Report From The Ultimate KLOWN Experience!

Drafthouse Films' creative director reports from the "Ultimate KLOWN Experience" Rolling Roadshow this past Saturday outside Austin.

In Denmark, Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen are household names in comedy that have entertained and shocked Scandinavian audiences for the past fifteen years. On July 27th, American moviegoers finally will be exposed to their ambitiously fearless, boundary-breaking humor that blends redeeming sentimentality with jaw-dropping audacity. Their international hit comedy Klown, based on a popular sixty-episode television series of the same name, follows two wildly inappropriate friends who embark on a debaucherous canoe trip along the Danish countryside plowing through one unspeakable taboo to the next. The film has already made a name for itself domestically as The Village Voice and IFC both champion Klown, agreeing it's “the funniest movie of the year,” and Eastbound And Down’s Danny McBride and producer Todd Phillips have secured the US remake rights for a 2013 release via Warner Brothers.

In anticipation of the film’s theatrical/VOD release this month, we flew Frank, Casper and producer Louise Vesth to New York City, Los Angeles and Austin for a whirlwind press tour to chat with local media, host raucous sneak preview screenings (one of which blew the lid off the Drafthouse South Lamar this past Friday), and indulge in all-too-fitting activities with the Drafthouse team. The most appropriate perhaps being Frank and Casper’s first time at an infamous NYC Russian bathhouse where they were forcefully soaped and flogged with a fury of oak leaves at the hands of burly masseuses. The exhaustive “Tour de Pressy” (amusing if you’ve already seen the film) concluded this past Saturday with a premiere promotional event that included a four-mile canoe excursion down the Guadalupe river outside Austin, Texas, preceding an outdoor screening courtesy of the Alamo’s wondrous Rolling Roadshow gear. This event was dubbed the “Ultimate Klown Experience.”

It began with attendees and press members meeting our esteemed guests at the Guadalupe River Livery before embarking on a rickety bus ride out into beautiful nowhere Texas. At the sight of the river and paired with producer Louise, who is about to begin pre-production on Lars von Trier’s upcoming double feature Nymphomaniac, I felt nervous, as it had been years since the last time I had rode a canoe. What was expected to be a relaxing drift downstream with famous Danes actually became a thrilling, occasionally dangerous test of might, maneuvering around shallow, rocky waters and mini rapids. Louise was quick to bark rapid-fire directional orders and was focused on winning the “race.” Always the competitive producer. Periodically, we would pass a capsized pair, including not-intentionally Frank Hvam and his journalist companion Aaron Hillis, which seemed like a predictable part of the event’s stunt but instead was hilariously perfect.

As the sun set, the last of the river’s fellow survivors arrived at the rendezvous point to greet the massive 800-pound inflatable Rolling Roadshow screen and truck filled with free beer and hot dogs. Drafthouse Films founder/CEO Tim League took the mic for a signature introduction and warned the campsites’ under age onlookers that although the film is unbelievably rated PG-11 in its native country, American parents should know that Klown narrowly escaped with an R rating.

Following the screening with a very vocal response from the audience, our guests took the stage for a Q&A and explained that this event was one of the defining moments in their career. Equally touching was a group of Danish fans that flew in especially for this event to join their comedic heroes in such an intimate setting. Parting with our three new friends the next day was bittersweet as we had shared a lot in the past week. Frank and Casper are as equally adventurous as they are in the film, and incredibly personable and genuine as they are not in the film. We are beyond thrilled to be working with them to unleash Klown to a gravely unsuspecting America. 

Check out more photos from the “Ultimate Klown Experience Canoe Trip” here. All photos are credit Jack Plunkett.