Film Scouts Diaries

1996 Toronto Film Festival Diaries
Toronto Report: The Drive to Sell "Driven", Part 1

by Kathleen Carroll

Sept. 15, 1996

This year's Toronto Film Festival seemed more frantic than ever because I was playing an additional role.: despite the obvious lack of a magic wand, I've spent the past several months acting as a backstage fairy godmother and a down-to-earth guardian angel for an exceptionally talented new filmmaker - Michael Paradies Shoob. This novel bit of role-playing began when I happened to see a video cassette of Shoob's first feature, "Driven."

It was clearly just a rough cut. Even so, the film captured the insular world of three restless L.A. cab drivers with such compelling honesty that at one point I did something that critics hardly ever do: I cried.

I was especially taken with Shoob's writing. His characters, played by actors Tony Todd, Daniel Roebuck, Whip Hubley, and Chad Lowe, engage in a lot of shop talk as they scour the city's potentially dangerous streets in search of customers. And they sound so authentic that I wasn't at all surprised to learn that Shoob himself drove a cab during his 15-year struggle to make his first full-length film.

Shoob speaks with an appealingly soft Southern accent, the result of having grown up in an upper-class environment in Atlanta, Georgia. But, like his working-class characters, he's also a wary, highly intense man who has clearly had a bumpy ride in trying to gain acceptance as a serious filmmaker.

Since February, Shoob has concentrated all his considerable energy on finding a real-life angel for "Driven." Like all independent filmmakers he must convince the buyers and top executives of an American distribution company to take a chance on releasing his film. This is not as easy as it might sound. What seems to be selling these days are independent features like Greg Mottola's "The Daytrippers," namely rueful comedies about attractive 20-something characters who are beginning to realize that love doesn't always last. "Driven" is not a glib comedy and its male characters are old enough to have experienced major disappointments in love and work.

Aware of the difficulties Shoob was facing, I suddenly found myself joining his fan club; I became a backseat driver in the campaign to sell "Driven." Shoob's troupe, as I call it, keeps growing in numbers. It includes handsome, sweet-natured co-producer Daniel Linck, and the film's genial cinematographer, Joseph Mealey.

His family has also been there for Shoob every step of the way. Shoob's father, Marvin Shoob, is a noted federal judge. His mother, Janice Shoob, runs her own fashion design business. His parents, along with his sister Wendy (she's a state judge), exude a gracious Southern charm. A number of chums from both Atlanta and Texas (a few of whom had invested in the film, which was privately financed) made up the rest of Shoob's traveling cheering section in Toronto.

Previous Installment | Next Installment

Back to Toronto Film Festival Diaries

Look for Search Tips

Copyright 1994-2008 Film Scouts LLC
Created, produced, and published by Film Scouts LLC
Film Scouts® is a registered trademark of Film Scouts LLC
All rights reserved.

Suggestions? Comments? Fill out our Feedback Form.