“La-La Land” Worth The Buzz by Kevin M. Thomas

Matthew Ludwinski as Adam in "Going Down in La La Land"

Matthew Ludwinski as Adam in "Going Down in La La Land"

Casper Andreas’ latest film “Going Down in La-La Land” has certainly made the circuit. While Andreas hasn’t been to all of the film festivals, the movie has been screened throughout the world –  from San Francisco to  Los Angeles, from Tel Aviv to Toronto and from Connecticut to Honolulu – “La-La” has made the rounds and it isn’t over yet.

The film shows this Friday as part of New York’s NewFest and then next month it shows in Vancouver and San Diego. Is it worth the buzz? Everyone seems to shout out a big yes.
Aside from acclaim and ovations at various festival, the film has also received a lot of mainstream attention, including a review in the trade publication Variety.

Director Casper Andreas

Director Casper Andreas

This is great news for Andreas and it’s attention both he and the film deserve.

Andreas first came to my attention with the movie “Slutty Summer,” a better film than the title indicates. I’d never buy such a title but the DVD case had some good reviews on it and it was really inexpensive from a closing Blockbuster video store.

That wasn’t the original title Andreas admits. “During shooting we called it ‘Hot Summer’ as it was hard to ask restaurant owners to let us shoot a film called ‘Slutty Summer’ at their establishments. In retrospect I think perhaps I should have called it something like ‘Chelsea Waiters’, ” he says.”The sequel/spin-off to that film we called ‘A Four Letter Word.'”

Andreas also wowed me with his wit in his “Big Gay Musical”  movie which is a lighthearted musical-within-a-show that also has hot men prance around.  The film has a tad more depth than you’d expect from such a film – thanks to Andreas.

He also received a lot of acclaim for “Violet Tendencies,” which is currently streaming on Netflix and available soon on DVD. He more than makes up for the “Slutty” title with this film.

Which brings us to “Going Down in La-La Land,” a film with a bit more grit and substance than his other films and still has humor. “La La” is a frank look at what people will do for fame, as seen through the eyes of Adam, who moved to Hollywood to be a star and fights against the system who wants to use his good looks for porn and escort work.

“Though most my films are romantic comedies and quite light-hearted they always have some drama in them as well. ‘La-La Land’ is more of a dark comedy or a dramedy with lots of comedy and drama,” he says. As an actor, Andreas usually takes the sensitive, intelligent role and plays the sweet character everyone grows to love. He is the polar opposite in “La-La,” playing a drugged up photographer. “I absolutely loved playing Nick (the photographer). I’ve played conflicted or darker characters in the past, mostly on stage, and as an actor it’s a joy to dig into a character like that.,” he says.

In the filmmaking world, Andreas can be considered one on the cusp. He’s done a lot of quality work and has received a lot of attention. It doesn’t hurt that Out magazine has picked him as one of the 100 most influential and newsworthy GLBT people. Yet he still hasn’t crossed over to be a name we’d all should recognize. But “La-La” might just do the trick. It’s a quality film that deserves attention from the mainstream and not just among the GLBT community.

If in New York, get tickets to see it this week at www.newfest.org. “Going Down in La La Land plays Friday, July 22nd at 10:30 PM at the SVA 1. There’s also talk of a full run in New York and possibly San Francisco – so keep track of it on Facebook or on Andreas’ website.

To learn more about “La-La” and to order DVD copies of other Andreas films, go to www.embrem.com. And if you’re nice, Andreas will likely autograph any DVD you order.