Jealous Monkeys and Sexy Movies: An Interview with Wil Davis

Sep 25th, 2012 | By | Category: Entertainment

A couple months ago, Wil Davis and I were hanging out at my place smoking cheap cigarettes and drinking cheaper beer. Well, Wil was drinking as I engrossed myself with the video game Red Dead Redemption with a cigarette dangling from my lips. I was busy shooting up innocent town folk at some Western locale when Wil took a drag of his cigarette and asked me, “Hey, Charles, I’m making a short film soon. Do you want to be in it?”

Without looking away from the screen I replied, “Is it a sexy movie?”

“Yeah…sure.” said Wil, with a hint of hesitation in his voice.

“Count me in.”

That’s how my involvement with Wil’s new movie “Bonobon Ex” began. Wil has just finished the movie and is screening it at New York Pizza (Tate St.) on October 2. He agreed to meet me at College Hill so we could drink a couple of beers and talk about his latest project.

 Greensboro railroad tracks

What were some of your favorite films as a kid?

Wil: The first movie I remember loving was Terminator 2:Judgement Day, I really liked action movies back then. My mom didn’t let me watch the scene with the atom bomb, where Sarah Connor’s face melts off. I also have fond memories of The Great Outdoors with Dan Akroyd.

Why did you get into filmmaking?

Wil: I took a Film and Literature class in High School, that sparked my interest. I also had a few friends who got me interested. We used to hang out and watch good films like Apocalypse Now, Citizen Kane, Taxi Driver, and Pulp Fiction.

What were the first films you made like?

I also used to make skate movies in middle school. They were non-fiction. I made my first narrative film while I was a freshman at UNC Charlotte. I was a philosophy major. The movie I made was a ten minute horror comedy named “Dorm of the Dead”.

When did you come to Greensboro

I transferred from there to UNCG in 2006. I’ve been here ever since and now I’m getting my MFA in Film and Video Production.

Wil Davis

You’ve said you’ve done both documentaries and traditional, narrative film making. What are some differences between the two?

Wil: I’d say a lot of it comes down to editing, actually. Making skate videos got me into documentaries through editing. You have much more freedom editing a documentary, more control over the final film. With a narrative film most of the decisions concerning editing are made before you even bring out the camera. I tend to make minimalist films, whether they’re narrative or a documentary.

Which one do you prefer making?

Wil: As a writer and director I prefer narrative films. Since you have complete control over how it’s going to be filmed, it’s more fun as an artist.

Do your movies tend to share any overlapping themes?

Wil: I like science and nature related topics. My film Touching Space was about a father/son pair that sent a camera to space. Earl and Dancing with Squirrels two other films of mine. Both films are about men who surround themselves with nature. I like the tension between civilization and nature.

If you could make a movie in any genre, what would it be?

Wil: I would like to make a science fiction film at some point. Science fiction is a great medium to explore different themes. The challenge of that though is to come up with a set of ideas that would work for no budget. You couldn’t have big, expensive props and special effects without a budget.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Wil: I would have the power to know truth infallibly. I would just sit around and bathe in knowledge.

What’s the film making scene in Greensboro like?

Wil: The scene here comes from the fact that there’s a film school at UNCG. Is there big budget filming in Greensboro? No, but the scene’s growing here and throughout the state.

What is your new movie, Bonobon Ex, about?

Wil: It’s about an amateur scientist attempting to create a cure for sexual jealousy in humans.

Wil Davis interview

How did the filming go?

Wil: It went well. We got a grant from the UNCG film department. I had a plethora of talented friends to work for free drinks. The UNCG Media Studies Department lent us equipment free of charge. The movie is out now and available at

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One Comment to “Jealous Monkeys and Sexy Movies: An Interview with Wil Davis”

  1. Rae Alton says:

    This is one of the best titles for an Avant Greensboro article to date.

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