Many cite Richard Linklater’s “Slacker” as a key influence on their filmmaking, but after being one of the 23 directors asked to help recreate it by the Austin Film Society, Geoff Marslett is one of only a few who can say the same about its 20th anniversary remake.
“It meant I had to make a short film, essentially, very quickly, with very limited resources,” said Marslett, the filmmaker who also teaches at the University of Texas at Austin. “And I have to admit, I loved the immediacy of it. It was basically, I have an idea…now let's try it.”
Which is why Marslett, who spent three years making his last film, the animated sci-fi comedy “Mars” (which coincidentally will make its Los Angeles debut at the Downtown Independent on September 1st), will spend only three weeks filming his second feature “Loves Her Gun,” currently attempting to raise the modest goal of $7000 on the crowdsourcing site United States of Artists by August 26th.
Mind you, “Loves Her Gun” was in the works well before “Slacker 2011” but whereas most filmmakers take a down-and-dirty approach to their first feature and graduate to a more complex shoot for their second, Marslett is doing the reverse for this drama he co-wrote with Lauren Modery about a Brooklynite named Allie who responds to a brutal attack by hitting the road to Austin and finds unexpected emotions along the way. (But considering she joins up with a karate rock band to head down south, one shouldn’t expect something too somber.)
“We ended up exploring how women deal with urban fears and tried to show the possible outcomes, sometimes positive and sometimes negative,” Marslett explained, adding that while he and Modery established a storyline, what’s most exciting to him about the project is how it will be the actors who “largely are able to create their own dialogue.”
The film couldn’t have found someone more up to that task than Trieste Kelly Dunn, the breakout star of the 2010 festival favorites Aaron Katz’s “Cold Weather” and Brett Haley’s “The New Year,” who will be joined by Francisco Barreiro (of the Mexican vampire flick “We Are What We Are”) on the cross-country shoot. A far cry from “Mars” where the heavy use of green screen was necessary, the whole production will actually travel from New York to Austin, making pit stops in North Carolina and Tennessee, and shot in a way that its director promises will not look like your average road trip movie.
“I do feel like my background in animation has made me look at lots of ways to play with images to tell parts of the story, even when they aren't the way one might naturally see it in the real world,” said Marslett, whose plans for the film include filming underwater and employing stop-motion animation effects for certain scenes. “I [also] personally think that we have created some of the greatest costumes in low-budget cinema for this film. I won’t tell you what they are, but they are better than the ones I wear in the plea for money up on the US Artist page.”
Needless to say, however, Marslett’s ambitions far exceed most low-budget films and with an impressive track record already under his belt, potential contributors can be assured that the filmmaker will pull something incredible off once more.
“We probably won’t be getting the sleep and turnaround days we would like, but that's independent filmmaking,” said Marslett. “Pretty much everyone said it would be impossible to make an animated feature on the budget and schedule we made ‘Mars’ on, but with a committed team, working on the project because they believe in it, you can do it. The schedule for shooting ‘Loves Her Gun’ is tight, but we have an excellent, experienced crew, and a fantastic cast willing to donate their time because they believe in the project and the script.”
Hopefully, “Loves Her Gun” will find a few more believers to come on board to make the project a reality, especially since Marslett’s reality really needs to be seen to be believed.
To back this project and to see Geoff Marslett's personal pitch video, visit the United States of Artists page for "Loves Her Gun" here. And stay connected with the film's progress on its official site.