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Get Interplanetary (Before Interplanetary Gets Gone)

by David Cornelius

Attention West Coasters: Friday might be your only chance to see the year’s best not-yet-released sci-fi/horror/comedy.

Interplanetary,” from writer/director Chance Shirley and his Crewless Productions, is set to screen for one night only on Friday, Oct. 23, at the Arclight Hollywood, as part of the Hollywood Film Festival. This marks the first time the film has been shown west of the Mississippi, and, according to Shirley, it’s likely to be the only time it’ll play on the big screen in California.

After enjoying a run at some smaller festivals, including Norway’s WT Film Festival and Birmingham, Alabama’s Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival (it won audience awards at both), “Interplantary” makes one final festival stop in Hollywood before cooling off. The next step is to await the next round of bigger festivals - the film is awaiting acceptance to one major fest, but nothing’s set quite yet - before moving on to home video.

Shirley realistically doubts his homemade epic will land even a limited theatrical run. “That rarely happens with a low-budget movie unless Steven Spielberg gets behind it,” he explained in a recent email exchange. Instead, the plan is to use the festival appearances to push for a DVD release, which Shirley hopes will happen in 2010.

It’s a formula that worked well with his previous movie, the zombie comedy “Hide and Creep.” That film went straight to video in 2005 (landing honors from yours truly as the best direct-to-video feature of that year) and aired on the Sci-Fi Channel soon after, earning a small cult following along the way. A new special edition DVD of “Creep” was recently released, and it’s scheduled to be available via Netflix’s streaming video service next week, just in time for Halloween.

“I think their ‘Watch Instantly’ service is a real game changer for the home video industry,” Shirley said. Indeed, the rent-by-mail service has gained much praise from the independent filmmaking community for the way they make smaller films easier for audiences to find - and easier for the filmmakers to deliver.

Which brings us back to “Interplanetary.” It’s one of my favorite movies of the year, big or small, but it remains near-impossible to see it. DVD and streaming video will change that, but that’s still months away at the earliest. And “Interplanetary,” in all its low-tech wonder, deserves to be discovered on the big screen, if only once.

“Interplanetary” screens 9 PM Friday, Oct. 27, at the Hollywood Arclight. Tickets can be preordered here.

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originally posted: 10/22/09 07:39:20
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