Local film premieres at Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18 this weekend
Desmond Devenish, film director of "Misfortune," discusses his inspiration and what it took to put this film together on Thursday, Aug. 25. The film was partially shot in Tucson and used UA students in its cast and crew.
At one point or another, we have all probably wondered what it would be like to make our own film. Some of us would prefer to star in the motion picture and dazzle on screen, while others might prefer to try their hand at screenwriting. The very ambitious may have even thought about getting behind the camera as a film director.
Most of us will probably never get to try our hand at these talents, but that is certainly not the case for Desmond Devenish.
As an actor, director, screenwriter and producer, Devenish is a man who wears many hats. Luckily for us Tucsonans, the Los Angeles-based filmmaker will arrive at Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18 today for a screening of his new film, “Misfortune,” which he directed, produced, co-wrote and starred in right here in the Old Pueblo.
He admits that although it proves difficult to take on so many roles while making a film, it can be done.
“I don’t know if this is a little masochistic of me, but I enjoy it,” Devinish said. “I enjoy being in the firing lines. Directing and producing and acting is manageable if you do have people that have your back and that have a strong understanding of what you’re going for. But it’s tough and it does burn you out.”
Devenish admits that the film took a long time to see through from start to finish, but he’s certainly glad to finally be at the screening phase of the filmmaking process.
“This movie was the culmination of about two and a half years of production and marketing work, and another two years of writing, so it took a little more than four years to make it,” Devenish said.
Aside from the fact that Tucson obviously doesn’t often attract stars to attend their own screenings, another reason to drive out to Harkins tonight is that Devenish employed many UA students during the film’s production.
“Everything we did from pre-production to shooting went off without a hitch,” Devenish said. “I think part of that was just Tucson and the community...[and] we were able to help these students studying film.
Devenish said the production of “Misfortune” wouldhave been impossible without help from the UA and the Tucson community. Devenish said he did a lot of press for the movie, but that the most important people he wanted to talk to were here at the UA.
“I just wanted to say, ‘Hey, this is a film that the UA had participation in,’ and I feel like they made it possible for me, which makes you realize how much of a big effort film is,” he said.
In “Misfortune,” a crime thriller, a man gets released from prison and decides to track down the son of his former partner, whom he believes could help him find the diamonds that landed him in prison in the first place.
Devenish admits that the film was partially inspired by one of his own real-life experiences, which happened when he attempted to make a different film.
“I had invested a lot of money into my own film, and one of our financiers ended up defrauding the money I had put into the movie, which was devastating,” Devenish said. “It made me realize that money can be a very corrupting thing, which made me want to write a movie about greed, so that’s how it came about.”
The film boasts themes of greed and betrayal, all set against the backdrop of a rugged Tucson landscape. The film will screen all weekend through Sept. 2 at Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18, but try to make it to one of tonight’s screenings—you’ll likely get a chance to meet the man behind the camera himself.
“I would love to chat with students if anyone has questions, or even provide some contacts if anyone is interested in developing their skills or coming out to Los Angeles,” Devenish said. “To me, if I’m not sharing what I got out of making this film, then it doesn’t really do me any justice because I’ve had so much help and I’ve got to pass the torch somehow.”
Make sure to check out “Misfortune” this weekend or sometime next week. The first showing is today at 10:40 a.m.
With a smile on his face, Devenish said, “Go see the movie because, if nothing else, it’s at least nice to see a couple of the well-known or not-so-well-known landmarks in the Tucson area.”
RELATED: 6 must-see movies this fall
Follow Alec Kuehnle on Twitter