The PAUL DAVIDS film, STARRY NIGHT, was inspired by the extraordinary sales of van Gogh paintings in the last dozen years, beginning with the sale of one of van Gogh's Sunflowers paintings to a Japanese insurance company for $33 million. Davids knew that the real Vincent had sold only one painting in his lifetime, for a mere four hundred francs. Following the news about the extraordinary sums of money being paid for van Gogh's paintings, Davids could sense both the anguish and bliss that Vincent would have felt, were he able to return among us and learn of his extraordinary post-mortem success. The screenplay of STARRY NIGHT was the result. Davids decided he wanted to direct his screenplay, so he and his wife, HOLLACE DAVIDS (Vice-president of Special Projects of Universal Pictures) produced the independent feature film through their Yellow Hat Productions, Inc., in co-production with Digital Facilities of Edinburgh and Felicity Films of the UK. The American - British partnership resulted in a creative approach to producing the film out of both Los Angeles and the United Kingdom, with filming taking place in Los Angeles and France, while much of the pre-production and post-production, as well as certain effects sequences involving van Gogh's paintings were handled out of Edinburgh and London. THE CAST The first challenge of the production was casting Vincent van Gogh. The answer came when Davids met the exceptionally-talented ABBOTT ALEXANDER, who not only looks almost like a double of Vincent van Gogh (their faces have an uncanny resemblance), but is also an accomplished theater actor/writer, performing as a regular at Theater West in Hollywood. In the Tennessee Williams play, KINGDOM OF EARTH, Alexander was nominated as Best Actor by the Los Angeles Critic Awards. The one-man show he wrote and in which he starred, SONATA FOR RIMBAUD, received an L.A. Weekly Award and a Drama-Logue Award and went to the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. The play he wrote and in which he starred, THE ROUTINE, (directed by his father, actor PHILIP ABBOTT, who plays Dr. Ruby the hypnotist in STARRY NIGHT) also received Drama-Logue Awards. Alexander co-starred in the film, CRAWLSPACE, with Klaus Kinski, and was featured in THE KARATE KID, as well as having performed in several TV dramas. Abbott Alexander had always dreamed of playing Vincent and proved himself to be equal to the task when Davids offered him the opportunity. For the female lead, Kathy Madison, the art student with whom Vincent falls in love, Davids sought a superb and very emotional actress, LISA WALTZ, who had performed in Davids’ Golden Globe nominated telefilm, ROSWELL as an army nurse. Davids was delighted when Waltz accepted the role, knowing that she could express the dilemma of a woman from our time who falls in love with one of the world’s greatest artists who has returned long after his life ended. Waltz brings to the role of Kathy the full range of emotion it demands. Waltz starred as Nora in the Neil Simon play BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS on Broadway and then reprised her role in the Universal Pictures' film. She appeared in the film THE ODD COUPLE 2 as Jack Lemmon’s daughter, and was also in BOUND BY HONOR, PET SEMETARY 2 and RECKLESS. Her TV roles include THE X-FILES, MELROSE PLACE, FRASIER, DARK SKIES and the female leading role in the FOX TV series, ASK HARRIET. For the role of Detective Murphy, Davids changed course from his conception in the screenplay. Originally, the detective had been written as a male, but when Oscar nominee SALLY KIRKLAND expressed interest in STARRY NIGHT, he rewrote the part for her. It introduced another twist in the material for Vincent's greatest supporter (Kathy) and his nemesis both to be women. Kirkland had a longstanding interest in van Gogh and once produced a play entitled Mad Vincent. She saw the role as an opportunity to portray a quirky, closed-minded skeptic. The real Sally Kirkland is quite the opposite; she is open-minded to all sorts of spiritual possibilities in life. Sally Kirkland is a veteran artist affiliated with the Actors Studio and The Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. With a career spanning almost four decades and over five dozen motion pictures, Kirkland hit paydirt with her title role in the 1987 drama, Anna. For her performance, cited by the Los Angeles Times as one of the five best by a woman in the 1980s, Kirkland was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar and walked off with acting honors including the Los Angeles Film Critics Award, a Golden Globe Award and the Independent Spirit Award, as well as an award from Women in Film. The stage-screen-television star, daughter of Life magazine's a fashion editor and publishing work pioneer Sally Kirkland Sr., was born in New York City. She studied her craft with both Strasberg and the legendary Uta Hagen and made her Broadway debut at age eighteen in Step on a Crack at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. She continued working in New York as a leading actress with the renowned La Mama experimental troupe throughout the 60's performing under Tom O'Horgan's direction in a dozen plays for the group, including Tom Paine and Futz. Kirkland's stage appearances, numbering over eighty, culminated with a Dramalogue Award in 1981 as Best Actress in the Los Angeles staging of David Rabe's In the Boom Boom Room. Other notable theatre credits include her critically-acclaimed role in Alan Aykborn's Woman in Mind, Vaclev Havels Obie Award-winning play Largo Desaloto (which she repeated on PBS), Terence McNally's Sweet Eros and such off-Broadway presentations as Miranda in The Tempest, Helena in A Midsummer's Night Dream and Nedda Lemon in Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone, also by McNally. Of Kirkland's 45 starring roles on television, audiences are familiar with her work as the recurring character of David's mother on the popular ABC series, Roseanne. In addition, she was Roseanne’s best friend Sandy in the CBS telefilm The Woman Who Loved Elvis. Other TV credits include Double Jeopardy (CBS/Showtime), NBC's miniseries Captain & the Kings, TNT's CableACE Award-winning drama Heat Wave, Peter Bogdanovich's CableACE-nominated drama, Song of Songs and The Haunted: A True Story, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination. She portrayed Broadway star Helen Lawson in 65 episodes of Jacqueline Susanne's Valley of the Dolls, and most recently starred with Leonard Nimoy and Peter Gallagher in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World for NBC. Kirkland's film career began in 1964 with Andy Warhol's 13 MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN. In 1968, she saw her first three marquee starring roles in the films: COMING APART, opposite Rip Torn; BRAND X, with Abby Hoffman and Sam Shepard; and FUTZ (re-creating her role from the off-Broadway play). That same year, she also appeared in Paramount’s BLUE and FADE IN. Other motion picture credits include THE WAY WE WERE, CINDERELLA LIBERTY, THE STING, BIG BAD MAMA, BREAKHEART PASS, BITE THE BULLET, A STAR IS BORN, PRIVATE BENJAMIN, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN, PAINT IT BLACK” BEST OF THE BEST, SUPERSTAR: THE LIFE & TIMES OF ANDY WARHOL, THE PLAYER, COLD FEET, HIT THE DUTCHMAN, HIGH STAKES, TWO EVIL EYES, EXCESS BAGGAGE and the coveted role of Rose Cheramie in Oliver Stone's acclaimed film JFK. Awaiting re-release is her starring role as Marilyn Monroe (with Michael Murphy as JFK) in the independent contemporary fable NORMA JEAN, JACK & ME. Kirkland was most recently seen in Ron Howard’s EDTV opposite Matthew McConaughey and Jenna Elfman. In addition to starring, Kirkland also executive produced the feature film CHEATIN HEARTS, and associate produced FOREVER and FLEXING WITH MONTY. She associate produced and starred in AMNESIA, which is currently running on Showtime. Also for Showtime, she starred and associate produced the Magic Motel episode of their anthology series, Women: Stories of Passion, and directed the Lover From Another Planet episode, which will air later this year. A lifetime member of the Actor’s Studio, Kirkland is one of the industry's most respected acting coaches. She has taught thousands of students working with The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Insight Transformational Seminars, The Sally Kirkland Acting Workshop Worldwide, and through private coaching. She has also taught yoga at the Integral Yoga Institute, and continues to teach privately. In STARRY NIGHT, the role of Gabe Burton (LOU WAGNER) provided an opportunity for laughter. Gabe, the money-obsessed attorney, will do anything to make a deal that could lead to riches. Ironically, Gabe Burton becomes the close confidant and defender of Vincent van Gogh, all the while wondering who his client really is and whether he'll ever find out Vincent's real name. Finally, as with Kathy, he develops a faith that Vincent is telling the truth, and the three of them work together to attempt to prove it to a skeptical, debunking world. Abbott Alexander suggested Wagner for the role, when he learned that Davids was looking for someone who could be a combination of Mickey Rooney, Joe Pesci and J.T. Walsh. In Wagner, Davids found an ideal choice. The comic combination of short and spunky Gabe Burton alongside the serious and profound Vincent van Gogh is fulfilled by Wagner and Alexander performing side by side. Wagner was a series regular as the mechanic in the MGM TV series CHIPS for five years. His character roles in films range from a starring role as Lucius in PLANET OF THE APES and BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES and CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES to roles in AIRPORT, ZAPPED and SODBUSTERS. He has had regular guest appearances on TV shows such as STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE and STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION as well as L.A. LAW, HAPPY DAYS and COACH. Also bringing his talents to STARRY NIGHT is BRIAN DRILLINGER, who was brilliant as Stanley in Neil Simon's BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS, both on Broadway and in the Hollywood film. He plays District Attorney Brust, who is determined to convict the man who calls himself Vincent, of art theft and vandalism. (Vincent changes some of his original pictures, thus qualifying him as an art vandal.) Drillinger also starred in the film, I SHOT A MAN IN VEGAS, and has appeared in many TV dramas. He has appeared professionally in seventeen plays, including productions of Death of a Salesman and As You Like It. JOSEPH BENTI, the famous CBS newscaster of the late 1960's and early 1970's, whose coverage of the Robert Kennedy assassination in Los Angeles was widely considered the most outstanding coverage done on that case, lends his credibility and fabulous voice to STARRY NIGHT. In the film, he is the symbol of the Establishment, as he continually rejects Vincent's claims in his news reports and describes Vincent as a man who is broke, homeless and who has absolutely no talent for art. THE MUSIC In the early 1970's, a haunting song by DON MCLEAN took the world by storm. Entitled VINCENT, it quickly became known by its opening words, Starry Starry Night. It is a profound and emotional homage to artist Vincent van Gogh, who is now considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time, but who was misunderstood in his own time and who committed suicide at age 37 in despair. Don McLean's song tries to comprehend the heartlessness and indifference of society to such a great, sensitive man. Now I understand, sings Don McLean, what you tried to say to me, and how you suffered for your sanity. That song has become both the theme song of the film and the melody around which some of the musical score was constructed. Davids considered it essential to STARRY NIGHT to find the right composer, who could bring an original approach and interpretation. BRAD WARNAAR, the film’s inspired composer, has contributed original music to many major feature films, including the LETHAL WEAPON series, and he composed music for the PBS TV series LIGHTHOUSES. The film, STARRY NIGHT, marks his debut as the composer of an entire dramatic film score. Brad Warnaar traces his inspiration to Debussy. Warnaar's score for STARRY NIGHT is a work of lyrical and mystic fantasy -- exceptionally romantic and quite magical, calling to mind scores by some of the most gifted film composers such as Bernard Hermann and Miklos Rozsa. THE PRODUCTION STARRY NIGHT, from Yellow Hat Productions Inc., is an international co-production, with participation from Great Britain and India. The initial production approach was suggested by Co-Producer and Director of Photography, DAVID W. SMITH of Edinburgh. Smith entered the digital age at its inception and introduced digital production in Scotland with his company, Digital Facilities. Having photographed extensively both in 35mm and on digital videotape, David joined with Hammerhead, a British camera facility, to help design a way to program digital video cameras to create images that looked as much like film as possible. Smith was aware that George Lucas planned to shoot the future STAR WARS movies, beginning with Episode Two, entirely digitally, leaving film out of the process until the end when the films will be transformed to 35mm. He felt that the technology now existed to jump the gun on the techniques Lucas would be using. However, he advised that, rather than shooting in high definition, splendid results could be accomplished by shooting STARRY NIGHT in PAL digital Betacam in a wide-screen format. Extensive tests were made on the transform process at laboratories around the world. Not many labs could provide the refined look and subtle textures the team of Davids and Smith wanted, but it was established that it could be done, and far more economically than if they had originally shot the film on 35mm. Among other things, the technique enabled a very high shooting-ratio. About 100 digital videos of 32 minutes or 40 minutes in length were shot and eventually edited down to the feature, which is approximately 100 minutes in length, a shooting-ratio that would have satisfied even a director such as William Wyler. The technique also enabled working with a smaller crew, that could respond quickly in a guerrilla production style to seize opportunities for shooting, such as at the Rose Parade in Pasadena and with the Hell’s Angels at their Toys for Tots appearance. With these techniques, heavier than usual costs are born during post-production, but these are more than offset by the savings by avoiding shooting and processing large quantities of 35mm stock (and the costs of making a telecine video of dailies for inputting the material into a nonlinear editing system, such as an AVID). Smith’s expert studio lighting helped perfect the illusion that the film was initially shot on 35mm, along with a painstaking and time consuming transform process that uses computers to complete the image on every frame. The time duration of exposure amounts to approximately half a minute to one minute for every single frame of the feature film, during the transform. This was accomplished at Hokus Bogus, in Denmark. At a technical symposium at Cannes, 1999, attendees were shown brief clips of STARRY NIGHT to prove that the future has already arrived, and that it is not necessary to shoot a feature film on motion picture stock in order to achieve the appearance of a professionally lit studio-produced film, with all the color and texture subtleties of 35mm film. Seeing the sneak preview of selected clips brought resounding applause from those in attendance, who saw in STARRY NIGHT a quantum leap in what can be accomplished by transform technology for films, over what has been done before. The results are artifact-free and virtually indistinguishable from results obtained on far more expensive productions. In fact, at times in the film (such as the breathtaking scene on the misty beach during the climax), STARRY NIGHT appears to transcend what has been accomplished heretofore on film, aided by the new Kodak Vision film stock for the prints. During production, Paul and Hollace Davids were joined by Executive Producers ANIL URMIL (of India) and Felicity Newman, whose Felicity Films of the United Kingdom helped provide financial resources as well as invaluable creative and editorial input. The production began filming in Los Angeles at the Tournament of Roses Parade, where Vincent shows up, awed but confused by his surroundings. At the Rose Parade, he is run over by the Vincent van Gogh float when he carelessly wanders into the path of the parade. Shooting continued all over Los Angeles, from the streets of Hollywood to a beach north of Malibu (which doubled for a beach in the south of France), and even at the famous jail in Laguna Beach, where the Police Department cooperated in the staging of Vincent's incarceration in what is supposed to be a Los Angeles prison. A private school in Pasadena, the Polytechnic School, became the base of the production for about a week, as its grounds and auditorium lobby became everything from the exterior of a psychiatrist's office to an art gallery. Additional locations for exteriors included the grounds of the American Film Institute in Hollywood and the Los Angeles International Airport. A variety of private homes in Pasadena were used as the mansions housing various van Gogh paintings, as Vincent steals back a number of his paintings in order to donate them to raise proceeds for starving artists and the homeless. Universal Pictures enabled filming at its famous theme park for a number of other locations. The film's crew assembled before dawn on many a morning to be ready to roll at sunrise at the theme park, in order to wrap by the time the park opened for visitors. The park became the set for several flashbacks to Vincent's life in Europe between 1885 and 1890 -- a Netherlands village, where Vincent paints The Potato Eaters, as well as the French town of Arles where Vincent paints Café Terrace at Arles. The control room of the Back to the Future Ride at Universal became an FBI computer room where Detective Murphy tries unsuccessfully to identify Vincent. The Universal theme park also provided a café where Gabe and Kathy meet, as well as an observation post and overlook showcasing Studio City and nearby Burbank. Vincent’s suicide in 1890 and his funeral were staged in the hills of Tujunga, near Los Angeles. One of the most picturesque locations is the rooftop where Vincent lives. Davids selected a very unusual rooftop at Hollywood and Vine, with extraordinary billboards on the roof, a metal shack where Vincent sleeps and a clear view of the Hollywood sign. Filming continued in Paris and at Auvers-sur-Oise in France. Paris provided the ambiance of contemporary painters along the Seine, cafes, the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. At Auvers-sur-Oise, Davids and Smith filmed at Vincent van Gogh’s actual grave, and at a nearby church that Vincent painted. In Los Angeles, shooting was continued for the Joseph Benti scenes, and the scene in which Vincent meets up with the bikers, the motorcycle enthusiasts of Los Angeles who ride Harley Davidson bikes. By coincidence, the very day Davids scheduled filming Vincent with just a few bikers in a rural area turned out to be the huge annual Los Angeles event, Toy for Tots, when thousands of bikers on Harley Davidson cycles participate. Davids quickly changed plans to shoot a scene of Vincent there. Hollace Davids, wife of writer/director/producer Paul Davids, produced the film with him, arranging for everything from costumes and props to the lighting package, transportation, extras and key locations. Hollace Davids, who is Vice-President of Special Projects at Universal Pictures, previously co-authored six original STAR WARS novels with Paul Davids for Lucasfilm and Bantam Books. The novels have sold over a million copies and have been published in English, Japanese, Hebrew, French and several other languages. She was also Associate Producer of TIMOTHY LEARY'S DEAD. Co-Producer RICHARD A. ROSEN assisted and advised on all aspects, taking a special interest in the editing and sound design processes, as well as in the music and in showcasing the contributions of Don McLean and Brad Warnaar. He also serves as attorney for Yellow Hat Productions Inc. Director of Photography and Co-Producer David W. Smith was instrumental to the visual interpretation. Originally from London, Smith met Davids at the American Film Institute when they both attended the AFI Center for Advanced Film Studies. They were both chosen by George Stevens, Jr., then head of the AFI, to attend alongside other cinema talents such as David Lynch, Tom Rickman, Jeremy Paul Kagan, Caleb Deschanel, Terrence Malick and Matthew Robbins. David Smith was the cameraman on Davids' AFI student film, EXAMINATION, and later went on to set up Digital Facilities in Scotland, as well as serving as Director of Photography on numerous international documentaries, and for several British television series. Some post-production was done at David Smith's Digital Facilities, with another British firm in which Smith has an interest, Hammerhead, providing the camera equipment. Line Producer KENT MYER supervised the day-to-day production responsibilities both on the set and behind the scenes. Myer, who has developed a very specialized expertise in production managing and line producing for modestly budgeted films that use guerrilla film shooting techniques, was an invaluable asset, insuring that all of the resources available for the film would be used to their best advantage. Production Designers EVA FRIED and ROBERT ROTSTAN, JR., helped in location selection and in creating the appearance of the sets, in order to facilitate David Smith’s cinematic approach and Paul Davids' vision. Editor EILEEN MULVEY, assisted by LISA REARDON and ADAM RECHT, came aboard after completion of principal photography. Mulvey, whose background at the American Film Institute included special recognition for her editorial contributions to many student films, has undertaken her first feature film editorial assignment with STARRY NIGHT. She gave her complete devotion to the film for months, tackling the enormous process of whittling and shaping the massive amount of material that had been shot on about 100 digi-beta tapes. Mulvey, who instinctively understood how to instill the editorial style of this tender love story with both elegance and grace, was assisted in post-production by suggestions from some of Hollywood's most accomplished feature film editors, including Donn Cambern and Howard Smith. Executive Producer Anil Urmil, who has taught editors at the Editor's Guild how to adapt to non-linear editing technology using AVIDs and other systems, also contributed additional editing. Urmil’s editorial vision, which extended the incorporation of many of Vincent's paintings into the film as a storytelling device, as well as contributing to structure and details of performance, helped complete the film. One of the most unusual challenges of the production was the need to re-create so many van Gogh paintings that could pass on screen for the originals. JIM BARRY makes his debut as feature film Art Director. Barry, who is an art teacher at the Polytechnic School in Pasadena and an accomplished artist, came up with an original technique for re-creating van Gogh paintings that would seem to match the originals even in the thick brush strokes. It was Jim Barry who created the canvas of Starry Night used in the film, as well as Wheatfield with Crows, The Potato Eaters and the painting referred to as Head of Boy, which is actually van Gogh’s painting Portrait of Camille Roulin. Artists from Amsterdam worked on creating other van Gogh originals, including Portrait of Dr. Gachet, Café Terrace at Arles, and Self-Portrait at Auvers. The latter painting undergoes a change in the movie, as Vincent decides it needs a yellow hat to be finished. (Vincent's love of yellow hats became the inspiration for the name of the production company of the film: Yellow Hat Productions Inc.) Actually, there is contradiction among the experts as to whether the self-portrait in question was painted at Arles or St. Remis or Auvers, but the production sided with van Gogh biographer Pierre Cabanne, who states that it was painted in the town where Vincent committed suicide "Auvers" in May and June of 1890. Van Gogh shot himself on July 27th, 1890, and died at 1:00 A.M. on July 29th. Others state that it was begun by Vincent at the asylum at St. Remis and that he brought it with him to Auvers to show Dr. Gachet, and that he may have completed it at Auvers. Yet another challenge was the creation of the pictures that Vincent would paint today in Los Angeles; his Hollywood Collection. What would Vincent have painted, if he had really been able to come back in our time, to Los Angeles? Barry decided that Vincent would not necessarily confine himself to his earlier style. The thick brush strokes for which he was famous would remain, but Vincent might allow himself new artistic approaches, just as Picasso moved from his Blue Period to Cubism. Davids felt that Vincent would be inspired by the unusual and unique people he would see around him toady, just as in his day, and so through the artistry of Jim Barry, Vincent paints Harley Davidson bikers. Yet another difficulty in production was how to handle the makeup effects for van Gogh’s self-mutilated ear, since the incident with the ear occurred in January 1889, during a visit from Paul Gauguin at Arles and the van Gogh of STARRY NIGHT returns with the mutilated ear. Makeup artist JULIETTE WHITE laboriously prepared Abbott Alexander’s ear each day before shooting, concealing the ear lobe, which Vincent had slashed, and giving the appearance of scar tissue. The only exceptions were the scenes of Vincent before his ear was slashed, which included the scene of his work on The Potato Eaters (painted in 1885) and Café Terrace at Arles (painted in 1888). The other question was: which ear did Vincent van Gogh mutilate? Determined to be historically accurate, Davids discovered that many viewers of van Gogh’s paintings that show his bandaged ear are misled to think it was the right ear. In the paintings, it certainly does appear to be the right ear. However, Ingo Walther and Rainer Metzger, in their book for Taschen Publishers, Van Gogh: The Complete Paintings, state that it was the left ear. In the famous biographical production about Vincent, LUST FOR LIFE, a letter is read, written by one of Vincent's physicians, Dr. Felix Rey, indicating it was the left ear. Davids found the explanation at the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. It was in fact the left ear, but it appears to be the right ear in Vincent's paintings, because he painted his self-portraits by staring at his image in a mirror, which reversed his image left-to-right. Also key to the production of STARRY NIGHT were the contributions of sound designer FERENC LUKACS, whose initial training in sound technology came during his days in Hungary, before he immigrated to the U.S.. Lukacs has worked extensively on sound design both at Woodholly Productions in Hollywood and as Director of Sound Engineering at Fresh Produce in Culver City, Los Angeles. Appreciating the budgetary constraints of the film, Lukacs meticulously handled each aspect of transforming production sound into a finished sound track. That included extensive work on ADR and foley effects, as well as sound mixing in a style that would give emphasis to Brad Warnaar’s remarkable, sensitive musical score. ABOUT THE WRITER/DIRECTOR If there is one common theme of Paul Davids four films, it is that they all seem to concern martyrs, or men who were misunderstood in their own time or who suffered for their art or their beliefs. His first film as screenwriter was SHE DANCES ALONE, (directed by Robert Dornhelm) about Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky and Nijinsky's relationship with his daughter, Kyra. Nijinsky, for some time revered as the greatest ballet dancer in the world, eventually succumbed to schizophrenia and spent many years confined to a mental institution. He, like van Gogh, was truly one of history’s emotionally and mentally scarred artists. The film SHE DANCES ALONE starred Bud Cort (Harold of Harold and Maude) and Max von Sydow. ROSWELL, a film which Davids co-wrote and on which he served as executive producer for Viacom, starred Kyle MacLachlan, Martin Sheen and Dwight Yoakam. It was nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press for a Golden Globe Award as Best TV Motion Picture of 1994. ROSWELL was the story of Major Jesse Marcel, a military man who stood alone in charging a coverup of a flying saucer crash in New Mexico in 1947, a man who had the courage of his convictions, in spite of being ostracized and ridiculed for what he stated, about thirty years after the fact, actually happened at Roswell. Davids' third film, TIMOTHY LEARY'S DEAD, was a feature documentary biography of the Harvard Professor who introduced psychedelic or “mind manifesting' drugs in the 1960's, and who was called by President Nixon The Most Dangerous Man Alive. Davids directed the documentary and produced and wrote it with Todd Easton Mills. Hollace Davids was associate producer. Now, in STARRY NIGHT, which is Davids' first effort as a feature film director of a dramatic film, Davids has taken on the challenge of Vincent van Gogh, not by presenting mere biography, but by creating an extension of Vincent's life into the present, in order to dramatize some timeless truths about who determines what constitutes great art, greed and insensitivity in society. Paul Davids, who is himself a painter, has always loved the works of van Gogh above that of all other artists. “My mother had van Gogh prints hanging in our home when I was just a small child of four or five, Davids explains. I remember especially his painting of the gypsy wagon from when I was a young child. I would sit and stare at it for what seemed like hours. We used that in the film in one of the Joseph Benti news report scenes. I was raised with a great respect for the Impressionists and was taught how they had independence of spirit and courage to go against the established traditions, even though it resulted in many of them being ignored or dismissed during their lifetimes. That, in turn, taught me courage in learning not to fear rejection of my own artistic efforts. If I could meet any artist who is no longer with us, Davids continues, I would surely choose to meet Vincent, in spite of the ailments that led to his asocial behavior, his seclusion and being committed to asylums. Japanese master director Akira Kurosawa had that dream, too, and included it in his film of short stories, AKIRA KUROSAWA'S DREAMS. In it, Vincent wandered through his own paintings. My dream was different, Davids continues. I wanted Vincent to come back and be with us today, in the madness and rampant greed of our contemporary society. I wanted him to have the chance to enjoy his great success. But in my dream, I realized that our world today might treat Vincent with the same callousness and indifference as the people of Vincent's day treated him, and they would probably refuse to believe who he was. In that case, the armies of attorneys of the art collectors of the world would probably take every step possible to try to avoid paying him a dime. “I would like to believe that the spirit of Vincent was there with us and helped us as we made this film, Davids explains. The proof seemed everywhere around us from the rainbows that appeared directly overhead as we filmed, to incredible coincidences (Carl Jung called it the phenomenon of synchronicity) in which specific details concerning Vincent seemed to pop up all around us all the time, as we worked. I have lived on Holland Avenue for two decades (Vincent is a Dutch painter) with Abbott Lane right behind my house (as in Abbott Alexander). And imagine Lisa Waltz' surprise the day she went to visit family in Pennsylvania, and she drove following a man who was walking to his car, hoping to get his parking place. The man was wearing a yellow hat and a black coat like those Vincent wore in our movie, and at that instant, another man rushed over to her holding a stack of art prints and asked her if she wanted to buy a print of van Gogh's Starry Night. Similarly, Abbott Alexander was astonished the day we went to film the exterior of the crypt. You could only read the name on one grave marker as you looked through the barred door into the crypt itself, and that name was Robert Laurence, the same name as Abbott's uncle who had given him the yellow hat to wear in our film. Nearly fifty other synchronicities like those seemed to follow our path with every step of our filmmaking journey, and we have marveled over this, asking ourselves, What does it mean?

CREDITS Yellow Hat Productions presents STARRY NIGHT, written and directed by Paul Davids (ROSWELL, TIMOTHY LEARY'S DEAD, SHE DANCES ALONE), produced by Paul Davids and Hollace Davids (TIMOTHY LEARY'S DEAD) and starring Abbott Alexander (CRAWL SPACE, THE KARATE KID), Lisa Waltz (BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS, THE ODD COUPLE 2), Sally Kirkland (ANNA, EDTV, JFK), Lou Wagner (C.H.I.P.S.), and Brian Drillinger (BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS). The music score is by Brad Warnaar, featuring the song Vincent' (Starry Starry Night) by Don McLean. Eileen Mulvey served as Editor, with David W. Smith as Director of Photography. Production Designers are Eva Fried and Robert Rotstan, Jr., with Art Direction by Jim Barry and Sound Design by Ferenc Lukacs. Associate Producer is Sally Kirkland, with David W. Smith and Richard A. Rosen the Co-Producers and Kent Myer as Line Producer. Anil Urmil and Felicity Newman are Executive Producers. STARRY NIGHT is a coproduction of Yellow Hat Productions (US) and Digital Facilities (Edinburgh) and Felicity Films of the UK. It was filmed in Los Angeles and France (Paris and Auvers-sur-Oise) with pre-production and post-production in Edinburgh.

Paul Davids with wife (Hollace) and son (Scott) at the reconstructed military base for the movie "Roswell".
Paul Davids played a military officer at the alien autopsy in his film "Roswell".