About the Film
From a pulpit perched above the dancefloor in the Paradise Garage, Larry Levan reinvented what it means to be a DJ and redefined the musical genre. This is the true story of how everything came together despite all odds in the late 1970’s in New York City to construct a cherished space that served as a sanctuary to its members. The film portrays the complicated relationship between Paradise Garage owner Michael Brody and Larry Levan. It covers Larry’s brilliant but short-lived career including his remixing and producing work in the studio, and stretches into the 80’s as AIDS began to tragically decimate the community, ultimately leading to the closing of the club. The film is a celebration of the music, the artists who performed there and the legacy Larry and Michael created that still lives on to this day. The filmmaking team includes writer, director, producer Jonathan Ullman, producer Jay Malla Maldonado, casting director Judy Henderson, and a story by Jonathan Ullman and Paradise Garage DJ and staff member David DePino.
"Larry Levan was a true pioneer. Few DJs are as revered as he is, past or present. Larry took the role of the DJ and elevated it to an art form, paving the way for all who have since come into the craft and made it a career. His contributions go far beyond just his song selection at the Paradise Garage. It extends to the hits he remixed in the studio and his work as a producer with the New York Citi Peech Boys, including his own landmark record label, Garage Records. Throughout his life Larry travelled a road that no one had taken before. Never afraid to take chances, it was his fearlessness as a DJ and remixer that has endeared him to generations of fans around the world, including myself. Twenty-three years after his untimely death people are still discovering him, still celebrating him, still feeling the influence of his vast body of work. That to me is a pretty remarkable legacy to leave behind." - Jonathan Ullman
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Larry Levan
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is currently co-starring as Ike Turner on stage in the London production of Tina. He can also be seen in the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Emily Blunt.
In film he's recently appeared in Paddington 2, in The Commuter opposite Liam Neeson, and in the darkly complex supernatural thriller Ghost Stories. He also appears in the six-part AMC/BBC co-production The Split, and the indie drama Gwen. On stage he's starred as Laertes in Hamlet in London opposite Benedict Cumberbatch, and with him again in on the screen in Dr. Strange. He also popped up in the DC world as Crispus Allen in Justice League.
About the Filmmakers
Writer, director and producer Jonathan Ullman made his feature film directorial debut with ‘Trouble In The Heights,’ an independent film set in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York where he resides. A native of the Chicago suburbs with a background rooted in the agencies and studios of Hollywood, Jon received a B.A. in Theater from the University of Southern California. He is also a past recipient of a Creative Grant from the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA), and a participant in NoMAA’s inaugural Mentorship Program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Producer Jay Antonio Malla Maldonado is a producer, executive and entrepreneur. He is co-founder of the Producers Guild of America New Media Council. He is owner and principal of Malla Entertainment Group (MEG), a content development, production, and talent management company through which he served on the board of directors for Filmmates Entertainment. MEG has strategic partners and investments in the fields of motion pictures, television, music, new media, transportation and branded entertainment.