Dinner the Movie

First-Time Filmmaker Strikes Nerve with Homage to Hitchcock

Watch the critically-acclaimed short film FREE at Vimeo


Cocoa Beach, FL -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/31/2013 --A 63-year-old Florida journalist turned screenwriter turned film director has enjoyed a major success with his first short film, which has earned unanimously excellent reviews and been accepted to two film festivals. It has also generated interest in Hollywood.

John Buchanan, an award-winning, veteran journalist whose work has appeared in more than 150 newspapers and magazines, found his inspiration at the intersection of his lifelong love of Alfred Hitchcock movies and the twisted adult short stories of the late British writer Roald Dahl, best known as author of the children's classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Dahl was once cited by Hitchcock as writer of the most disturbing story Hitchcock ever read.

"Dinner," written and directed by Buchanan and starring Orlando actors Dennis Marsico and Meredith Branham -- a classic Hitchcock blonde -- tells the troublingly amusing tale of an older male predator who uses the seemingly innocent lure of a dinner invitation to prey on vulnerable young women.

The 7-minute film, which had its world premiere at the London City Film Festival October 26, has received excellent reviews.

"'Dinner' is beautifully shot and manages to create more tension than the last few thrillers

that I’ve watched," wrote Henry Tucker in the UK's Blueprint Review. "It is a great little film

from a director and writer who clearly has more talent than much of Hollywood."

"'Dinner' pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock, and is filmed in the grand tradition of his dark humor and subtle nuances," said senior film critic Kathleen Amboy of SBCC Reviews, the film journal published by Santa Barbara City College, a sponsor of the prestigious Santa Barbara International Film Festival. "The film contains a nicely polished suspense in a neatly woven script, with tight editing, and a scintillating soundtrack, all within 7 minutes – not an easy feat, and quite impressive."

"Like all successful short films, the greatest aspect of 'Dinner' is in the payoff," noted Blair Hoyle at horror film site Cinema Slasher. "From the direction to the cinematography and everything in between, 'Dinner' is simply an enjoyable short film... Though it is far from in-your-face, the ending has a certain subtlety to it that is commendable. In an age of blood and gore, it was quite nice to see a conclusion without any blood or gore, in a short film that almost seemed destined to be filled with blood and gore."

The film, shot in August in Cocoa Beach, Florida and completed in September, is Buchanan's first.

He hired a top-notch professional crew that included cinematographer William Schweikert, sound mixer Tony Tartaglia, editor Joe Walker and 1st assistant director Fiona Pagot, a veteran of the Cannes Film Festival.

"I believe in that old saying, 'You only get one chance to make a good first impression,'" Buchanan says. "So I decided to hire people that could make me look good."

He invested $8,000 in cast and crew and shot the film in one day in mid-August.

As a screenwriter, Buchanan has sold two scripts to Hollywood and recently completed an

assignment to write the script for a U.S. remake of an iconic European film.

"I love movies and I have my entire life," he says. "Because technology has democratized the process of filmmaking, anyone with a good idea and enough ambition can go make a film now and get it seen. And that is very exciting. So I hope the fact I did it at the ripe old age of 63, after suffering a near fatal heart attack, is an inspiration to others. If I can do it, anybody can do it."

Buchanan suffered a massive heart attack on November 1, 2011, just weeks after selling a script to Hollywood. It was then he decided to pursue his lifelong dream of making films.

"Once I had a very bad heart attack, my entire attitude about life changed," he said. "There were very few things I still wanted to do that I hadn't already done. But making a film was one of them. So once I accepted the fact that my life would be shortened by what happened to me and that I had no way of knowing how much longer I would live, I decided to pursue my last remaining big dream and make a film."

"Dinner" will have its U.S. premiere at the 15 Minutes of Fame Film Festival in Cocoa Beach, Florida on November 9.

For more information on the making of the film, visit DinnerTheMovie.com.

The film can be viewed for free at https://vimeo.com/74917161.

For more information, contact John Buchanan at (321) 784-4881 or by e-mail at john@lightningboltfilms.com.