Daniel Warth creates a beautiful, yet bleak world of friendship and creative struggle in his film DIM THE FLUORESCENTS. The universal journey of reaching for success in any given profession is portrayed with sharp comedy and stunning cinematography. While the major plot arc of the film takes us through creative expression, the heart of the film lies within the friendship of the two main characters.
Self Expression Inside the Corporate World
The story focuses on a struggling actress, Audrey, and a struggling writer, Lillian. The two are best friends who collaborate on creating demonstrations for corporate meetings. Although these short skits are not the ideal form of self expression, the two women put their entire souls into each project. Unfortunately, they struggle with the standards put upon them by their peers, as well as the pressures of maintaining their own friendship as they attempt to create their masterpiece.
The two lead actresses carry this film on their shoulders. Naomi Skwarna’s portrayal of Lillian reveals just a hint of vulnerability beneath a strength that is real and enviable. She makes us see that Lillian truly believes in what she is doing, while also giving us insight into the constant insecurities artists face while comparing themselves to others’ work. It is a performance not to be missed.
Claire Armstrong gives us a smart and sharp portrayal of Audrey. She is a woman with a deep need for approval faced with the same constant rejection and setbacks as any struggling actor. Armstrong never falls into the trap of making the audience feel sorry for Audrey. We simply join her on the journey and see ourselves in her. Her deadpan and natural delivery of dialogue is awe-inspiring.
Daniel Warth gives us a clear and touching story of friendship and shutting out your critics, both real and internal. He is a new director and is certainly one to be watched. The world he creates using so few characters is vast. There is not a moment in the film that seems unnecessary. We live these characters’ lives as they do. We never question what is happening or why it is happening.
The film has been seen at the Chicago Underground Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature at the Slamdance Film Festival.