Last Supper, Going to America: Takes Hilarity to New Heights

This was the official website promoting the independent film Last Supper renamed Going to America. The content below is from the site's archived pages and other sources. The domain's registration expired and the site disappeared from the web. Recently I discovered that the domain for lastsuppermovie.com was available, so I bought it with the goal of recreating some of its content. The movie should remain visible on the web and movie goer's' radar. I definitely didn't want someone else purchasing the domain and re-purposing it for something that had nothing in common with the original film.

WHile I was rebuilding this site, my dear cat knocked a full glass of red wine onto my heirloom oriental rug. I watched the glass slowly tip over and I seemed to feel as if everything went into slowmo as the cat sailed over the table, I stretched out my arms to attempt catching the glass, the wine spilling out, falling down and splashing onto the carpet. Then everything snapped back into reality. I ran to the bathroom and grabbed the nearest towel, but the damage was done. I think went into fast mode, googled oriental rug cleaning NYC area. And lo, the Agara company showed up in the search. I called and a representative arrived in the afternoon. Her surveyed the stain, examined the carpet, and told me not to worry. In addition to removing the stain, and cleaning the carpet, his craftsmen repaired some worn areas and the fringe. What a beautiful job, I couldn't believe my eyes. Fortunately I had a happy ending to my little cat/red wine/carpet drama. And, as you can see, I did finished this site.

Based on Vojko Anzeljc's 2001 film Last Supper, Going to America takes hilarity to new heights as two escaped lunatics cause chaos in downtown Los Angeles. Andy and Fumnanya create even more chaos when they pursue a beautiful prostitute and record everything for Youtube. Going to America stars Eddie Griffin (Undercover Brother), Josh Meyers ("Mad TV"), Mindy Robinson (King of the Nerds), Najarra Townsend (Contracted) and ex-con turned actor Dave Vescio (Hick). All of the actors are set to debut in Param Gill's version of the film, with Going to America set to show in over twenty cities, this June. Anzeljc's earlier film put a video camera in the hands of two lunatics. In Gill's version, the two escapees have their own camera and an overzealous desire for romance. But, they choose the wrong woman. Candy is a burned-out prostitute. And, Fumnanya, through delusion, sees her as something else, a princess. Misconceptions lead to comedy as the two friends find themselves involved in a dangerous, but funny situation. Candy's pimp does not like their attention and Youtube viewers wonder if the whole spectacle is just an elaborate joke. One part Coming to America (1988), starring Eddie Murphy and one part over-the-top comedy, Going to America is sure to entertain wide audiences.

Rating: NR

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Directed By: Param Gill

Written By: Param Gill, John Buchanan

In Theaters: Aug 15, 2014 wide

Runtime: 90 minutes

Going to America - 2015 Official Theatrical Trailer

 

Interview

The “Last Supper” Is Only the Beginning for Director Param Gill

By JanaRitter Posted September 18, 2014  |  Los Angeles, California

Param Gill has just accomplished what most independent filmmakers dream of and rarely achieve in their entire career, never mind in one film. But Gill obviously has some skill because his recent debut of “Last Supper,” basically cleaned up at the 22nd San Francisco Global Movie Fest. The funny, feeling fairytale starring Eddie Griffin (Undercover Brother) and Josh Meyers (Bruno and Mad TV) not only earned the “Best Director” award, it was also awarded ”Best of Fest”, ”Best Actor” for Eddie Griffin, “Best Actress” for newcomer Najarra Townsend and “Best Editor” for Ludmil Kazakov.

But for Param, the biggest reward of all was the experience of screening his film to a sold out theatre of 1000 viewers and getting the ultimate kudos of a standing ovation at the end. His dramedy about two romantic lunatics who escape a mental institution and go viral on YouTube as they set out to make a movie about their romantic quest to find a princess but end up with a suicidal prostitute instead – is certainly proving to have all the elements of a must see, crowd pleasing film. But Param explains that there is whole lot more to filmmaking than just an “overnight success story” and his path of trials and tribulations is even more unique than most.

 

You came to the US as a med student from India and somewhere along the way you become a filmmaker. Tell us about that?

When I came to the US, I was basically penniless and I worked the night shifts at gas stations until I completed a masters from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ. By 2004, I set up a dental practice in Northern California and as everyone knows that going to the dentist is a stressful experience, I started telling stories to my patients to distract them. Soon, I became known as “The Story Dentist” and I actually became proud of that title.

 

So how did you go from the “storytelling dentist” to award winning film director?

One day I was telling a patient one of my stories and he told me that it would make a great film and really help Iraq veterans returning from war. I didn’t know anything about filmmaking at that time, but I became so inspired to learn that I took a leave from my practice in order to complete a diploma course at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. There I made my first short film, “Shell Shocked Hope" which is about an Iraq veteran returning home with PTSD and how it affects the family around him.

While other new filmmakers submit to festivals, I arranged my first screening at the State Theater in Modesto for all my patients. I got a thunderous response and had to repeat the 12 min movie twice. That was the light bulb moment for me. Somehow it verified that yes, I can tell a story and I was hooked to the big screen for good.

 

But your film career didn’t just happen from there. You still had to experience the same hard knocks like most people in the industry…

Oh yes, looking back now I’ll be the first to admit that the first few films that came out of me after that were just plain garbage. I remember coming out of one of my early screenings and overhearing someone from the audience make a comment that my film was basically “a piece of __”. I laugh about it now, but at the time hearing things like that can be a huge blow. You really have to learn to have a thick skin as an artist and keep believing in yourself and keep learning.

 

What have you learned since making those earlier films and how would you compare them to “Last Supper”?

Well two of my films, “Rockin' Meera” and “Hotel Hollywood” did have enough entertainment value for the audience to keep me going on this path. But they did not reflect the kind of things I value and aspire to, in my films now. When I was starting out as a newbie filmmaker, I was trying to be politically and financially correct, looking to recover the investment and have enough for my next project.

But somewhere the filmmaking process starts to convert you. You realize that it’s not about making a “good” film or about making a film that gets you to your next film. It’s truly an exercise in connecting with yourself, here and now. It’s only when you’re fully able to make that connection with yourself that the audience will fully connect with your film.

 

Tell us about your next film, “The Last American Taboo”.

When I was filming “Last Supper”, I really became aware of the importance of human connection. So for my next film, I wanted to keep exploring that but in a completely different way. “The Last American Taboo” is another mindless comedy that I love to do, but it’s also a hard look at our quest for true happiness. Basically it’s about a desperately inadequate man who sells his soul to the Devil for "male enhancement," and discovers that his new stature is more of a curse than a blessing and he must confront God to find true happiness.

 

Do you have any words of wisdom for other aspiring filmmakers?

I’d say forget all those success stories about first time filmmakers hitting gold, because it’s completely unreal for most of us. REAL filmmakers must evolve like REAL people and it takes time. True filmmaking also requires a total commitment from your heart and your soul. I can’t explain what it is, but I know that I live and breathe film, and when I’m done one movie, I can’t wait to make another.

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EVENTS

Accolade Competition 2015

Won
Award of Merit

Best Film
Param Gill 


 

American Movie Awards 2015

Won
Narrative Feature

Official Finalist
Param Gill 


 

Horror Society Awards 2016

Won
Horror Society Award

Best Short Film
Param Gill 


 

International Independent Film Awards 2015

Won
Best Director

Param Gill 


 

Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival 2014

Won
LAIUFF Award

Best Narrative Feature
Param Gill (director) 

Winter 2014

Best Director
Param Gill (director) 

Winter 2014

Best Actor
Eddie Griffin 

Winter 2014

Best Actress
Najarra Townsend 

Winter 2014


 

Oregon International Film Awards, US 2014

Won
Platinum Award

First-Time Director
Param Gill (director) 
Young N Free Films (production company) 


 

San Francisco Global Movie Festival 2014

Won
Critics Award

Best Actress
Najarra Townsend 

Best Actor
Eddie Griffin 

Best Director
Param Gill 

Best Editor
Ludmil Kazakov 

Best of Festival
Param Gill 


 

The IndieFest Film Awards 2014

Won
Award of Merit

Feature Film
Param Gill (director) 
Young N Free Films (production company) 

Won
Outstanding Achievement

Best Editor
Ludmil Kazakov 

 

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Review

A Dark Comedy in Hollywood, 23 March 2015

Author: Atlas & Aeris from New York City

Last Supper's star-studded cast includes Eddie Griffin (Malcolm & Eddie, Undercover Brother, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo), Josh Meyers (Mad TV, Date Movie, That '70s Show, Brüno, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), Najarra Townsend (Me and You and Everyone We Know, Contracted, The Toy Soldiers), and none other than Penny Marshall (as herself). (Lindsay Lohan was originally offered a part as well.) The combination of familiar faces and recognisable Hollywood-style comedic structure makes Last Supper a distinctive work in the independent film world.

Fumnanya (Griffin) and Andy (Meyers) escape from a psychiatric hospital intending to make a movie about a romantic quest to rescue a princess -- with the intention of being rewarded for their efforts with a kiss. Fumnanya leads the way, intent to find the right woman to rescue. The women of Los Angeles whom they meet are near universal in their rejection of Fumnanya's advances, which result in incredulous laughs and occasional slaps across the face. There is one woman receptive to their strange charm, however: she goes by Candy (Townsend).

Though Fumnanya doesn't realise it, Candy is very clearly a sex worker. Adorned in a luxurious fur coat and a tight-fitting black dress, she casually walks down a dark street of Los Angeles when Andy and Fumnanya catch up with her. 'That is our princess', Fumnanya tells Andy, 'I am sure of it. She looks like she needs to be saved.'

In a way, Fumnanya is right: Candy finds herself in a difficult situation, constantly hounded for money by her pimp and driven by despair to the brink of suicide. The friends' quest and her own quickly become intertwined.

The film is funny – no small achievement. By the end you will find yourself caring for the protagonists more than you might expect. The absurdity of their quest, their good intentions, and their big hearts have a certain charm. The dark, comedic relationship that develops between Candy, Andy, and Fumnanya creates depth to the film, exploring Candy's unfolding despair and the deepening empathy of the two friends that accompanies it.

The film never loses sight of its own absurdity, however, and it is first and foremost a comedy. The absurd characters involved, including the hospital's psychiatrist (Joe Sabatino), his lover, Nurse Betty (Mindy Robinson), and Candy's grandmother (Christine Kellogg-Darrin) – the last of whom looks remarkably like Jodie Foster – make the drama delightfully ridiculous. The characters are deeply flawed, and their absurd interactions are fun to watch. The film bears the unmistakable marks of modern Hollywood, including absurd humour, wacky and shallow characters, unnecessary nudity, and a formulaic fairy tale plot. By being predictable, the film is also reassuring – it is comforting in its adherence to the inevitable Hollywood ending.

There are unfortunate dark sides to the film's plot, however; and despite the film's self-conscious absurdity, the premises of the narrative deserve serious critique. The jokes whose punchlines depend on the apparent mental illness of the protagonists, or on Fumnanya's foreign name, are tasteless and uncomfortable. They feel like they've been lifted from another era. Fumnanya speaks with a heavy foreign accent, which apparently makes this mentally ill character even funnier. (Fumnanya, by the way, is a feminine name in Igbo. Is it also supposed to be funny that he's a man with a woman's name?)

Sometimes these jokes appropriately reflect the comic stupidity of the people speaking them, such as when Andy's and Fumnanya's quack-of-a-psychiatrist tells the chief of police that his two escaped patients are suffering from 'sexual delusions'; or when the police chief refers to them as 'loonies'; or when Candy asks condescendingly about Fumnanya, 'is he retarded?' (to which Andy provides the uncomfortable response: 'Borderline.'). But more often it appears that the film takes these comedic premises seriously. The film's trailer calls them 'madmen' who 'escape from a hospital'. Whilst inside the psychiatric facility, Fumnanya and his fellow patients drool on themselves and shuffle around like stuporous zombies. It's a grotesque parody of mental illness, and it is in these moments when the humour becomes psychophobic, mentalist, ableist – and in the case of Fumnanya's exaggerated exoticism – xenophobic. Revolting, in other words. And certainly unfunny.

Still, the film succeeds in many respects. It has the impressive scope of a Hollywood film with the budget of an independent one. Humour is not easy, and neither are lovable characters, and this film has both. The editing (by Ludmil Kazakov) is smooth, the music (by Thomas Andrew Gallegos) fits delightfully with the plot, and the actors give professional performances. The awards that the film has already won testify to the quality of the crew's execution and to the abilities of the film's director. Param Gill is Hollywood's next big independent filmmaker. It will be exciting to see what he comes up with next.

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Full Cast and Crew


 

Directed by Param Gill

Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)  Vojko Anzeljc...(story), John Buchanan...(screenplay), Param Gill...(screenplay)

Cast:  Eddie Griffin...Fumnanya, Josh Meyers...Andy, Najarra Townsend...Candy, Mindy Robinson...Nurse Betty, Joe Sabatino...Desk Sergeant, Penny Marshall...Herself - Famous Director, Natalie Diane Miranda...Amy.

Other cast: Dave Vescio...Rocco, Yves Bright...Dr. Tucker, Lovlee Carroll...Brunette, Keena Ferguson...Girl on street, Kirk Bovill...Pharmacist, Joni Bovill...TV news anchor, Leonel Claude...Orderly, Terry Myers...Officer Hooper, Jamie Morgan...Reporter, Bruce Van Patten...Arresting Officer, Billynaire Cruz...Homeless guy, Destiny Soria...Andy's girlfriend, Austen Jaye...TV news reporter, Christine Kellogg-Darrin...Granny, Robert Younis...Dr. Brown, Kent McGuire...Arresting officer, Tracy Perez...Wife, Phil Paul Call...John Murray, Mikey Tellez...Arresting Officer, Craig Smith...Manager.

Produced by J Bhandal,

Jai Khanna...associate producer

Cinematography by Rudy Harbon

Film Editing by Ludmil Kazakov

Production Design by Reed Johns

Art Direction by Jackie Chen

Set Decoration by Jessie Chun

Costume Design by Janelle Nicole Carothers

Makeup Department

Derazett Crutchfield...key hair stylist, Daniela Mirabal...key hair stylist / makeup artist, Richard Miranda...key makeup artist

Production Management:

Ludmil Kazakov...post-production supervisor, Sam Son...unit production manager

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

​Shanele Alvarez...first assistant director, Sam Son...second assistant director

Sound Department

Zang Angelfire...sound mixer

Curtis Fritsch IV...sound re-recording mixer

Camera and Electrical Department

Shanele Alvarez...camera operator, Jasper Granderath...camera operator, Greg Hadwick...gaffer, Max Holm...key grip, Jennifer Hook...behind the scenes videographer, Jon Mendenhall...digital imaging technician, Carson Reaves...first assistant camera, Julio Salcedo...second assistant camera, Andrew Wilsak...digital imaging technician, Dustin Yates...second assistant camera, Gordon Yould...dolly grip,

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Marchelle Hall...key costumer

Editorial Department

​Robert Crosby...colorist, Ludmil Kazakov...post-production coordinator, George Zdravkov...assistant editor

Music Department

Thomas Andrew Gallegos...composer: theme music

​Other crew Andrew Alvarez...production assistant, LaJon Miller...production assistant, Sandu Negrea...production assistant, Miguel Randle...stage manager

LastSupperMovie.com