 10 in Asia. She performed in several television dramas under prominent directors including award-winning filmmaker Zhou Sun. She relocated to Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA’s prestigious school of Theatre, Film, and Television where she studied under Tony award-winning director Mel Shapiro.
In 2016, her feature writing and producing debut, “The Midnight Man” (starring William Forsythe, Vinnie Jones, and Brent Spiner) was released worldwide to positive reviews. In 2017, she produced the short film “The Binding” which screened at festivals across the country.
Brinna Kelly worked as a screenwriter for Academy Award-nominated director Simon Sandquist. She wrote and produced more than 200 episodes of the highly successful web series “Marvel/DC“, which garnered over 79 million views.
In conversation with Brinna Kelly:
What types of stories inspired or excited you when you were growing up? What do you feel is missing from stories in cinema today?
“As a child the stories that fascinated me the most were old sci-fi shows of yesteryear. I was captivated and intrigued by the likes of Star Trek, the original series and The Twilight Zone. These shows were able to do so much with so little. Their limitations did not hold them back, but instead bred their creativity. That is exactly the kind of storytelling I believe is missing in cinema today.”
As a female, minority writer, who has often penned action comedy scripts that have otherwise been reserved for the “Boy’s Club” of Hollywood, what has kept you going amidst an obstacle course of adversity?
“Stubbornness. And a passion to tell a compelling story and entertain an audience. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. And that’s enough to keep me going and make me continue to want to prove that I can, in fact, run with the boys.”
How did the idea for the story originate?
“I had been working on another project, a sprawling action-thriller that constantly teetered on the edge of being green-lit. The process droned on, and I noticed the strain it had on my intellectual and creative resources. I began to get this image in my head, that I was stuck in an endless time-loop, driving down a long, dark road, and every time I thought I’d gotten somewhere, the project would falter and the process would reset. From this place of frustration came the spark of an idea: a contained, character-driven film that I could realistically produce; a way to rekindle my passion for writing and filmmaking.”
What are you hoping audiences will take away from the film?
“I believe if this film were to have a message, it would be that life is about the moment you’re in. Life is but a single drive. It is my hope that the audience comes away inspired to seize upon the moment.”
Selected comments about the film
“Hamilton manages to get surprisingly much out of his limited resources. In the process, The Fare takes a few really surprising turns and heads for a weird ending that one truly could not have foreseen. Sometimes you don’t need a big budget – a few wacky ideas are enough.” (Weser Kurier)
“A cab, a passenger and a time loop – that’s all director D.C. Hamilton needs to entertain his audience. An amazingly accomplished and surprising genre variation. Despite only a few changes of setting and a calm editing rhythm, the whole thing seems dynamic. It’s the mix that does it! In the combination shown here, this constellation is quite convincing for 82 minutes of flying time, and in the Internet age of short attention spans and infinite alternation waiting behind each click, The Fare offers a lesson in deceleration.” (kino-zeit.de)
“The marmot greets in the cab. This little indie film makes the most of its mini-budget and tells a romantic-mystical version of the proven “And daily the marmot greets in the cab” formula.” (cinema.de)
“The Fare is a mysterious, romantic thriller that combines elements of Rod Sterling‘s The Twilight Zone and Groundhog Day.” [thewunderland.com]
“The 2019 Cult Romantic Film.” (Starbust Memories)
“This is a romantically charged film that essentially challenges the rules of fate that movies like Titanic focused on.” (starburstmagazine.com)
“The interaction between the two lonely souls [is] so charming, sometimes even funny, that you completely forget that there is still a mystery to be solved somewhere. This unusual mixture of genres [is] a real insider tip, which should be given a chance. The Fare takes the popular time loop principle and combines mystery and light thriller borrowings with a love story. The mix is unusual, but coherent: Especially the duo’s interplay is so successful that some minor weaknesses are hardly noticeable.” (Film-rezensionen.de)
“The Fare is a brilliant indie cinema. A truly intriguing mystery and two leads who share a fantastic chemistry make for one of the best movies of the year.” (doblu.com)
“Brianna Kelly and Gino Anthony Pesi are absolutely great together. Their chemistry is really the key to the movie.” [jbspins.blogspot.com]
“The film is a prime example of intelligent and thoughtful filmmaking.” (thecriticalcritics.com)
“The Fare is a film that will move you with its poignant theme, make you laugh with its subtle humour and captivate you with its thrills and surprises at the edge of your seat.” [elementsofmadness.com]
Trailer (English) [with German subtitles]