Friday, November 16, 2007

Dear Pillow

Leon casino,

Dear Pillow never made it to Houston (where both of the filmmakers originally hail) - but now this true indie film is available on DVD with some cool extras. The team of Bryan Poyser (writer and director) and Jacob Vaughan (producer, cinematographer, editor) made this ultra low budget film in 2004. Dear Pillow, the engaging commentary track tells us, was one of the first movies shot using a DVX-100 24P digital camera. To put that piece of equipment in perspective it cost slightly more than high-end consumer digital video cameras but less than the rent on the condo the filmmakers leased for a week in Park City Utah when Dear Pillow played at the 2005 Slamdance Film Festival.
Dear Pillow played theatrically in Los Angeles, other worldwide film festivals, and a two-month stint at one of the Austin Alamo Drafhouse Theaters. The film stars Gary Chason, long a casting director in Texas (his credits include Last Picture Show and Brewster McCloud so you could say he's indirectly responsible for discovering Randy Quaid and Shelly Duvall) as the cool old dude named Dusty who writes for a porno mag and Rusty Kelly (Wes) as a teen living in the same apartment complex who dreams of professionally writing the same kind of sex hijinx. Wes listens in on cell phone calls with a radio shack type of receiver. Much to his chagrin the apartment manager, Viviane Vives, makes money on the side as a phone sex operative. By the time the film concludes they have all gathered in Dusty's one bedroom unit to film an ad hoc porno film.
The DVD includes a couple of shorts made by Poyser and Vaughan including Pleasureland, a short reminiscent of David Cronenberg's Videodrome about a guy (Vaughan, quite naked) who becomes addicted to sex vids and in the process becomes part coaxial.
I personally worked with Vaughan at Idea Integration (a web design company) several years ago and could tell he was on the fast track to be an active independent filmmaker. Another short film the duo made, Seen, is available on Youtube and chronicles a school shooting.
Dear Pillow constantly amazes mainly due to Poyser's sharp and witty script. The film has a polished look that never gives away its miniscule budget. Quite frankly its mixture of coming of age comedy with sex drama interludes is one of the more original films, indie or otherwise, of the last few years.

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