STARRY NIGHT - SHORT SYNOPSIS
When Vincent van Gogh committed suicide in despair in 1890, he was considered a failure - only one of his nine hundred paintings had been sold during his lifetime. Within the last decade, four of his paintings were sold for between $33 and $79 million dollars. STARRY NIGHT, a modern fable, begins in 1885, as Vincent is painting his masterpiece, The Potato Eaters, in Holland. A peasant woman, while posing for him, offers him a potion with the power to call him back after his death for 100 days to set right the pain he suffered in his former life. This romantic fantasy film explores what Vincent would do if he were given 100 days to come back to life in today's world. A century is a long time to wait for your dreams to come true, but for Vincent, with the help of a cunning lawyer and the love of an understanding woman, he has a second chance.
"I should like to do portraits which will appear as revelations to people in a hundred years time."
Vincent van Gogh 1890 in a letter to his sister Wil
When Vincent van Gogh committed suicide in despair in 1890, he was considered a failure – only one of his more than 900 paintings sold during his lifetime. If Vincent van Gogh could return to life, he would quickly discover that over the last century his genius has been recognized and now his art has become a cornerstone of the international economy, like gold, diamonds or Blue Chip stocks. Four of his paintings in the last decade sold for between $33 and $82.5 million.
The romantic fantasy film, STARRY NIGHT explores what Vincent would do if he had 100 days today to set his affairs in order, fall in love, paint a new series of paintings and use the money from his art to create a fund for artists so they wouldn’t have to experience his torment. STARRY NIGHT begins in 1885, as Vincent (ABBOTT ALEXANDER) is painting his masterpiece, The Potato Eaters, in Holland. A peasant woman offers Vincent a brew to drink, a potato potion with strange powers. She tells him not to despair because he is misunderstood and vilified by the critics, that his time hasn't come yet but eventually he will become the greatest painter of flowers the world has ever known. She predicts that a century after his death the flowers will call him back among the living and then he will have an opportunity for his dreams to come true. In this enchanting fable, the peasant woman’s prophecy comes true.
Vincent appears at the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena at the flower-filled festival honoring van Gogh. Disoriented by his new surroundings, Vincent walks into the path of a float and ends up in the hospital. Sharing a hospital room with Vincent is an ambulance-chasing attorney, Gabe Burton (LOU WAGNER), who offers to file a lawsuit for Vincent against the parade, smelling a big-time settlement and overlooking Vincent's deluded insistence that he’s the real van Gogh. Vincent steals away into the night from his hospital room, wanders aimlessly, and bravely prevents a mugger from attacking art student Kathy Madison (LISA WALTZ). Kathy soon falls under Vincent's romantic spell and comes to believe his strange story. Vincent sets up residence on the roof of Kathy's apartment building at Hollywood and Vine. He begins a new series of paintings, capturing quintessential Los Angeles scenes. In order to get paid for his older works that are now worth millions, Vincent steals back his paintings from wealthy collectors, and he asks Gabe Burton to set up a charity fund to help starving artists. A million dollar reward is put up for the capture of The Van Gogh bandit. Detective Brooke Murphy (SALLY KIRKLAND), the determined Los Angeles art detective, is driven to bring the thief to justice with the help of the District Attorney (BRIAN DRILLINGER). Their theory is that whoever is responsible is a cunning art terrorist on a mission to upset the international art market.
Kathy agonizes over her relationship with Vincent when she learns, to her shock, that Vincent is the van Gogh bandit. Vincent is finally arrested when he barges into an auction of his Portrait of Dr. Gachet, telling all that he’s been waiting 100 years to be paid. The painting has just fetched $150 million in a hot bidding war. The case of the State of California vs. Vincent van Gogh commences, with Gabe as Vincent’s defense attorney.
An effort to use hypnosis to find out who Vincent really is ends in disappointment for authorities, with all of his memories coming from events in the 1800's. Rather than conclude that Vincent is actually van Gogh, the hypnotist (PHILIP ABBOTT) advises that he is incurably insane. But the legal system is in for a surprise. Gabe sells Vincent's story rights to an influential publisher and uses the money to get Vincent out on bail. Kathy's Aunt, Gladys Madison, (LESLEY WOODS), who is an influential art dealer, agrees to an exhibition of Vincent's Hollywood Collection. Despite the critics' derision, which Vincent has long suffered, he is undeterred and begins providing convincing evidence that he is exactly who he claims to be. He departs for Arles, France, in search of some of his long lost paintings that were hidden in a crypt a century ago. When the paintings are found, he becomes an overnight celebrity. STARRY NIGHT is the poignant odyssey of Vincent's return today.
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.