A small-time Texas marijuana dealer gets in over his head when a $1 million worth of hashish his boss has given him goes missing in the family drama, Dance with the One.
The Texas State premiere of Dance with the One was sponsored by the Texas Independent Film Network, an Austin-based statewide coalition of film societies, universities and independent theaters. The network screens a different Texas independent film each month of the promotional tour.
“If you’re at UT this sort of thing is around you all over the place, but it’s places like Waco, College Station and San Marcos you’re going to have to drive somewhere to go see it,” said Tom Copeland, department of theatre and dance lecturer.
Mike Dolan, Dance with the One director, was in attendance at the Texas State premiere. Dolan, a graduate of the University of Texas’ Michener Center for Writers, was chosen to direct the film through his previous work with the University of Texas Film Institute, a non-profit educational film institute.
Dance with the One is the first film produced by the institue. The film premiered at 2010 SXSW.
Dolan said he thought the script for Dance with the One was “great.” He said the film’s plot revolves around the aftermath of two brothers and their father after the death of the family matriarch.
“They’re sort of in desperation mode,” Dolan said of the family. “It really comes to a head and the boys are able to get out.”
Jon Marc Smith, senior English lecturer and co-screenwriter, said the idea for the film came from a novel he wrote in 2002 as a graduate student in creative writing.
Smith began a screenwriting partnership with Smith Henderson, Dance with the One co-screenwriter, in 2007.
Smith said the screenplay for Dance with the One is “radically” different from his novel. However, he said the “germ” of the screenplay derives from the novel’s story.
Smith said Henderson submitted the original draft of the screenplay to the UT Austin Michener Center for Writers. The draft landed Henderson a spot in the institute’s screenwriting class.
The UTFI screenwriting class led to the Dance with the One screenplay being chosen for production by the film institute, he said.
Smith said Dolan was chosen to direct by a panel of the film’s producers because he had the best pitch and vision for the film.
“He saw it as this kind of beating heart of a family drama at the epicenter of it,” Smith said.
Dolan said he thinks the characters in Dance with the One are “really strong and interesting.” He said he did not judge the characters because he’s “been around too much life.”
He said people who have watched the film told him they think the characters are “horrible people.”
Dolan said the Dance with the One casting process was difficult, except for the film’s lead actor, Austinite Gabriel Luna. He said Luna, who plays Nate Hitchins, is a “phenomenal” actor.
Dolan said he “found” Mike Davis, who plays Nate’s brother Sitter, skateboarding in his East Austin neighborhood.
Smith said he was “extremely pleased” and “shocked” when he first watched the film.
“You write the movie and then you give it to these other people and they make it come alive,” Smith said. “They’re not filming your words; they have to film sort of their dream of your words.”