Press, Reviews, etc

The Official Press Release,

courtesy of Ayana Meraz


  Locally produced and directed film to premiere at venerated Phoenix Art House/Theatre  

(Phoenix, Ariz.) Dante’s Arizona, a locally produced film is premiering Saturday, July 16th at Alwun House in downtown Phoenix. Nicholas Holthaus, better known in the local art and music community as “Nico” has been devoted to the film for the past five years. The film is equal parts Raising Arizona, the 13th century classic Dante’s Inferno, and a scathing documentary on the pitfalls and spiritual strangling caused by corporate America.

Dante’s Arizona is a feature length dark comedy that is at times a “crime drama, and at more times, an anti-“crime drama.” Director Holthaus describes the movie as “one fairly normal guy’s trip through a metaphorical hell, caused by the increasingly harsh, impoverished spiritual and economic conditions that CEOs and CEO supporters have no problem delivering unto us consumers. I see a lot of parallels between the climate (political and otherwise) of Arizona and Dante Alighieri’s literary classic Dante’s Inferno. I tried to remain somewhat faithful to the classic, but had to take some creative license…”

The entire film cast and crew are local residents who believe in Holthaus’ film vision. The film’s soundtrack also features local musicians including Flathead, Dead Hot Workshop, Hans Olson, Gloritone, members of the Gin Blossoms, and other local Arizona musical legends. Many of these musicians as well as cast members will be on hand at the premiere.

The much-awaited premiere will be held on July 16 at 9 p.m. Alwun House is located at 1204 E Roosevelt Street, Phoenix Arizona. Doors open at 8 p.m. $3 admission.


Living Hell

Dante's Arizona premières at Alwun House

By Niki D'Andrea, Julie Peterson, Joe Watson and Amy Young Published: Thursday, July 14, 2005

  SAT 7/16 Dante got it wrong: There are actually 10 circles of hell, and local filmmaker Nicholas Holthaus has been there and back making Dante's Arizona, which premières Saturday, July 16, at the Alwun House, 1204 East Roosevelt. "Four people [involved in the production of Dante's] have died during the making of this film, including my mother and a good friend," says Holthaus, 34. "And I recruited too many flakes -- dozens of them -- to help out. It would have been done three years ago, but this is Arizona."

And it's a film almost as much about the Grand Canyon State -- and its music scene -- as it is a "crime drama" and "dark comedy," Holthaus says. The southern Illinois transplant, who's been in the Valley for 15 years now, pays homage to old-school Tempe rock bands like Dead Hot Workshop and the Gin Blossoms -- and to the scene they created back in the late 1980s and early '90s -- by including the aforementioned (as well as Gloritone, Hans Olson, and Flathead) on the film's soundtrack, and by filming about half of the movie at institutions such as Long Wong's, Nita's Hideaway and Casey Moore's.

"It was when we first started filming about five years ago that you really started to see Mill Avenue get incorporated," Holthaus says. "I realized these places weren't going to be around much longer, so they're very prominent in the film."

The film starts at 9 p.m., with doors opening at 8. Admission is $3. Call 602-253-7887 or see -- Joe Watson