Couple makes film of 4-day encounter with 'nomad'
Dave Rogers, a West Milford High School graduate, is premiering his film "D-Love" at the Hoboken International Film Festival in May 2017. David Zimmer/NorthJersey.com
WEST MILFORD — Dave Rogers and his wife, Elena Beuca, spent four days with a nomad they met at the airport. Naturally, the Los Angeles couple made a feature film about it.
“The pros of putting up your own money and creating your own movie is that you get to make it your way,” Rogers said. “The challenge and possible cons with that is if it all comes crashing down, you’re the one everyone’s looking at.”
“There is no luxury of mistakes or missed chances,” he said.
Rogers, 49, took his first chance to make it big in show business 11 years ago when he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting.
On May 20, the West Milford High School graduate, who spent nine years working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, returns to his backyard for the East Coast premiere of “D-Love" at the Hoboken International Film Festival in Greenwood Lake, N.Y.
Written by Rogers, directed by Beuca and starring both, the movie was filmed over the course of 12 days.
Based on a real-life experience, it follows a harried couple who meet a modern-day wanderer called D-Love after returning home from a stressful vacation.
The trio share a ride from the Hollywood Burbank Airport. Eventually, they share much more.
Over the course of four days, D-Love inspires the husband and wife to adjust their perspective — just as he did in real life, Rogers said.
“After losing both my parents in less than two years, I was pretty numb and I had disconnected myself from everyone, including family and friends,” Rogers said. “When I met D-Love, everything flipped upside down. I truly felt the presence of my mom — as if she introduced us.”
The majority of the 96-minute film was recorded in the couple’s L.A. home. Rogers wrote the screenplay after a frustrating, $5,000 collaboration with a professional writer.
“I asked Elena for the same outline she gave him and asked for two weeks,” he said. “Because of it being such an intimate story of our own lives, I wanted it to be accurate and meaningful. I took that and literally wrote from my heart.”
The cast includes Rogers, Beuca, Ditlev Dharmakaya (D-Love himself) and Billy Howerdel.
It is a family affair of sorts. Rogers credits Howerdel for inspiring him to move to Tinsel Town and igniting his ambition to act. Moreover, Howerdel let Rogers stay in his house during acting school.
Rogers said he is thankful for his mentors and friendships as well as his time growing up in High Crest Lake, a community nestled above Route 23 in southern West Milford. He said he appreciates his hometown's sense of community even more now and hopes it reflects in his projects.
Rogers is currently training to do voice-over work for cartoons and working on another screenplay. Two other scripts are waiting in the wings, he said. With Beuca, Rogers is also developing a pilot for a television series.
Next weekend, however, he will be back home showing his first feature film. The movie and the story behind it left a massive impression on Rogers. He said he hopes it will leave a similar mark on the audience.