The 114 minute controversial feature film titled, WHEELS, highlighting the friendship of two paraplegic men fighting both physical and mental demons, is slated to premiere September 12 in major US markets. The movie stars writer/co-director/producer Donavon Thomas, Patrick Hume and Diana Gettinger. WHEELS is a Loaded Dice Films, LLC production co-directed by Donavon Thomas and Timothy Gagliardo. Noteworthy is that the ambitious production of this extraordinary film was a labor of love from the entire film community, shot in Los Angeles with a crew of over 250 people. See the WHEELS trailer here.
WHEELS is a dark humored drama that follows the story of Mickey (Donavon Thomas), a paraplegic bent on suicide. He can't seem to kill himself no matter how hard he tries. In the middle of a bar fight he meets a homeless paraplegic junkie named Drake (played by Patrick Hume). Striking up a semi-humorous conversation, Mickey asks Drake to shoot him in the head for $500. What follows is the birth of an unlikely friendship, a journey back to the source of their troubles and a love interest for Mickey. In a lonely world filled with both physical and mental trauma, violence and lies, WHEELS explores subjects such as mental abuse, family dysfunction, drug abuse, domestic violence and the seduction of death. The film's outcome will surprise many and disturb many more.
Fascination With Death/Society's Taboos
According to Thomas, the idea to write and direct WHEELS
is about his lifelong fascination with death and other never fully discussed taboos. The movie begins with Mickey in the ocean, saying, "I always wondered what death was like." Thomas considers it amazing that certain subjects such as mental and physical abuse, suicide, drug abuse and prostitution remain largely unexplored. "As a society, we talk about the dangers of texting more than why many of our teenagers commit suicide," says Thomas. "I wanted to explore how people process physical and mental abuse, guilt, the choice to die, as well as what elements make life worth living."
83 sets. 57 locations. 62 days. Epic Film. No budget.
WHEELS took Thomas ten years to write and direct. Not having any film budget but armed with a great story, Thomas sought out the local film and acting community. "We had an amazing crew that volunteered their time, and sponsors from all around town," says Thomas. "The film community really came to our aid. We could not have done it without them. Thomas adds, "Without any money, we wanted to make a film that looked like we spent millions. So we spent the only asset we had, which was time."
WHEELS was in production for six months, wrapping up last Fall. Directors Thomas and Gagliardo paid very close attention to every detail. Thomas consulted with a neighbor paraplegic while dropping 53 pounds during production, plus both he and Gagliardo lived on skid row in downtown Los Angeles to give the audience a genuine experience. Actor Patrick Hume did his part, breaking his finger nails with pliers to get into character.
About Loaded Dice Films
Loaded Dice Films is a production company founded in 2012 by Donavon Thomas to produce and release films with unorthodox themes to an independent filmgoing public. Moving forward, the overriding objective for Loaded Dice Films is to transition from making films outside the system to producing films for the largest studios and distributors in the world.
About The Directors (short bios)
Timothy Gagliardo - Director/Producer
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Timothy Gagliardo's favorite toy growing up was his father's VCR, helping him memorize his favorite films frame by frame. He shot and edited his first video at the age of 15. With a perfect math SAT score, Gagliardo was recruited by MIT. But his love for film had him choose the prestigious Emerson College Film Program on scholarship. He graduated with a degree in writing for the screen and film directing. After graduation, Gagliardo moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in features, where he lived out of his car until he booked his first job on a reality tv show. Gagliardo has worked nearly every production position over the course of 34 feature films. WHEELS
marks his directorial debut.
Donavon Thomas - Director/Producer/Actor
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Donavon Thomas grew up knowing he was destined to be an actor. Fresh out of high school, Thomas couldn't wait to get started in Hollywood. He quickly relocated to Los Angeles and spent his first eight months living out of his car. He worked nights at the post office, while studying acting during the day. Thomas wrote the screenplay for WHEELS
, then founded the production company Loaded Dice Films. His mission is to shoot movies not normally embraced by the current studio system. Besides playing Mickey in the film, WHEELS
marks his directorial debut.