VINO VERITAS began standing on the first tee of a golf course just off US-23 in Tyrone Township, Michigan. Twice a year, I would meet a friend of mine there, halfway between our houses. Theoretically, we were there to golf, but what we were really there to do was talk. We all have various family members, friends, and acquaintances that we deal with in various ways. Some people know us reasonably well; while others only know the version of ourselves we create for them. If we’re very lucky, we find one or two people in our lives with whom we can actually be absolutely open and truthful.
It was just such a friend I was standing with when a man came strolling up to us and said, “Hey, I’m a single. Mind if I join you?” And my friend smiled and said, “No, you go on ahead of us. We’re going to be talking about things that you would find very disturbing.” Now, we had no idea what we would be talking about, but what my friend knew was that having a stranger with us would have completely changed what we talked about and the way we would talk about it.
Based on that brief incident, I began to obsess about the idea of a film in which people would speak openly and candidly to one another. Not merely personal secrets and revelations, but the kinds of thoughts and truths that bubble up from the mother crocodile inside all of us. For all of the trappings of civilization, we’re still animals driven by our most basic fears and desires, whether we admit to them or not. The result of my desire to write a script featuring characters facing the truth about themselves and one another was VINO VERITAS.
Soon after completing the screenplay, Sarah Knight and I met in New York and discussed the prospects of turning the screenplay into a film. It was immediately apparent that she’s bright and funny and very passionate about what she does. She gave me two of her films to watch and when I did, I knew I wanted to work with her on VINO VERITAS for the very simple reason that she’s an extremely talented filmmaker.
That is one of the best decisions I have ever made. The film is almost precisely as I pictured it when I wrote the screenplay–two couples convinced they know themselves and one another until layer after layer is peeled back to reveal who they really are. The cinematography, set design, sound, editing, and the performances of the actors all come together to create a dark, funny, and often searingly poignant film.
From the moment I wrote the words FADE IN: on page one, it has been my privilege to witness the film being created through the talent and dedication of everyone associated with this project. It’s been quite a ride. And if you haven’t seen the film yet, now it’s your turn. Just be sure to fasten yourself in. Things might get a little bumpy.
David MacGregor – Screenwriter
If there is a great, underserved audience for film these days, it is, quite simply, adults. While studios and independent filmmakers salaam in perpetual homage to the 14-24 demographic, there are quite literally millions of potential moviegoers scanning the offerings of theaters and other movie outlets in vain for that rarest of things—a movie with substance. A movie that makes you think. A movie that provides conversational fodder not only for that evening, but for breakfast the next morning. Vino Veritas is that kind of movie.
Watching this film, audiences who have moved beyond boy bands and acne medication will feel that they are seeing their own lives unfold onscreen, only in a manner they have never seen before. No punches are pulled and no taboos remain untouched as the film uncovers and holds up to the light the precious personal secrets and cultural delusions that we cling to so doggedly in the hope that we can pass for a well-adjusted spouse, parent, and citizen.
This film is a kind of communion for people with partners who still baffle them, whose children aren’t quite turning out the way they imagined, and who have begun to realize that their most basic reptilian instincts aren’t that far below the surface. No helicopters explode in Vino Veritas and no zombies appear. It’s far more real, far more primal than that, and it’s a film that will resonate with adults in a way that few movies do thanks to the simple fact that they will be able to identify with the characters and the lives of quiet desperation that the characters are leading. Having screened a rough cut of the film for a few people (both acquaintances and strangers), I can vouch for the fact that it inspires long e-mails and a general reaction of, “So-and-so has to see this movie!”
I wanted to direct a film that would touch, move and amuse people in ways that are lost among cinematic orgies of superheroes and CGI effects. This is a human film, about humans and for humans. It reveals not only the characters and their world, but ideally, reveals the audience to itself. The Latin expression “in vino veritas” simply translates to “there is truth in wine.” There is truth in this film. It is real and, I sincerely hope, worth watching.
Sarah Knight – Director