In the interviews, Whitear learned that many drivers, including those who are immigrants, believed in the idea of Trump as a self-made businessman. "There is something very symbolic about him that seems to be connecting with certain people," Whitear says. "Hardly anyone was as concerned about Trump as the people from my social circle, essentially."
"Drivers & Demagogues" will debut on Wednesday at Salt Lake City's Tower Theatre, one of five films to be screened at the annual Davey Foundation Film Showcase. It's part of ongoing efforts to support emerging filmmakers and playwrights in honor of David Fetzer, a 30-year-old Salt Lake actor and writer, who died suddenly in December 2012.
The foundation is thought to be one of only two grant funding sources in the country for developing short films. New this year is the documentary grant, which foundation founder Betsy Ross considers a call to action at a time when federal funding of the arts is threatened.
One of the foundation's aims is to invite storytellers into a creative community as emerging filmmakers are coached throughout their project. That'salso why the screenings are accompanied by a Film Forum panel, where grant winners give and receive advice. This year's panel, focused on taking steps toward filming a first feature, is anchored by guest filmmaker Bernardo Britto, recipient of the 2014 Sundance Short Film Jury Prize for "Yearbook." (See box for details.)
The foundation was the brainchild of Ross, Fetzer's mother, who created it along with her son's family of creative collaborators. In addition to the annual showcase, the foundation teams with Plan-B Theatre and Salt Lake Acting Company, two of the companies where Fetzer regularly acted, to workshop and produce new plays.
In a mark of its growth, this year the foundation hired Ariana Broumas Farber, a local actor and former captain in the U.S. Marines, who will assume the role of executive director.
"To toot our horn a little bit, the fact that we have made it to the beginning of year five is a big deal," Ross says. "It has been amazing, especially as I watch the young men and women that we've been able to help in their careers. To see what amazing strides they've made has been beyond my dreams."