Jack Danini Produces, Directs and Writes Audacious, Authentic Broadway-Style Rock/Pop Musical Film Performed Entirely in Verse
Longtime New York commercial and short film director Jack Danini has finished his first feature film, an energetic, broadly appealing, Broadway-inspired musical called ODE TO PASSION. Initially set to make its world premiere at the cancelled Queens World Film Festival in March, the film will debut on Amazon Prime Video Friday, July 10, 2020 with other platforms to follow later in the summer. The soundtrack is currently available for pre-order on iTunes and available on all platforms (Spotify, Amazon, Google, and more) on July 3.
Producer/writer/director/composer Danini has taken a daring and unique approach: Ode to Passion tells its story of young love entirely in song and verse. With everything from retro rock-styled ballads to modern-day pop hits, the music propels the narrative forward. With eighteen songs composed specifically for the film, Ode to Passion proves it’s possible to harness the entertainment and power of big musicals at the micro-budget level.
Indeed, Danini’s achievement is the cinematic equivalent of building an (working, flying) airplane in the back yard; slick and stylish, the fit and finish of the film belies its modest budget. The film is an ode to the city of New York as well as to bootstrap filmmaking. Further, Danini draws on considerable personal experience to make his film. He quips, “With the exception of bursting into song… most of this actually happened.”
ODE TO PASSION’S cast is led by Broadway powerhouses Giuseppe Bausilio (known from Billy Elliot, Cats, Hamilton) and Julia Nightingale (from the Tony® Award-winning production, The Ferryman). In New York City, a young writer’s, Michael (Bausilio), resolute belief in true love is put to the test by a beautiful woman, Sarah (Nightingale), and her struggle with addiction. Other principal cast includes theatre stalwart Jeff Smith; Victoria Meade (THE AERIALIST, MISTY BUTTON); actor, writer, singer Marcus Harmon (EDIN); singer and model Kaylor Otwell (Kaylor & The Tin Cans) and Al Pagano (A GUIDE TO YOU, THE GRIND) Award-winning cinematographer Darren Joe (MENASHE, THE SUBJECT) guides the audience through the grit and glamour of the streets of New York (with parts shot in Queens), while Yoo Soo Kim (former Hemmingbirds front man, To the Lions, Kwaczala) contributed an elegant, original score and the music production for all the songs in the film.
Why DO something like this? “I’ve always been a sucker for true love, a die-hard romantic obsessed with classic literature, John Hughes films, and rock and roll, all a part of what inspired Ode to Passion,” explains Danini. “Ode to Passion is a story about the romantic in all of us. Whether you’ve felt that burning, passionate need to find true love. If you’ve aspired to do something great despite the odds of success working against you. And of course, it’s for anyone who’s gone through these struggles in a city as turbulent, yet inspiring and magical as New York.”
He concludes, “Would you believe there were setbacks? Moments when I thought we would never actually complete the film. Whenever things seemed hopeless, whenever I was ready to give up, another door would open. We always found a way. The road has been much longer and tougher than I could ever have imagined. But there was love, resilience and determination in everyone who took part in the film. We have finally crossed the finish line. Now, it’s time to enjoy it.”