Dim the Fluorescents: A Below-the-Radar Indie Film

Naomi Skwarna and Claire Armstrong in Dim the Fluorescents.

The winner of Slamdance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature, Dim The Fluorescents is a below-the-radar film that shows us the working relationship between an artist and a playwright.

Daniel Warth directs his first feature film from a screenplay he wrote with Miles Barstead.  The cast features Claire Armstrong, Naomi Skwarna, Andreana Callegarini-Gradzik, Brendan Hobin, Clare McConnell, and Todd Graham.

The film follows actress Audrey (Armstrong) and playwright Lillian (Skwarna).  They aren’t able to find the outlet that they want so they end up putting everything into demonstrations for seminars.  It’s not the best work but it pays.  They present on “Handling the Dissatisfied Customer” and “Workplace Safety.”  One such opportunity on Leadership in the Times of Change and Crisis puts them in front of 300 guests for nearly 7 minutes.  Because it’s a lot of money, they decide to cancel several gigs in order to prepare.

While one may think that these gigs would be easy, they aren’t.  There are large amount of rewrites and rehearshals involved in the process.  There’s the lighting and sound design that goes into play.  But with their friendship is tested with their biggest performance to date.

During the rewriting and rehearsal process, Audrey essentially breaks down and quits on them.  The film shows us what happens on Lillian’s end and with mere minutes before they are set to go on and Audrey still a no-show, the film shows what happened with Audrey from the time she ran out up until they are about to go on.

Interestingly, the character of Fiona was originally written for a male to play the role but they weren’t married to the character being a male so they switched the gender and decided to cast Andreana Callegarini-Gradzik in the role.  This decision ends up paying off in the long run as the actress delivers a strong supporting performance.  She’s young and is looking at a bright career ahead of her.

Clare McConnell, who plays June, comes by way of Second City Toronto.  While her role is minor at best, I’m interested in seeing more of what she can do in a larger role.  We’ll get to see more of her work later this year in Star Trek Discovery.

Dim the Fluorescents played in Chicago on Wednesday night as a part of the Slamdance Cinema Club series presented by Arclight.  Director/co-writer Daniel Warth, producer Josh Clavir, associate producer Vita Carlino, and art director Joële Walinga were on hand for a Q&A session.

A US distributor has not yet been announced yet for the Toronto-set film while Films We Like will distribute in Canada.  For more updates on distribution or to check out the movie in general, please visit the film’s official website.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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