Sunday, June 25, 2017 This Week's Paper

Foreign film shows American ‘roots’

“Go with Le Flo” is among the foreign films showing at this year's Tacoma Film Festival, with a screening scheduled for 8:15 p.m. on Oct. 4 at Tacoma's Grand Cinema, 606 S. Fawcett Ave. Though filmed in Berlin, with dialogue in German and French, the romantic comedy has distinctly American roots.

“Go with Le Flo” is produced by Robyn Rosenkrantz and directed by Michael Glover, best known for their work as folk duo turned film production company, Bright Blue Gorilla. They met while gigging around Hollywood's Sunset Strip, formed a musical partnership and, in 1990, took a gamble that would start them on the path toward making foreign language film.

“We decided to quit our jobs, sell everything we have and buy plane tickets to Europe,” Rosenkrantz recalled. “We had backpacks and our guitars and were going all over the place, and our goal was to travel and play music. Twenty-five years later, we're still goin'. It's been a miracle.”

The transition to film was gradual, however. Glover moonlighted as a playwright, winning several awards for his work. After returning to Los Angeles, he landed a gig on the crew of MTV's hit reality series, “The Osbournes,” where he learned editing. Then, the final, serendipitous event that inspired their jump to independent film was landing a couple of gigs in “The Last Shot,” a 2004 comedy starring Matthew Broderick and Alec Baldwin.

They started as extras, but parlayed their musical talents into bigger roles after learning the producers needed a band to play Broderick's friends.

“That was just one of those miracle Hollywood stories,” Rosenkrantz said. “We auditioned. Then, that night, they called us and said we want you to be principals in the movie. Here's your trailer. It was such a fun gig, and we got to write songs for it.”

Their experience was so positive and they knew enough actors they could call on to consider trying their own hand at filmmaking. So they spent their “Last Shot” earnings on their first camera.

“We decided instead of going to film school and spending all this money, let's just learn by doing, just dive in,” Rosenkrantz. “You make a lot of mistakes that way, but hopefully each movie just gets better. And that's just what's happened. This is our fifth feature.”

Tacoma will be among the first cities to see “Go with Le Flo,” which stars French actor Denis Aubert as Florian, a delicatessen worker who falls head over heels for beautiful florist Camille (Leslie Deubreuil) who, much to his chagrin, is already engaged to a famous movie star. But as Florian struggles to win her over, his best friend Jenny (Marina Senckel) must deal with her own feelings for him.

“I wrote this one for Americans, for an American audience,” Glover said. “But I thought it would be fun to have a foreign film. We wrote the script in English, and it's basically an American style romantic comedy that's set in Germany. So it's got this funny mix.”

The duo called from New York, where they had begun filming for their next project, “a music-driven fantasy that is set in the fashion world. The plan is to continue filming next year in Italy and Germany.

“The world is getting smaller,” Rosenkrantz said. “On this project it's really neat. It happened to be a really international project because we have people from 20 different countries, I think, and we had 200 people involved. It's really an international labor of love without even trying.”