OVERWHELM THE SKY
July 28 only
Filmmaker Daniel Kremer, cinematographer Aaron Hollander & cast members will be present for a Q&A moderated by Jonathan Marlow!
“The movie is quite a trip! It’s a tantalizing puzzle; words cannot begin to describe the experience of seeing it. The black-and-white cinematography is stunning.”
Here’s something unusual and unique for the Roxie audience: a critically acclaimed, locally produced, proudly independent San Francisco epic presented in classic roadshow format. “Roadshow” exhibition was often used in the 1950’s and 60’s to present epic-length motion pictures and lavish musicals. These films would open with an Overture, break for an Intermission, and inaugurate the second part of the film with an Entr’acte musical interlude. Films such as Ben-Hur, Spartacus, West Side Story, and 2001: A Space Odyssey were initially presented as roadshow attractions. Most recently, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (2015) tried its hand at it.
However, it is quite unique and rather extraordinary for a low-budget film to be exhibited in the roadshow format. To find out more how the filmmakers accomplished this, read director Daniel Kremer’s interview in Filmmaker Magazine. The filmmakers cobbled together something highly ambitious, so why shouldn’t the unveiling be as “crazy” as their aspirations?
Printed souvenir programs will also be issued to the attendees. We are also trying to bill it as a more formal dress event. But truly the thing is the film, an epic that was a full two years in shooting. The filmmakers want this screening to be an experience. In this sense, it is “more than an average movie presentation,” in that part of the idea is to bring a bit of ceremony and pageantry back into the practice of screening a movie for a 21st-century audience, in an increasingly jaded, isolated, and disengaged age when most everything is accessible from the comfort of one’s home.
So what’s the film about? Billed as “An Existential Epic Neo-Noir,” Overwhelm the Sky loosely adapts and updates Charles Brockden Brown’s 1799 novel Edgar Huntly, or Memoirs of a Sleepwalker, one of the earliest novels written in the newly formed United States of America. Eddie Huntly (Alexander Hero) is an east coast radio personality who moves to San Francisco to marry Thea, the sister of his best friend Neil, a successful entrepreneur. Shortly before Eddie’s arrival, Neil is found murdered in Golden Gate Park in what the police surmise was a simple mugging gone awry. As the sullen Eddie steps in as interim host of his old friend Dean’s late-night talk-radio show, he obsessively makes regular visits to the forested hollow where Neil’s corpse was found. One such visit unleashes a chain of unpredictable events that sends him snooping into the life of a sleepwalking drifter with a mysterious, tragic, and possibly scandalous past. From there, the story takes many unexpected twists and turns, winding up in the Arizona Desert, where Eddie comes face to face with a series of surreal visions and life-altering realities.
Directed by Daniel Kremer. 2019. USA. B&W. 175 mins. (with Overture, Intermission, Entr’acte). TRT: 210 mins.
Preceded by the short documentary, DANNY AND THE SCATMAN
Director Peter Nicks IN PERSON!.
Danny Kremer is a young teen from Pittsburgh who is well on his way to realizing his dream of following in the footsteps of Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni. John “Scatman” Larkin is an established musician who struggled for years as an unknown jazz artist until he decided one day that his “disability” could sell a bunch of records. Peter Nicks. 1999. 31 mins.
OVERWHELM THE SKY: A Critical Darling!
“A masterpiece! The filmmaking is so confident that it’s astonishing. The paranoid atmosphere, the perfectly calibrated camera moves, the always surprising but ineffably right compositions, and the precision of the cutting, reminded me of Jacques Rivette and Paul Thomas Anderson. This is one instance when a long movie could have stood being even longer. It’s the kind of film that will reveal more of its mysteries with subsequent viewings, but on first viewing, I was so caught up in the mastery of the acting and direction.”
-Michael Glover Smith (Mercury in Retrograde), White City Cinema
★★★★ “An ambitious epic of vast scope that is a real testament to what filmmakers can achieve with only a microbudget. The film is full of twists and turns, and earns its lengthy runtime. It’s also worthy of praise for its retelling of a classic American text. Aaron Hollander’s striking black and white cinematography is particularly effective.”
-Hannah Sayer, U.K. Film Review
“Daniel Kremer has mounted quite the ambitious and challenging film, on a minuscule budget. The black-and-white cinematography by Aaron Hollander is gorgeous and adds a classical noir atmosphere to the film, and the editing [is] seamless. Thanks to a great screenplay, impressive direction, and naturalistic performances, there is a lot to enjoy about this subdued mystery.”
-Bobby LePire, Film Threat
“Start your [San Francisco Independent Film Festival] with the world premiere of Overwhelm the Sky, a black-and-white epic noir by prodigious writer-director Daniel Kremer.”
FREE OR DISCOUNTED FOR MEMBERS
NOTE: FILMS START RIGHT AT THE LISTED SHOWTIME.
Roxie Theater trailers play during the 30 minutes prior to showtime.